This sneak peak at the upcoming season of Making The Band has me anticipating the show a little more. Premiering on June 18th, the fourth season of the hit MTV show sees Diddy putting together an all-male ‘super group’. I must say that the end of the vid has me thinking that the whole Diddy/Laurie-Ann controversy was a publicity stunt to promote the show…I guess it worked.

Will you be tuning in to Making The Band 4?

R&B singer and burgeoning Broadway star, Fantasia performed at the 61st Annual Tony Awards last night. Singing ‘I’m Here’ from the Tony-nominated Broadway show ‘The Color Purple’, Fantasia absolutely nailed it. Each time I see her perform the song, she tops the last.

What did you think of the performance?

The video for Ali & Gipp’s new single ‘Almost Made Ya’ premiered today. I’ve been liking this Jermaine Dupri-produced song for some time now and it’s great that it finally got the video treatment. Though it’s pretty standard, the video is decent and LeToya is looking on-point – as usual. Be on the lookout for new albums by both Ali & Gipp as well as LeToya in the months ahead.

What do you think of the video?

This new Kanye West track ‘Bittersweet’ has me anticipating his upcoming ‘Graduation’ album even more. The melodic mid-tempo is a collaboration between Kanye and Pop Rock artist John Mayer. I’m really liking the laidback vibe the song has to it and having John Mayer on the hook works surprisingly well. It’s not the first time Kanye has stepped out of the box with his feature artists – Maroon 5’s Adam Levine joined Kanye on their 2005 hit ‘Heard Em Say’. ‘Bittersweet’ is taken from Kanye’s third album ‘Graduation’ which hits stores August 21st.

Hit or Miss?

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The second single from Amerie’s latest album has been confirmed as ‘Gotta Work’. It’s being reported that Scott Franklin, who directed the singer’s last video ‘Take Control’, will also work on this. Amerie, 29, released her third album, ‘Because I Love It’, in Europe this past May; the album is scheduled for a Stateside release in the summer.

Though ‘Gotta Work’ is a good track, I would have preferred her label go with one of the album’s better cuts such as ‘Make Me Believe’ or ‘Crush’. Either way, I’m hoping the video is better than the extra confusing ‘Take Control’ vid.
Are you feeling the single choice?
R&B/Soul singer Joss Stone has finally responded to producer Dallas Austin’s much publicised claims that she ‘F*cked For Tracks’. Speaking to Metro New York, Stone had the following to say:
“I’m gonna let you decide. I never met him. I don’t know what he looks like. What can I say about that except for, ‘What an interesting high little man!’ I guess he was being a young boy and a little childish. What can I do? I don’t want to date any of them. I don’t want a boyfriend. Rather than be mad for that, I probably should pray for him because he’s got to have some issues. I think he needs to get a little help. He’s not well.”
….Ok then. I’m not convinced by her denial; she sure did take a long time to respond.
Things aren’t looking too good for 50 Cent’s forthcoming ‘Curtis’ album. According to reports, execs at the G-Unit leader’s record label, Interscope, are unhappy with the lack of public interest in regard to the rapper’s latest singles ‘Amusement Park’ and ‘Straight To The Bank’. This, apparently, was a major factor in the decision to push the album back from June to September. 50 is said to be frustrated and is ‘attempting to salvage the situation’.
I can’t say I didn’t expect it. 50’s tactic of starting beef with other rappers to generate a buzz around his own album got tired real quick. It’s as if he started to believe his own hype and now no one is checking for him. I really don’t see this ‘Curtis’ album performing as well as any of his other CD’s. Seems he’s heading for the same fate as Ja Rule…

Will 50 Cent Succeed With ‘Curtis’?
This remix to Rihanna’s mega-hit ‘Umbrella’ sees teen R&B star Chris Brown put his own spin on the track. Tweaking the lyrics, Brown replaces ‘Umbrella’ with ‘Cinderella’ and gives the song a cool new perspective. Having said that, the production is exactly the same and Chris’ vocals are badly edited into the track. Still alright though…

What do you think?

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Continuing her promo blitz through Europe, R&B star Kelly Rowland performed ‘Like This’ on Loose Women today. I saw the performance as an improvement over her GMTV performance earlier this week. Her vocals were just as good, if not better, and she moved with a lot more sass. In other Kelly news, her single ‘Like This’ has moved into the top ten on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart – sitting at #7.

What did you think of Kelly’s performance?

Rihanna seems to be everywhere nowadays promoting her latest effort ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’. This time the Def Jam star performed her #1 hit ‘Umbrella’ on BET’s 106 & Park yesterday. As has been the case recently, she performed really well and her new-found confidence as a performer shone through. Considering the news of Rihanna’s lower-than expected first week album sales, it’ll be interesting to see how she fares with future singles.

What did you think of the performance?

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Mariah Carey took a break from recording her new album to make an appearance at the Fresh Air Fund’s Salute to American Heroes last night in New York City. She looks great; it’s the best I’ve seen her look in a long while. The downtime she’s had since her tour wrapped, in October last year, has done her some good.
In other Mariah news, Timbaland collaborator Nate ‘Danja’ Hills – who co-produced Nelly Furtado’s smash ‘Promiscuous’ – has stated that he is currently recording tracks with the ‘We Belong Together’ singer. Danja joins a host of hit-makers lined up to produce for the project including Jermaine Dupri, Swizz Beats and Scott Storch.
I’m anxious to hear Mariah’s new material; after the success of ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’ it’ll be interesting to see whether she can deliver once again.

Can Mariah top ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’ album?
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I managed to meet R&B star Kelly Rowland today in London. This took place at the taping of Loose Women which she was performing on (airs tomorrow). I didn’t attend the show, but caught up with Kelly afterwards.

I’ve seen ‘Ms Kelly’ in concert etc before, but she is STUNNING in person – a real beauty. She was so gracious and down-to earth. Smiling and being very friendly with everyone. Her minder allowed the waiting crowd full access to Kelly, so along with an autograph, hug and many pictures, I was able to speak with Kelly in some detail.

Many were acting star-struck, which to some extent I was too, but I said to myself ‘you don’t see Kelly everyday…you better ask her something!’ I proceeded to wish her luck with the project and asked her what the 2nd single will be – to which I got a ‘hmmm’ as a response. I informed her that alot of people are feeling ‘Work’ (someone else screamed out ‘Still In Love With My Ex’) and then lol…*crickets* she (and her entourage) stared at me right in my face for like 5 seconds straight. I had to ask her ‘why is everyone looking at me? lol’ She was shocked and said that she didn’t know people knew of ‘Work’ etc like that. She was really flattered, so much so that when she was about to leave she called me out personally – by name – and thanked me for the info and said ‘it’s really useful’. I’m guessing their still mulling over which single to pick and it was good for her to get an idea of what people are liking.

All in all, a great day…

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