Harry Styles just dropped his new single, a throwback that recalls British artists of yesteryear entitled “Sign Of The Times.” He’ll perform it next weekend on “Saturday Night Live.”
I jokingly asked Michael Che, the SNL star who co-anchors the “Weekend Update” desk, if he is receiving any extra ticket requests due to the One Directioner’s forthcoming appearance.
“Well I’ll be honest with you, most of my family are African-American, so they’re not huge Harry Styles fans believe it or not,” the comedian quipped back. “There might be some!
“Nobody’s hit me up yet. It’s not like Drake!”
Che walked the red carpet at The Garden Of Laughs comedy show benefiting Madison Square Garden’s Garden Of Dreams Foundation. He thought it was important to support ‘SNL’ cast-mate Leslie Jones along with some of his other friends, like Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan.
“Typically on a Tuesday we would be in the middle of writing and we wouldn’t come up for air until Wednesday, sometime in the daytime,” Che explained of the typical schedule during a show week. “SNL” had last week off; it returns this weekend with host Louis C.K. and musical guests The Chainsmokers. Jimmy Fallon takes over hosting duties next Saturday, when Styles is set to perform.
As for Che, he will tour behind his Netflix special “Michael Che Matters” this June, with the trek’s first stop in Boston. Some New Englanders weren’t exactly thrilled earlier this year when during a “Weekend Tonight” segment about the Super Bowl, the comedian referred to Boston as “the most racist city I’ve ever been to.”
“You know what’s so funny? I have so much fun in Boston as far as performing shows,” Che told me. “I love performing in Boston.”
Just two weeks ago he headlined a show at Boston University and according to the Boston Globe, refused to apologize for his remarks because, “I’m just trying to be more presidential.”
Ironically, you could call that a sign of the times too.
I was on the red carpet to cover arrivals at The Garden Of Laughs Comedy Concert, which benefited Madison Square Garden’s Garden Of Dreams Foundation, and spoke with actors Norman Reedus and Susan Sarandon along with performers Sebastian Maniscalco, John Oliver, Leslie Jones, Bob Saget and more.
The event raised $2 million for the charity, which helps kids throughout the tri-state area overcome obstacles. Other performers at the benefit included Chris Rock and a surprise set from Jerry Seinfeld.
PageSix.com Senior Reporter Andrew Nodell called in to the show on Monday. He had news on Ariana Grande, Mariah Carey and Aaron Carter – who apparently won’t be voting in the upcoming election because of Internet trolls.
Adele makes selling music and breaking records look as effortless as she does belting out notes.
“Hello,” the highly-anticipated single from the artist’s forthcoming album 25, sold 1.1 million copies in its first week out. This is the first time that a song has sold a million copies in a week. The record-setting sales figure also catapulted the track to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.
The song’s music video also set a record, breaking Vevo’s 24-hour view high-mark with a staggering 27.7 million hits.
Grab the tissue box, because there is certainly more to come. The UK singer, nee Adele Adkins, is gearing up for a tour-de-force of promotion ahead of the new LP. She graces the new cover of Rolling Stone and will perform a special one-night-only show at the iconic Radio City Music Hall in New York on November 17. Tickets to the show will surely be hard to come by, but the world will get to experience it as a prime-time special on NBC in December.
Across the pond, Adele is also setting records and reportedly booking TV gigs for next year; a source told The Mirror that the “Someone Like You” songstress is confirmed to perform at the Brit Awards, akin to our Grammys, in February.
While the facts and figures are impressive, few are probably surprised. Adele’s new album follows the massive success of 21, which sold 31 million copies globally and made the singer a household name. The sophomore LP was released almost five years ago; practically an eternity for her most rabid fans.
“My last record was a break-up record, and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record,” Adele said in a statement announcing the new release. “Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. 25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing. And I’m sorry it took so long but, you know, life happened.”
“Life” included vocal cord issues, a baby and certainly some well-deserved time off after a hectic stretch in which “downtime” consisted of working on a Bond theme that netted her both a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Matter-of-fact, the last time Adele performed on TV was when she sang “Skyfall” at the Academy Awards.
But now the singer returns to our TV sets in just a few short weeks. Adele will serve as the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” November 21. It’s the day after 25 hits shelves and the singer adds “making up for lost time” to the list of things she effortlessly does.
They did not face the destruction, or the heartbreak, that many in the tri-state area dealt with. But, it has still been an eventful week and a half by almost anyone’s standards for the band fun. The group spent a day in the UK, and was supposed to land back in New York the night Sandy wrecked the Northeast. That flight was shelved, and as airlines began to cancel thousands of flights, fun. began to wonder how it would return back to the States in time to rehearse and perform on “Saturday Night Live.”
“We flew to Atlanta, where our bus happened to be driving through to pick us up for tour anyways,” recalled lead singer Nate Ruess on “The Ralphie Show.” The band sat down for an interview on Wednesday night, as it prepared to perform an event in New York for Google Wallet while yet another storm hit the Empire State. “We spent 19 hours on the road, and by the time we got in to New York, ‘Sandy’ had happened that night, so we kind of saw the devastation thereafter.”
The trio lives in the tri-state area, and while Ruess and keyboardist Andrew Dost escaped any harm, guitarist and New Jersey resident Jack Antonoff hasn’t been able to return to his place yet – although he said there was no damage due to the hurricane.
“I just can’t get my crap, which I think in the scheme of things is probably the least people were affected,” Antonoff said. “All of us know people who have had really crazy stuff happen in the storm.”
Antonoff admitted that he didn’t think “Sandy” would wreak as much havoc as it did, due in part to the lack of potency surrounding last year’s “Irene” storm.
“’Irene’ last year was like, a tree kind of dinged my house, and that was the worst thing that happened in our neighborhood,” said Antonoff. “I think (underestimating ‘Sandy’ due to ‘Irene’) is exactly what happened.”
Dost noted that the entire “SNL” crew was super-accommodating as the unorthodox week unfolded. Then Saturday, fun. performed the title track from Some Nights and “Carry On” during the show. You couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song off the band’s latest album – and certainly the fact that it’s LP’s next single and the music video was filmed in Manhattan doesn’t hurt the notion.
“It was something I didn’t think about too much until someone brought it up,” Ruess acknowledged of the song’s relevancy to the events of the week. “I don’t want to say that it’s fortuitous that we have a single coming out that’s called, ‘Carry On.’ Yunno, I think it made the song more special for us… it was the right time and it was a very emotional moment for us on ‘Saturday Night Live’ performing that song.”
The singer confessed that his nerves ratcheted up a bit for the performance – to the point where he threw back a cocktail to calm down – but was careful not to drink too much.
“The crazy thing about this year is that we started out – the first thing that we did was the day Some Nights came out we had done Conan O’Brien,” Ruess said. “That was the first big TV we had done, and I just remember being a mess.”
Just eight months later, fun. has performed on pretty much every TV show that welcomes a band on to play a song.
“It’s crazy how much more you get desensitized to it,” Ruess said. “With ‘SNL,’ even for a second it was like, ‘Oh my God this is live, I could like trip and fall.’”
Interestingly enough, the entire band not-so-secretly carries this insecurity – as if to be careful not to become an Internet meme or punch line with a single misstep. Listening to Antonoff confirm Ruess’ fear, and Dost recall a time in high school where he was picked on, you would never think these three men have toured the globe, conquered late-night TV, and delivered one of the biggest anthems of 2012 to the masses.
Then you realize fun. did all of that, and then some, in only eight months. It’s pretty crazy, by almost anyone’s standards.
“Yeah, this is my launching pad,” a somewhat serious Mars said on 95.5 PLJ’s “The Ralphie Show,” before veering off. “I’m out of the music business. Me and Tom Hanks are doing a movie.”
Hanks, who happened to be in New York on a promotional tour of his own, ended up lending a cameo to Mars’ “SNL” episode – to which the “Grenade” singer admitted he was nervous about. All kidding aside, Bruno revealed he would only consider pursuing a film career if it happened organically.
“Music is my thing man,” he said. “I’ll leave the acting to the pros.”
Mars doesn’t know what spurred Lorne Michaels and company to ask him to host the legendary show, but thinks it worked out well. It also serves as a perfect kick off of touring to promote his new album, Unorthodox Jukebox, due out December 11. Now that the album is finished, Mars can concentrate on press for the LP, such as the aforementioned “SNL” gig and his forthcoming performance on the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
“Yeah, we got asked to do that,” Mars said. “That’s gonna be fun!”
When asked if he was looking forward to meeting any of the models, Mars froze, before eventually answering the question in a round-about way.
“I’ve seen the show before and I’m excited for the way they put the show’s together and how good the stage looks; more important than the beautiful women,” Mars said, with a straight face no less.
“I’m lying!” Mars exclaimed only seconds later to a room full of laughter. If there was ever a time Mars was going to get serious, that clearly was not going to be it.
Amy Heidemann idolized Whitney Houston as a child. She can remember singing along to Houston’s hits, attempting to mimic those massive vocal runs. The Berklee graduate dreamt that one day she could become as famous as the icon.
Little did Heidemann know as a child growing up in Nebraska that a weird twist of fate would prevent her from ever meeting Houston. Yet, this same twist would position the superstar uniquely in her fan’s career and life.
Heidemann and fiancé Nick Noonan have gained fame as the duo Karmin. First, it was their cover of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.” The video went viral on YouTube to the tune of over 60 million views. An appearance on “Ellen” and a national media tour followed, and then Epic Records called. Now Karmin is touring the country to promote its single, “Brokenhearted,” which is off the group’s debut album, due out this spring.
The night of February 11, Karmin was preparing to perform “Brokenhearted” on “Saturday Night Live.” About two hours prior to show time in New York, news broke from Los Angeles that Houston had been found dead in her hotel room. Heidemann revealed on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that before the show, there was talk backstage about the duo paying tribute to the fallen star by covering one of her songs, as they had done with so many other artists on the band’s YouTube channel.
“[Houston’s] like covering Adele, or The Beatles; it’s really difficult to tackle something like that,” she explained. “We decided not to in the end of it.”
Heidemann clarified that when Karmin does attempt to perform a tough song, it usually comes with modifications.
“I mean, we did a couple of [Adele’s], but we changed them so much,” she said. “We weren’t like karaoke Adele; we changed the arrangement to fit our style.”
Karmin’s style is captivating fans worldwide. The group’s break out original single, “Brokenhearted,” is receiving airplay on radio stations across the country. It is an up-tempo track with a bittersweet plot.
“I was in the studio and I’m talking about taking Patron shots, alone, waiting for the phone to ring,” Heidemann recalled of the recording session for the single. “It’s tense, and all of the sudden, [the producers] were like, ‘Just improvise on this next take.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, cheerio!’”
Alas, a catchphrase which would be used throughout the entire song was born. Thankfully for Heidemann, the only thing she has to wait for in her personal life is to set a wedding date with Noonan. Perhaps not so thankfully for him, Noonan’s fiancée is actually quite the fan of tequila (“in responsible amounts” she insists). Cheerio.
No one knows if Alec Baldwin is a “Belieber,” but fans of pop star Justin Bieber certainly love him this week. The actor, who hosts a bi-weekly podcast through WNYC-FM in New York, recently interviewed “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels. The interview took place in Michaels’ 30 Rock office, and at one point in the chat, Baldwin began reading off of the executive producer’s famous corkboard. The board lists the hosts and musical guests for a given season. In reading the names posted, Baldwin broke the news that Justin Bieber will serve as both host and musical guest for an episode next season.
Last week’s “Saturday Night Live” provided us with a number of memorable skits… here’s one of them, courtesy of Justin Timberlake and Lady GaGa.
Round of applause for the kids in the Doo Wop Shop at UMass Amherst – this video posted months ago is suddenly gaining a ton of views on the net. Watch the students perform an acapella medley of Disney tunes.
And finally, did Beyonce copy her performance from this past Sunday’s Billboard Awards from a lesser-known artist? This video shows the two acts side-by-side and provides a compelling arguement, in my opinion.