“The Voice” Recap: Knockout Rounds Continue with a Steal by Gwen

Trae Patton/NBCThe Voice staged its second night of the Knockout Rounds on Tuesday night. Once again, Taylor Swift dispensed advice to the artists during rehearsals.

Artists from Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams‘ teams competed during the episode. The contestants on Team Blake Shelton didn’t make an appearance.

The one-hour broadcast began with a face-off between Team Gwen’s Taylor John Williams and Troy Ritchie. Troy chose the OutKast hit “Hey Ya!” At Taylor Swift’s suggestion, he performed a slow, acoustic version of the first verse before abandoning the guitar and singing the rest of the song as OutKast did a decade ago.

As was the case on Monday night with Team Pharrell member Taylor Phelan, Swift had to advise a contestant who shared the same first name as her, in Taylor John Williams. She joked that Taylor John could go by “Taylor Three Names” in order to avoid confusion. He picked Tears for Fears‘ “Mad World,” which Swift thought was smart because many people are unfamiliar with it.

Adam questioned Troy’s song choice, but Blake disagreed, saying Troy had the enthusiasm of Richard Simmons and the seriousness of Napoleon Dynamite. Gwen named Taylor the winner. Troy was not stolen by another coach.

Adam paired Alessandra Castronovo with Mia Pfirrman. Mia covered Christina Perri‘s “Human.” Taylor advised Mia to be more vulnerable in her singing. She also suggested that Mia grab the mic toward the end of the song and come forward on the stage.

Alessandra selected Emeli Sandé‘s “Next To Me.” Taylor wanted her to put a little more grit into her voice so she doesn’t sound too much like Emeli.

Blake said he would name Alessandra the winner because he would more easily recognize her voice on the radio. Pharrell said he too would choose Alessandra. Gwen was impressed by Mia’s low, soft notes in the beginning of her performance, and favored her. Saying she was more polished and confident, Adam kept Mia on his team. Alessandra went home.

In the final Knockout of the night, Elyjuh Rene went head-to-head with Ricky Manning for Team Pharrell. Elyjuh went with Chris Brown‘s “With You.” Taylor told him to loosen up his vocals.

Ricky took on “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. Taylor urged him to make bold eye contact with the audience when singing.

Adam said Ricky came off like a star being born. Blake added that Ricky delivered his favorite performance of the Knockout Rounds so far. To the surprise of Gwen, Pharrell declared Elyjuh the winner. Gwen then stole Ricky, saying, “I feel like I might’ve just won The Voice.”

The Knockout Rounds continue next Monday and Tuesday night on NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Jessie J Talks Going “Bang Bang” Without Ariana & Nicki: “I Miss Them”

Republic RecordsJessie J‘s spent most of this past month making TV appearances in support of her new album Sweet Talker, and that means she’s been performing her hit single “Bang Bang” without her musical partners in crime, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.  While many artists would probably be happy not to have to share the spotlight, Jessie says she actually misses having them onstage with her.

“It makes me realize how loud I am in comparison to Ariana,” Jessie laughs, talking about performing ‘Bang Bang” solo. “Her voice is so soft and sweet and buttery, and I’m like, ‘SHE MIGHTA LET YOU HOLD HER HAND IN SCHOOL!!!’”

“No, I miss them. I do. I miss them,” she adds. “I feel like I’m in a girl band and two members haven’t turned up.”

“Bang Bang” was the first single from Sweet Talker, which has become Jessie’s highest-charting U.S. album, debuting at #10.  Part of that was due to the success of the track, and Jessie says she’s glad that her reintroduction to the American public came as a result of a joint effort.

“I feel super honored to have been able to share that moment of my career, especially here — the re-launch of me,” she tells ABC News Radio. “The last single here was ‘Domino,’ three years ago, so it was a major, major moment and to have those two really support me was incredible.”

And speaking of female support, for the past seven weeks, the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 have been ruled by female artists, including Jessie, Ariana, Nicki, Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor.  Jessie says she’s proud to be a part of that streak, but as for why this seems to be a particularly women-centric moment, she’s not sure, but she has a theory.

“Women get really reflective during the end of the year and I think they create their most amazing life moments, I feel, at the last kind of fourth quarter of the year,” she tells ABC News Radio. “That’s what I feel like.  I think we really reflect and we understand ourselves more and we’re always quite emotional going into the new year, so maybe that’s what it is.  Or maybe it’s just a full moon!”

In December, Jessie will be sharing the stage with Ariana Grande at a variety of holiday concerts nationwide, so perhaps the two will be able to get two-thirds of their girl group back together to perform “Bang Bang.” 

Jessie’s next U.S. date is a charity gala in New York City on November 18 for Musicians on Call, which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of hospital patients nationwide.  Kelly Clarkson is the guest of honor at that event.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Ariana Grande Says She Worked with Lorde on “Hunger Games” Song

ABC/Kelsey McNealWhen the track listing for the Lorde-curated soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 was announced, the fifth track was left untitled, and it was credited only to “various artists.” Well, Ariana Grande has all but confirmed that she’s one of those artists.

During a Livestream chat with fans on Tuesday, Ariana revealed that she recorded a song with Lorde and DJ/producer/rumored Katy Perry boyfriend Diplo for the soundtrack. She described it as an “interesting” and “different” song.

Charli XCX and Tove Lo are two of the other artists on the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack, which is due out November 17. The film arrives in theaters four days later.

Ariana also mentioned during the chat that she’ll release a single during the holiday season.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


London Mayoral Candidate Wants to Erect Statue of Adele in the Capital

Eric McCandless/CBS In London, England, there are hundreds of statues of notable people, from military heroes to great writers to former monarchs.  But one London mayoral candidate says it’s time to erect sculptures that honoring some of our modern-day British heroes…like Adele, for example.

According to the Evening Standard, the candidate, David Lammy, wants to honor current cultural icons who hail from London’s outer boroughs.  He said in a speech at a university, “Walk through Central London and you’ll pass statue after statue celebrating iconic Londoners. But why are these mostly limited to Zone One?” 

Zone One” is a reference to the area of London most frequently visited by tourists; it’s also the most expensive to travel to and around by subway.  Lammy is concerned that young people from poorer areas of town never get a chance to see those statues, so their areas should contain tributes to locals.

He continued, “For example, Adele is an inspiration to people in my constituency of how, with hard work and determination, they can succeed in the arts.”  Adele hails from Tottenham, in North London.

Lammy added, “[Cultural] achievements should be recognized through physical tributes that act as an inspiration for a new generation of cultural icons.”

The paper notes that other successful outer-borough Londoners who could be subjects for statues include actor Daniel Day-Lewis, rock legend David Bowie and soccer icon David Beckham.

This isn’t such a crazy idea, actually: just last month, a statue of the late Amy Winehouse was erected in the North London borough of Camden.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rita Ora’s First Reaction to “Black Widow” — “This Is the F***ing Song!”

Matthias Vriens-McGrath for CosmoRita Ora graces the cover of the December issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, and inside, the Albanian-born British singer talks about relationships, sex and her hit with Iggy Azalea, “Black Widow.”

“As soon as I heard it, I was like ‘This is the f***ing song,’” Rita tells Cosmo about “Black Widow.”  “Katy Perry co-wrote it, [so] it felt nice to have all the women involved.”

Rita’s single before “Black Widow” was “I Will Never Let You Down,” which was written and produced by her now-ex-boyfriend, Calvin Harris.  It reached #1 in the U.K. but stalled in the U.S., amid controversy that Harris wouldn’t allow her to perform it on TV. 

Speaking to Cosmo about her breakup with Harris, Rita says, “It was the right guy at the wrong time. I was about to start a tour, and he was also all over the place. There’s only so much you can do when you don’t see each other.” 

She adds, “I really admire people who have long-distance relationships. It’s an incredible achievement. I couldn’t do it.”

Rita looks super-sexy on the cover of Cosmo in a high-cut white bathing suit with top that doesn’t conceal very much, and she says she’s not self-conscious about her appearance at all. “You have to come to terms with loving your body,” she explains. “Stand naked in front of the mirror and say, ‘I’m f***ing sexy.’ That’s where it starts.”

“I’m very proud to say that I think about sex. It’s what everybody thinks about, whether they say it or not,” she adds.

Read more from Rita in the December issue of Cosmo; it arrives on newsstands November 4.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Pitbull to Star in Not One but Two Reality Shows

Credit: Gregg WatermanThings just got real with PitbullDeadline reports that the rapper will be the star of not one but two reality TV shows.

Mr. Worldwide is teaming up with The Weinstein Company for the two projects.  The first, called Pitbull: The Lyfe, will give fans an up-close-and-personal look at his world tour, his recording sessions and his life behind the scenes.  The second series is called The REAL Change Project, and it involves Pitbull teaming with other celebrities for a good cause.

On The REAL Change Project, Pit will work with people like Michelle Obama, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Kobe Bryant to raise money for teachers around the world. They’ll also talk about the mentors who helped them succeed, and the obstacles they overcame.

No word on when the shows will debut, but in the meantime, Pitbull’s getting plenty of TV experience: he’s hosting the American Music Awards on ABC next month for the second time, and will also host a New Year’s Eve special on Fox.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

New David Guetta Album Includes Ryan Tedder, Sia, John Legend, The Script, Nicki Minaj, Nico & Vinz & More

Atlantic/ParlophoneDavid Guetta‘s upcoming album Listen features a slew of famous names, some of whom are re-teaming with the French deejay for a second go-round.

Both Sia and Nicki Minaj — David’s collaborators on the hits “Titantium” and “Turn Me On,” respectively — return for appearances on Listen.  Nicki is featured on a track called “Hey Mama,” which also includes contributions from Afrojack.  Sia sings on two tracks: “Bang My Head” and “The Whisperer.”  The list of collaborators includes a bunch of other well-known acts: Nico & Vinz, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, The Script, John Legend, Emeli Sande and MAGIC!, among others. 

Unlike David Guetta’s previous albums, Listen didn’t start with the deejay laying down a beat and then adding vocals.  Instead, he crafted the songs the old-fashioned way, using a guitar, piano and vocals. In a statement, he says, “I could have chosen to repeat the style that has become so successful for me, but I wanted to grow as a producer and push myself to the limit. Try new ideas. Get out of my comfort zone. Create songs that stand up whether played by a DJ, a rock band or an orchestra.”

He adds, “I worked with piano, violins, guitars and blended them with electronic elements. It’s also my most personal album lyrically, which is why I called it Listen. Dance too, but really, it’s from the heart.”

Guetta will debut the video for the album’s first single, “Dangerous,” on YouTube October 31 at 12 p.m. ET via Google + Hangout.

Listen is due out November 24. Here’s the track listing:

“Dangerous” feat. Sam Martin
“What I Did for Love” feat. Emeli Sande
“No Money No Love” feat. Elliphant & Ms Dynamite
“Lovers on the Sun” feat. Sam Martin
“Goodbye Friend” feat. The Script
“Lift Me Up” feat. Nico & Vinz, Ladysmith Black Mambazo
“Listen” feat. John Legend
“Bang My Head” feat. Sia
“Yesterday” feat. Bebe Rexha
“Hey Mama” feat. Nicki Minaj & Afrojack
“Sun Goes Down” feat. MAGIC! & Sonny Wilson
“S.T.O.P” feat. Ryan Tedder
“I’ll Keep Loving You” feat. Jaymes Young & Birdy
“The Whisperer” feat. Sia

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

New Taylor Swift Wax Figure Unveiled in Washington, D.C.; 1989 on Track for 900K Sales

Image Courtesy Madame TussaudsEven though it often seems she is, even Taylor Swift can’t be everywhere at once.  Good thing she’s got two new wax figures of herself making their debuts this week at Madame Tussauds. 

On Monday, a new figure of Taylor was unveiled at Madame Tussauds’ Hollywood location.  On Tuesday, a completely different figure made its debut at the museum’s Washington, D.C. location.  The figure shows the singer wearing high heels, a ruby-red sequined top and black shorts, and she’s holding her “Taylor” acoustic/electric guitar.  Her hair is in bangs, but it’s longer, not her recent, shorter ‘do.

Taylor’s had a figure on display in Madame Tussaud’s on New York City since 2010.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s new album 1989 is an overwhelming success.  Billboard reports that the disc could sell as many as 900,000 copies in its first week, which would automatically make it, in a single week, the second-best-selling album of 2014, behind the Frozen soundtrack.

Should 1989 reach those figures, it would mark the largest sales week for any album since March of 2013, when Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience sold 968,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nicki Minaj Drops New Single, Delays “The Pink Print” Until December

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via ABCNicki Minaj has good news and bad news for her adoring fans. As promised, the rapper has released her latest single, “Only,” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown.  However, she has delayed the release of her upcoming album, The PinkPrint.

According to Billboard, Nicki’s third album will now arrive on Monday, December 15;  the set was previously slated for a November 24 release.

Meanwhile, on the explicit “Only,” Minaj calls out her haters and dispels rumors at the same time. “I never f**ked Wayne/I never f**ked Drake/ All my life, man, f**k’s sake,” she raps on the song, produced by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and J Mike.

However, now that she’s reportedly single, Drake jokes about pursuing her: “I never fu**ed Nicki ’cause she got a man, but when that’s over, then I’m first in line,” he spits.

“Only” is the third single from The PinkPrint, following “Pills N Potions” and the Sir Mix-a-Lot-sampling “Anaconda.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Clean Bandit Reveals Who Inspired Romantic Lyrics of “Rather Be”

Asylum UK/Big Beat/Atlantic RecordsClean Bandit‘s breakout smash “Rather Be” is a very romantic song, but the group says when they wrote it initially, they never planned for it to be a love song.  In fact, it was their co-writer — who isn’t even the band — who turned the song into a tribute to his future wife.

The members of Clean Bandit wrote the music for “Rather Be,” but the lyrics were written by one member, Jack Patterson, and another guy called Jimmy Napes.  “He’s a lyricist. He wrote [Disclosure's hit] ‘Latch’ and other songs,” says Clean Bandit’s Grace Chatto. “And we’ve kinda really hit it off with him and made a few songs together.”

According to Grace, Jimmy’s responsible for “Rather Be”‘s romantic leanings.  “He’s just got married, actually, and wrote those words just before that, and I think it was about his fiancee,” she tells ABC News Radio. “But we actually finished the instrumental track before we kinda started thinking about the lyrics at all, so we never planned for it to be a love song, necessarily.  So it was quite cool when it went in that direction.”

Since the members of Clean Bandit don’t sing, they’ve hired different vocalists to sing on all their songs: for example, it’s a woman named Jess Glynne that you hear on “Rather Be.”  None of the singers they’ve worked with are famous, but Grace says the group would be open to teaming up with someone really famous, if it made sense artistically.

“Yeah, we’re definitely not opposed to working with famous vocalists, but we really want to make sure that it’s all about the sound of the voice and how appropriate it is for the song, and not kind of ‘getting together with people just for the sake of it’ kind of thing,” she tells ABC News Radio. 

So who’s on her wish list?  Grace names Sam Smith and Shakira.  We’re not sure about Shakira, but the Sam Smith thing might not be too hard to arrange. After all, Jimmy Napes — the same guy who co-wrote “Rather Be” — also wrote half of Sam’s album In the Lonely Hour. 

Clean Bandit are currently touring the U.K., and next week, they’ll begin a string of dates in Europe.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio