Hello! Magazine.com Lifestyle Editor Jordi Lippe checked in to “Ralphie Tonight” for this week’s edition of “Weekend Scoop.” She talked about Evan Ross and Ashlee Simpson’s new baby, Guy Ritchie’s wedding and an online auction for various pieces of the Mad Men set and wardrobe – including Don Draper’s car!
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On September 4, 2014, Leona Lewis wrote a letter to her fans. Posted via a snapshot on Twitter, the singer talked about a “rollercoaster year” and “taking the huge step away from Syco and Sony.” Syco Entertainment is Simon Cowell’s record label; Lewis landed with Cowell after winning “The X-Factor” in the UK over eight years ago.

But after four albums, including one of the holiday variety, Lewis felt it was time for a change. She left Cowell for Island Records, and a year and a week to the date of dropping that open letter, Lewis will release her new LP I Am.

She does not find the timing too significant though.

“I didn’t even realize it would be a year,” she told me. “It wasn’t planned like that. Naturally it just happened that the album was kind of done around then and it was time to release it.”

Lewis later clarified that she had been working on this material for much longer than six or seven months; rather almost two years.

“Before (the letter) I had gone out on my own and started creating the album,” Lewis noted. “I was making it but I didn’t know what label I was going to sign to or what was going to happen.”
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This album started by Lewis simply creating music with no other purpose or plan besides the creation itself. She collaborated with super-producer Toby Gad (“All Of Me,” “If I Were a Boy”) and their work led to I Am.

Outside of a track penned by Diane Warwick, Lewis and Gad receive writing credits on every song. Other writers who contributed to the LP include Anne Preven and Wayne Wilkins. There are no featured artists on any of the songs outside of Leona.

“I think for this album it was so important to just kind of have it as my own thing because it was so personal,” she explained. “So collaborations as far as producers yeah, but not artist-wise.”

Lewis will drop I Am on September 11. The first single at U.S. radio is called, “Thunder.”

For the second straight year, The John Lennon Songwriting Contest called upon “Ralphie Tonight” to announce the winner of its year-long, international songwriting competition. This year’s “Song Of The Year” winner was “Dysphoric,” a track by Barrington, R.I.-based quartet The Rare Occasions.
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Each year, the contest is divided in to a pair of sessions. Over $300,000 in cash and prizes is awarded, culminating with the “Song Of The Year,” which includes a $20,000 prize.

Brian Rothschild, Execuitve Director of The JLSC and Matthew Reich, Vice President of U.S. Tours and Promotions, along with American Authors’ front man Zac Barnett joined “Ralphie Tonight” for the announcement. Barnett’s band won the contest in 2012. Read more from The JLSC’s press release here, and check out the interview and winning song below.

In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva chatted about a trend that speaks for itself: wearing words.


Visit Trend Hungry to find the latest fashion 411 on a skinny budget, and catch Jessie every Tuesday evening on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Photo: instagram.com/hilaryduff

Photo: instagram.com/hilaryduffPhoto: instagram.com/hilaryduff

On Friday’s “Weekend Scoop,” we checked in with People. Staff Writer Patrick Gomez called from Los Angeles and talked about the mag’s cover story regarding Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s divorce.
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Gomez also chatted about People’s interview with “Southpaw” star Jake Gyllenhaal.

Even when Taylor Swift is wrong, she eventually gets it right.

The pop star is no stranger to controversy, deservedly or not. But we’ve grown accustomed to Swift not only entering the fray on her own terms: penning a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, removing her music from Spotify, opining to Apple Music via Tumblr – but also entering in order to right a perceived wrong. Swift set out to correct a few misnomers with her latest album, one of which was that albums still have value.

“I’ve always been very optimistic about music sales and album sales, and to have that optimism kind of rewarded with people going out and buying the album; I was so happy about it,” Swift told me last October, the week she released 1989. “Yunno, I would look a little ridiculous if I was just going out for the last two years going, ‘No, people still care about albums!’ And then my album comes out and everybody’s like, ‘Well we don’t care about yours.’”

Over five million albums sold later, it’s clear they care. The LP has also spawned a few GRAMMY nominations, a slew of hardware at May’s Billboard Music Awards and now nine MTV Video Music Award nods. All but one of Swift’s nominations are for the “Bad Blood” music video, which premiered at the start of the aforementioned BBMAs and features Kendrick Lamar a slew of celebrities/Swift’s “squad.” The piece broke Vevo’s 24-hour view record, previously held by Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video.

But unlike “Bad Blood,” Minaj’s video didn’t receive a “Video Of The Year” look. Enter, controversy.

Minaj took to Twitter and voiced her displeasure over the snub, noting that when “’other’ girls drop a video that breaks records” and it “celebrates women with very slim bodies,” you receive a VOTY nomination.

Swift perceived the tweets as a direct jab and responded by reminding Minaj that she’s done “nothing but love and support” her, and that it’s unlike the rapper “to pit women against each other.” The “Shake It Off” singer later tweeted that she would want Minaj to join her on stage if “Bad Blood” wins.

However for once, Swift was wrong. Minaj didn’t care about “Bad Blood” and probably isn’t overly concerned with winning another Moonman. The emcee was speaking to the racial and social injustices that still exist in the music industry.

“I just think we need to have both images for girls,” Minaj told “Good Morning America” Friday. “We can’t have only one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are.”

And if anyone gets that, it’s Swift, who is about as a good of a role model as you’ll find in the public for young women. According to Minaj, the two singers spoke on the phone and cleared the air. Swift also apologized on Twitter.
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“I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke,” she wrote. “I’m sorry, Nicki.”

Taylor was right. Again.

I head back home to Niagara Falls, N.Y. every July for my Mother’s church’s picnic. Yes, the home-cooked Armenian food is to die for, but more importantly my Mom appreciates that I make the trek to Western New York for it.
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This year when I went home, I tried this novel idea: a vacation without working. As you’ll see, it was glorious.

A storm in Indy delayed the plane that was picking us up at LaGuardia. I jetted off to the Delta Sky Club.

Hashtag delayed.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

But we eventually were en route, flying through a gorgeous sunset.

#TheRealMVP is tonight's sunset as I fly west to Buffalo, from about 20,000 feet up. #RalphieTonight

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


You don’t need to see any Saturday night photos, but know that Sunday started off in grand fashion, and before noon to boot.

Vacation vibes.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


THIS FOOD OVER EVERYTHING.

Today, was a good day.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The cot my parents have on their back porch is the real MVP.

Vacation vibes continued.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Yeah no complaints.

This vacation is the real MVP.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


I think I’ll be heading back home for Labor Day.
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Nominations were revealed this past week for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards. Gotham Magazine Entertainment Editor Juliet Izon chatted about the nominees, some of whom had graced the cover of Niche Media publications over of the past year, for our Friday edition of Weekend Scoop.
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This week, I chat with one of my favorite bands, Walk The Moon. You’ll hear Nick, Sean, Eli and Kevin talk about everything from life after a mega-hit to opening for The Rolling Stones. The guys also talk about the next single from Talking Is Hard, “Different Colors,” – and you’ll get to hear that as well.
Hey, Really Excited
Plus – I’m headed back to Niagara Falls this weekend. I explain why and what I’m looking forward to while I spend some time back home with friends and family.

Don’t forget – next weekend I’m participating in Urban Mudder, and all of the money I raise is going to Make-A-Wish. Find out more by clicking here.

The conversation has been ongoing. Third Eye Blind’s Steven Jenkins talked about it in his 1998 hit, “Jumper.” The inspiration for the song was a friend of Jenkins’ who committed suicide by jumping off of a bridge. He was gay and a victim of bullying.

“The song is kind of a noir, because it’s really talking to somebody who is already dead,” the lead singer explained. “So this is kind of what you would say (to him).

“When I wrote it, there was this kind of darkness to it. But now when I sing it, it feels exalted, and you see the audience… they sing most of it, I kind of let them sing it… and you can see this release. So I find a lot of joy in that song now. Maybe that’s bouncing back and reflecting the times.”

Perhaps it is – fast forward to 2015 and indie-rock outfit Walk The Moon is releasing, “Different Colors,” a song about acceptance and unity, to radio.

“It feels really relevant to be playing it right now, and really cool,” guitarist Eli Maiman.

“It’s incredible,” lead singer Nick Petricca added. “We’re just all on the same team out here and it’s cool to feel a part of a movement.”

Maiman noted that the song started as a “rallying cry,” but feels more like a “victory march” when it’s played these days. Again, it’s a reflection of the times – the fact that the movement is deemed “cool” is a step in itself. When you add in the Supreme Court ruling and the light that Caitlyn Jenner is shining on the LGBT community, specifically for Trans people, it is easy to see why the momentum behind equality is stronger than ever.

But as Jenner reminded us Wednesday night at The ESPY Awards, there is plenty of work to still be done. She mentioned Sam Taub, a 15 year-old Transgender boy from Bloomfield, Mich. who committed suicide in April.

“Sam’s story haunts me in particular because his death came just a few days before ABC aired my interview with Diane Sawyer,” Jenner said to the audience. The former Olympian was honored by ESPN with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. “Every time something like this happens, people wonder, ‘Could it have been different, if spotlighting this issue with more attention could have changed the way things happen?’ We’ll never know.”

Jenner admitted that she contemplated taking her own life as well. Now she’s hoping that her actions can help others, if by nothing else, keeping the conversation alive.

Photo: instagram.com/espn

Photo: instagram.com/espn