Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video Of The Day: The Civil Wars Cover Billie Jean

The Civil Wars recently did a Q&A and performance at the Grammy Headquarters. Amongst the songs they sang was a really cool cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (second video):

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pia Toscano Gets Covered

American Idol Season 10 finalist and current Interscope darling Pia Toscano has sung a lot of covers in her career, and now she has a major label recording artist covering her own song, "This Time". Epic recording artist Andrew Allen, who had a recent single "Loving You Tonight" go at least Top 30 on HAC, posted an acoustic cover of the song on his YouTube channel:

Andrew's "Loving You Tonight" was featured on Now That's What I Call Music: 37, and he has opened for The Script and He Is We this summer. He also has another really cool song, Sooner, which should be on his new album, which hopefully gets released sooner rather than later. ;)

Boyz II Men Makes Surprise Appearance At NKOTBSB Concert

90's R&B icons Boyz II Men made a surprise appearance at the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert in Orlando on Friday night. Boyz II Men sang "Motownphilly", "I'll Make Love To You" and "End of the Road", with NKOTBSB joining them on the latter. Geez, and I thought my NKOTBSB concert was epic (lol whatever, it still was!)

Full video from the floor:

(video by bedtimekc)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alex Wagner-Trugman At House Of Blues

Got a few (noisy) videos from Alex Wagner-Trugman's acoustic set at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. The Voodoo Lounge doesn't lend itself well to videotaped performances, between all the socializing going on and the angles of where the audience can stand. It's like you can either get right up in his face (which no one did), or you can go off to the side, straddle the bar or stand way in the back.

Alex, who was a semifinalist on Idol Season 8, did about three or four songs he didn't do at his Viper Room show, including a cover of The Beatles' "For No One", a cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven", and a song he wrote about two days ago, called "Good Luck". I really like the new original song - it's got a lot more dynamics to it, and the guitar adds a lot to the song.

Good Luck:

Just Like Heaven:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Video Of The Day: Bruno Mars Loves His Popchips

Bruno Mars is such a hit-maker that he can even make a song about popchips sound legit. And also slightly dirty with lyrics like "Sour cream and onion - I want you all over my face" and "I remember the first time I opened you up". HA.

Here's his ditty to popchips, which was a main sponsor of his last tour:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anchors Away! SYTYCD Top 10 Dance With All-Stars

The Top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance were given new life and a clean slate, with the previous partnerships being dissolved and All-Star dancers serving as their partners. Dancing without the weighted bricks known as Alexander and Ryan, Sasha and Ricky, in particular, flourished. Power couple Marko and Melanie continued to thrive even with other partners, and Jordan and Caitlynn seemed to turn corners with mature performances that impressed the judges.

Marko/Chelsie Hightower - Samba, choreographed by Jason Gilkison
"Cinema Italiano (The Ron Fair Remix)" by Kate Hudson (iTunes)
That was such a fast-paced routine with very difficult lifts and a high-octane speed in everything they did. Marko kept up with Chelsie somehow, and he showed off his athleticism with a straddle jump and a swan dive over her. Great routine (even with the crappy Kate Hudson music)!

Jordan/Brandon Bryant - Contemporary, choreographed by Dwight Roden & Desmond Richardson
"Who You Are (Live Acoustic Version)" by Jessie J (iTunes)
I could not take my eyes off Brandon for the first half of the routine (good lord, that spin jump into immediate splits!), but then Jordan did that spin with her leg all the way up, and she grabbed and held my attention the rest of the way. She was almost balletic in this routine. Another great one to start!

Tadd/Comfort Fedoke - Hip-hop, choreographed by Chuck Maldonado
"Look At Me Now" by Chris Brown, feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes (iTunes)
I was kind of disappointed with that one. I felt like Chuck could have actually have done more with the rapid-fire Busta rap. And Nigel's comments were pretty eye-rolling. The "you're a b-boy, you're not used to choreography" is so condescending. I did agree, though, that Tadd outshined Comfort, but compared to the other hip-hop on the show this week, this was inferior in so many ways.

Mitchell/Melody Lacayanga - Broadway, choreographed by Tyce Diorio
"Take Off With Us" from All That Jazz (iTunes)
Poor Mitchell got saddled with another one of Tyce's shitty Broadway routines. The concept of it was all wrong, from costuming to music. As Neil Patrick Harris said, I didn't get it. It was not the kind of routine that will get anyone reaching for the phone (or laptop) to vote. 

Caitlynn/Pasha Kovalev - Tango, choreographed by Leonardo Barrionuevo & Miriam LaRici
"Malajunta" by Orquestra Color Tango (iTunes)
Caitlynn sold and performed this very well. She got so much slack last week for not connecting or for lack of proper emotion, but this week she was on point with it. And it was so cute how happy she was after receiving the judges' comments.

Sasha/Twitch - Hip-Hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott
"Misty Blue" by Dorothy Moore (iTunes)
DAMN. The routine of the night by far and one of the best routines of the season. Just an amazing routine with amazing chemistry and amazing dancing. Holy hotness! This is the first time I've loved Sasha this season. Between Alexander the Anchor not weighing her down anymore and omgTWITCH! being her partner for this routine, it was like the perfect storm of perfection.

Jess/Kathryn Mahoney - Contemporary, choreographed by Stacey Tookey
"The Lonely" by Christina Perri (iTunes)
NGL, I was afraid Kathryn was going to hit her head on that one lift because Jess couldn't hold her up high enough. I'm not sure this routine really did it for me as far as showcasing Jess. I thought Kathryn was amazing, though!

Melanie/Pasha Kovalev - Viennese Waltz, choreographed by Jason Gilkison
"Everybody Hurts" by Tina Arena (iTunes)
There is no doubt that Melanie is a beautiful dancer, and her moves are so flowy and graceful. I think I would have liked to have seen more in the routine. Compared to, say Marko's ballroom routine, there wasn't a whole lot of difficulty here.

Ricky/Allison Holker - Jazz, choreographed by Tyce Diorio
"Precious Things" by Tori Amos (iTunes)
CREEPY-ass routine! But amazing!!! Second-best of the night. Ricky got a lot of the blame by Nigel for him and Ryan not connecting, and I always thought that was crap, and he showed tonight that he wasn't the problem. He really showed how great of a partner and how amazing of a dancer he is.

Clarice/Robert Roldan - Bollywood, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan
"Aila Re Aila" from Khatta Meetha Soundtrack (iTunes)
This show needs to retire Bollywood. I have no idea if that was done correctly. There were times when it looked like they were doing Latin dance.

I have a hard time saying much about the solos, especially when 80% of the routines are contemporary or jazz routines and consist of a bunch of pirouettes and leaps. So here's the music list instead :P

Sasha solo - "Syrup & Honey" by Duffy (iTunes)
Jess solo -"Come By Me" by Harry Connick Jr. (iTunes)
Melanie solo - "You're The One That I Want" by Angus & Julia Stone (iTunes)
Ricky solo - "Daylight Breaks" by Cassidy Haley (iTunes)
Clarice solo - "Royal T" by Crookers featuring Roison Murphy (iTunes)
Mitchell solo - "This Time" by John Legend (iTunes)
Jordan solo - "Tonight" by Lykke Li (iTunes)
Tadd solo - "Everything I Can't Have" by Robin Thicke (iTunes)
Caitlynn solo - "Cosmic Love" by Florence + The Machine (iTunes)
Marko solo - "More Than Anyone (stripped Version)" by Gavin DeGraw (iTunes)

I will say that I was impressed by the control showed by Melanie and Ricky. Caitlynn seems to fall out of her pirouettes often. And Jess's solos are delightful.

Two dancers are going home tomorrow. It's unclear as to whether or not they are the bottom 2 regardless of genre or just the guy and girl with the least amount of votes. I would surmise that Mitchell is most likely to get voted out amongst the guys. Depending on how they are doing the eliminations, I think he'll be joined by either Clarice or Tadd.

Video Of The Day: History Of Rap, Part 2

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon got together on Jimmy's show again for a Part 2 of their History of Rap. Best thing ever, or best thing ever?

My favorite part is "It Takes Two", with Justin peeping in behind Jimmy. Hilarious!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Idols Live Tour - Southern California Recap

Both of the Idols Live shows in Southern California were sold out this weekend. And if it weren't for some sweet luck in scoring some free tickets, I would have missed out on what may be the best Idols Live tour in the 10 seasons of the show's existence. From top to bottom, the song selections were strong and current, and the performances were entertaining and well-sung.

This year's show adopted the format of Season 6, ignoring boot order and going the ensemble route by intermixing solo performances with group numbers. Also, instead of using actual backup singers for certain songs, some of the performers sang backup for each other. While some people adamantly hate this (especially people whose favorites only have one or two solos), I like the fact that they focused on putting on a SHOW as opposed to "being fair". Granted, it helps that I didn't have a favorite and was thus more interested in seeing the ensemble.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SYTYCD Trims The Fat For Top 10

I've been calling for their ouster for weeks now, and finally, the time has come: Alexander and Ryan were sent packing on So You Think You Can Dance!

Weeks of lackluster performances finally caught up with the two. Ryan had been in the bottom several times but saved by the judges. This was Alexander's first time in the bottom, no doubt due to Sasha's popularity. I knew the second he hit the bottom, he'd be toast, but surprisingly, the judges were not unanimous in voting him out. SERIOUSLY, mystery judge (lol probably Sonya Tayeh)? His solo was sloppy, and he was traveling all over the place on his pirouettes.

Joining Alexander and Ryan in the bottom were their partners Sasha and Ricky, along with Caitlynn/Mitchell. Ricky's solo was masterful. So exhilarating, yet also so controlled. Caitlynn also danced very well in her solo, and I really enjoyed Mitchell's as well. I'm not a fan of the style of dancing Sasha does, but she's probably Sonya's dream dancer. Ryan's solo was blah, just like her dancing has been most of the season, and especially this week.

Also notable in the episode was the announcement that from this point on, the Top 10 will be dancing with All-Stars. The All-Stars announced are:
Melody (S1)
Allison (S2)
Pasha (S3)
Twitch (S4)
Comfort (S4)
Chelsie Hightower (S4)
Brandon (S5)
Kathryn (S6)
Robert (S7)

Alex Wong was supposed to be an All-Star, but last Saturday at an audition, he suffered yet another injury, snapping the tendon in his other foot. SO. SAD. I think he just isn't destined to be on this show. :\

Tonight's music:
Top 12 group dance - En Fuego by Sean Peter featuring Oscar Ramirez
Caitlynn solo - The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga (iTunes)
Mitchell solo - Ra by Nathan Lanier (iTunes)
Ryan solo - Not In Love by Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith (iTunes)
Ricky solo - Body Language by Queen (iTunes)
Sasha solo - Thinkin' About Your Body by Bobby McFerrin (iTunes)
Alexander solo - Palladio by Escala (iTunes)
Nicole Scherzinger - Right There (iTunes)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SYTYCD Top 12 Double Up

The So You Think You Can Dance Top 12 performed two routines apiece this week in the last week of the current partnership. The extra dances seemed to take a toll, as each couple had at least one routine that was sloppy at times (or two routines that were sloppy, ahem, Alexander). But sloppiness aside, I'm just glad we finally got to see some people challenged with ballroom. I was beginning to think this was called So You Think You Can Contemporary Dance.

Sasha/Alexander - Paso Doble, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin
"Alley Dash/March of the Trolls" by Taylor Long/Rick Powell
He's a terrible partner. He can't support her and almost dropped her once or twice. The choreographers played it right in giving Sasha a strong part, but she made him look so weak.

Jordan/Tadd - Contemporary, choreography by Travis Wall
"Brotsjor" by Olafur Arnalds
Jordan has amazing strength in her legs. Tadd has amazing abs. They both danced so powerfully and so well.

Ryan/Ricky - Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff
"All I Need Is The Girl" by Frank Sinatra (iTunes)
There was an awful lot of nothing going on early in the routine. I think this is a trademark of Spencer Liff, as we will see later. And whoever did Ryan's makeup for this routine should be fired.

Caitlynn/Mitchell - Hip-hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott
"Break the Chain" by Lupe Fiasco featuring Eric Turner & Sway (iTunes)
Mitchell looked pretty natural in this, while Caitlynn was overcooking it. I hate to put it like this, but she looked like a suburban white girl trying to do a hip-hop routine. Their moves weren't quite in sync either.

Melanie/Marko - Tango, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel
"Triptico" by Gotan Project (iTunes)
They weren't quite perfect, and they had some moments of clunkiness, but it was a well-choreographed and very difficult routine. As Nigel said, that last lift was incredible.

Clarice/Jess - Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott
"Just The Way You Are" by Boyce Avenue (iTunes)
That portrait was CREEPAY but I really liked that routine. I thought it was sweet. Jess continues to surprise me.

Sasha/Alexander - Broadway, choreographed by Tyce Diorio
"That's Life" by Aretha Franklin (iTunes)
I don't think Tyce gave them a good piece (shocking!). Aesthetically not the most pleasing, and whether staged or not, some of the moves were very clunky (and I thought that even before the end when he failed to lift her and then tried to drag her across the stage). Jesse calling it his favorite number of the night so far is mind-boggling.

Jordan/Tadd - Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff
"Out Tonight" from Rent (iTunes)
This was the worst routine of the night and right up there with that pedestrian hip-hop that Christopher Scott gave Ashley/Chris got in week one. Not Jordan & Tadd's fault, but they didn't overcome the bad routine either.

Ryan/Ricky - Cha Cha, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel
"Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" by Enrique Iglesias (iTunes)
Everything Nigel said, I completely agreed with. Ricky was workin' it, and Ryan was overdoing it and looked clunky.

Caitlynn/Mitchell - Contemporary, choreographed by Travis Wall
"Piece Of My Heart" by Janis Joplin (iTunes)
I think these two have always been good at emoting well in their routines, although sometimes I feel like Caitlynn has been doing the same type of angry/pained dance every week.

Melanie/Marko - Contemporary, choreographed by Dean Casparay
"Skin & Bones" by David J. Roch
The dynamics of that piece were amazing! Loved the use of that light bulb, and their chemistry is off the charts. So sad the partnership is ending.

Clarice/Jess - Jive, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin
"Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" by Robert Randolph & The Family Band (iTunes)
Clarice was a little bit sloppy, but Jess was really selling that routine for all that it's worth.

Bottom 3 predictions:

It should be Alexander, but, again, he's coasting on Sasha's popularity. I think the judges will get rid of Ryan and Caitlynn, but Ryan's been in the bottom more often, I believe. But she is the judges & choreographer's pet, so she'll continue to be safe. Sigh.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Alex Wagner-Trugman Plays Viper Room

American Idol Season 8 semifinalist Alex Wagner-Trugman is getting back into the swing of things music-wise after finishing up his college degree. On July 5, Alex played an enjoyable acoustic set to a packed crowd at the Viper Room in West Hollywood. He played mostly original songs but tacked on a few covers at the end of his set, including one borrowed arrangement by a famous friend in the audience.

One of the things that I enjoy most about Alex is his sense of humor. The dude is funny! And he did a great job of mixing this into his set. His most well-received song was his own "Bootylicious", a hilarious tongue-in-cheek love song (with rap break). Hysterically funny lyrics aside, it's also melodically and structurally a really good song. And it may or may not have been stuck in my head for a good chunk of this past week. Ahem.

(video by TMFFYT)

Another highlight was Alex's last song in his set, Kanye West's "Heartless", played in honor of his pal Kris Allen, who was in the audience. Borrowing Kris's famous arrangement, Alex sang most of the song with a devilish grin on his face, clearly taking delight at ribbing Kris a little.

Alex did one other cover, a nicely-done version of Elliott Smith's "Say Yes".

His original songs were a little hard to hear to get a good feel on (glasses clinking at the bar, people chatting, etc.), and Alex seemed a little less confident on some of these. I think this may have been his first time performing some of these in front of a crowd. But he's definitely got something there lyrically. "Mr. Blah" was one of his standouts - it has a Radiohead feel to it. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be video of this song, but here are two other originals he sang.

Anyway (original):

Rich and Standard and Poor (original):

(videos by VioletSkyye)

Check Alex out on his YouTube channel, on Twitter (@alexwtrugs) or in person. He's playing at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on July 21 at 8:30 pm.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Video Of The Day: Justin Timberlake Plays College Sports

Actor and sometimes (grrrr) musician Justin Timberlake is presenting the inaugural Capital One Cup at the ESPYs July 13 and filmed a promo spot for it, in which he hilariously tries his hand at several collegiate sports, including volleyball, lacrosse, track & field, and wrestling (but not the kind of wrestling he was expecting).

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Another Couple Goes Home On SYTYCD

In a completely expected elimination, the fourth consecutive couple was sent home on So You Think You Can Dance - Ashley and Chris. While I don't think this week's elimination was made with the intent to keep couples together (as I thought in previous weeks), I do think that they need to shake things up a bit, as some of these couples just have no chemistry and need to be paired with others.

This was Ashley and Chris' second consecutive week in the bottom three, and Ashley's second consecutive relatively lackluster solo. Chris did well again in his dance-for-your-life bone-bending solo, but he was terrible in the guys' group dance and mediocre in his salsa Wednesday. Chris hasn't been good in any of his choreographed dances, as Nigel pointed out. So it wasn't a surprise at all that either of them were cut.

It is frustrating, however, to see three b-boys go in three weeks, while Alexander coasts each week by virtue of having a popular partner in Sasha. The fourth b-boy, Tadd, was in the bottom three also, no doubt because he "drew" the ever-so-unpopular smooth waltz as his dance (his second waltz in three weeks).

And when Nigel Lythgoe actually has the gall to say, "The whole idea of the show is to do styles you're not accustomed to" while people like Ryan and Sasha haven't done anything outside of jazz/contemporary or hip-hop, I just want to throw my shoe at the TV.

For as much as TPTB are coddling Ryan and giving her everything in her style, she keeps landing in the bottom 3. Nigel may believe it's her partner Ricky who isn't connecting, but it's her and her shit-eating grin and meh solos. Her solo this week was better than her last one, but for someone who is good enough to work on the show with Mia Michaels prior to being a contestant, her solos are not up to snuff at all! Ricky's solo was fantastic - his leaps and spinning jumps are awesome and so controlled. As much as I was appalled at Tadd's song choice (1-2-3 by Gloria Estefan), I was also impressed by his handstand work and energy. Jordan got called out for overdoing her développés (or HMV as it is known to TWoPpers). Seriously, we get it, Jordan. You can lift your leg up really high. Move on.

Next week is the last week the viewers vote for couples. THANK GOD. Some fat needs to be trimmed, and quick. Although I'm sure my definition of fat wouldn't be the same as Nigel's. My only consolation is that there is no way the Top 10 will be ALL contemporary/jazz dancers. The only two non-contemporary/jazz dancers left are both guys. So only one of them will go next week .:P

Music from tonight's show:
Group Dance - Bollywood - "Kata Kata" from Raavan Soundtrack (iTunes)
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet - "Ends" by Mikael Karlsson (iTunes)
Ashley - "Lovely" by John West featuring Pusha T
Chris - "Scars" by Basement Jaxx featuring Kelis, Meleka & Chipmunk (iTunes)
Jordan - "Commander" by Kelly Rowland featuring David Guetta (iTunes)
Tadd - "1-2-3 (remix)" by Gloria Estefan (iTunes)
Ryan - "Adagio For Strings" by Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (iTunes)
Ricky - "When You Say My Name" by Mario Spinetti (iTunes)
Florence & The Machine - "Cosmic Love" (iTunes)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

AI10 Tour Kicks Off In Salt Lake City

photo from The Salt Lake Tribune
The American Idol Season 10 tour kicked off Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, UT. This year's tour format is more akin to that of Season 6 - lots of group songs/duets, Idols singing backup for each other, less solos, and no winner's appearance until the end of the show. And it's a long show too - over 30 numbers!

First review of the show, from the Salt Lake Tribune (who thinks the Top 10 are the "most talented singers ever assembled in the show’s 10 seasons." LOL NO. The reviewer also complains about the length of the show. Dude. Come on. If it's a good show, it's never too long.): REVIEW

And another review, from the Daily Herald also praised the Idols' "serious vocal chops" (while also saying that most will struggle to have a career after this): REVIEW

The setlist and available video are after the jump:

SYTYCD8 Top 14 - Second-String Show

Top 14 night on So You Think You Can Dance saw the show bring in the second-string crew of choreographers. Only one of the (relative) top tier choreographers, Mandy Moore, had a routine on this week's show, and as a result, we really only got one standout routine. Hers.

We also got another week of non-challenging genres for Ryan/Ricky and Sasha/Alexander. Yep, another jazz and hip-hop, respectively. Meanwhile, Jordan/Tadd got their second waltz in three weeks, and Ashley/Chris got a poorly-received salsa.

Guys Dance, choreographed by Justin Giles
"Prague" by Damian Rice (iTunes)
Chris was very off in this performance. He was going one way, the others were going another. He needs to go.

Marko/Melanie - Jazz, choreographed by Ray Leeper
"Americano" by Lady Gaga (iTunes)
Good thing Melanie is such a beautiful dancer because they keep dressing her in the most awful outfits ever. The ending of the dance was clumsy, though. Melanie's last split jump (or whatever that thing is called) was awkwardly-landed, and Marko landed off on his side aerial right before catching Melanie. That was almost a disaster.

Sasha/Alexander - Hip-hop, choreographed by Shaun Evaristo
"To The Moon" by Miguel (iTunes)
Alexander still has no swag, and he gets totally swallowed up in Sasha's presence. They have like zero chemistry, and the best thing that could happen to Sasha would be to land in the bottom 3 so Alexander can GTFO.

Jordan/Tadd - Smooth Waltz, choreographed by Toni Redpath
"Nocturne" by Secret Garden (iTunes)
ANOTHER waltz? Seriously, show? I'm convinced they're giving them these different genres because they may be one of the few pairs who can actually handle it. I mean, can you imagine Chris or Alexander doing this or the African dance? LOL NO. Both Jordan and Tadd showed good extension, if not smoothness.

Clarice/Jess - Contemporary, choreographed by Justin Giles
"Light Through the Branches" by Celeste Lear (iTunes)
I agree with Travis - this was the best thing they've done all season. Jess was so much better than I anticipated, and Clarice was amazing! So precise.

Ashley/Chris - Salsa, choreographed by Liz Lira
"Mambo Beat" by Tito Puente (iTunes)
Their lift sequence was pretty awesome, but they really have zero chemistry. It's just as bad, if not worse, than Sasha and Alexander's non-existant chemistry. I would like to see Ashley with a different partner, but I am not sure that she'd survive another bottom 3 trip.

Ryan/Ricky - Jazz, choreographed by Chucky Klapow
"Fashion" by David Bowie (iTunes)
I was about to say that their technique is really strong, but then Ryan got sloppy on her last pirouette and nearly fell out of it. I wasn't feeling the choreography on the routine, but that's not their fault, and they did well with what they were given.

Caitlynn/Mitchell - Contemporary, choreographed by Mandy Moore
"To Love You More" by Celine Dion (iTunes)
They did such a great job in making the speed and aggression of their movements beautiful. So many of their lifts were jaw-dropping, especially the one where he flipped her over, dropped her into a split and pulled her back up. Wowzers.

Girls' Dance - Jazz, choreographed by Ray Leeper
"My Discarded Men" by Earth Kitt with Bronski Beat
Yeah, there's a reason why the girls get hyped so much. Compare and contrast with the guys' performance at the top of the show. They are so much better than them.

Bottom 3 Predictions:
Ryan/Ricky (I think Travis jinxed them)

I think the only way Ashley and Chris stay are if they somehow stay out of the bottom 3. So ... yeah. They're toast.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Kevin Richardson Reunites With Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys regained its fifth member, at least for one night, when Kevin Richardson joined the group for a few songs during their NKOTBSB stop on Friday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Richardson, who left the group in 2006, surprised the sold-out crowd by walking onto the stage at the end of the catwalk in the middle of "I Want It That Way" (video) and singing his part of the song in the bridge. It was a special moment in one of the most fun concerts I've ever been to.

Even without the surprise reunion, the show was thoroughly entertaining, with both groups singing all of their big hits and collaborating with each other as Boy Band Supergroup NKOTBSB. Both groups were very interactive with the audience, and with the stage setup, featuring a nearly basketball court length catwalk, it was hard not to be. They each performed songs walking through the audience. Backstreet Boys brought four people from the audience on stage to serenade on "I'll Never Break Your Heart" (including one guy, brought up by AJ McLean). Donnie Wahlberg provided good fan service by tearing off his shirt (and whoa he's clearly Marky Mark's brother ... he's ripped!).

The show wasn't without its cheese - most of New Kids on the Block's songs are oozing, especially their earlier songs when they were younger. And that opening number with the "Viva La Vida" sampling was strange, as was the Backstreet Boys covering "Raspberry Beret" (lol no) before "Quit Playing Games With My Heart". I'm convinced that NKOTB knows that "Cover Girl" is the worst and that they enlist Donnie to take his shirt off during that song to counteract the cheese. But they somehow make it work for the thousands of adult women there who I presume have better musical taste now than they did. Sometimes it's just all about having fun and reliving your youth.

And for those looking for actual-fax good singing, there was opening act Jordin Sparks. Performing all of her singles (to backing tracks, unfortunately), Jordin put all the other singers that night to shame. She (or her musical director) also got a little creative, adding in a dance break-down with a snippet of Timbaland's "The Way I Are" in the middle of "One Step At A Time". And then she tacked on a medley of songs into the end of "Tattoo", singing Beyonce's "Irreplaceable", Jessie J.'s "Price Tag", Pink's "Perfect" and Black Eyed Peas' "Where is the Love".

Videos and more photos after the jump.