Monday May 23, 2016

Discovery Channel teams with Usher, Christina Aguilera and more for fresh TV series

Discovery Channel has signed six top recording artists for a special six-part series on the animal kingdom.The channel will debut the family-friendly set, titled "Hello World!", on July 9 with two back-to-back episodes to air for three consecutive weeks. Each episode will be narrated by a different...
Read More

TV

Discovery Channel teams with Usher, Christina Aguilera and more for fresh TV series
Monday May 23, 2016
Discovery Channel teams with Usher, Christina Aguilera and more for fresh TV series

Discovery Channel has signed six top recording artists for a special six-part series on the animal kingdom.The channel will debut the family-friendly set, titled "Hello World!", on July 9 with two back-to-back episodes to air for three consecutive weeks. Each episode will be narrated by a different artist with tracks from each to feature, with Christina Aguilera, Usher, Ellie Goulding, Joan Jett, Dave Matthews and Steven Tyler all confirmed to participate. The series is being made in association with the World Wildlife Fund, is produced by RadicalMedia.  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Pawn Stars' star Chumlee taking plea deal to avoid jail
Monday May 23, 2016
'Pawn Stars' star Chumlee taking plea deal to avoid jail

LAS VEGAS (AP) — One of the stars of the reality TV show "Pawn Stars" told a judge on Monday he's taking a plea deal that would spare him jail time in a case stemming from the discovery of guns, marijuana and other drugs at his Las Vegas home. Austin Lee Russell, who is known as "Chumlee" to television viewers, said he'll plead guilty to a felony weapon charge and a misdemeanor attempted drug possession count in an agreement that will get him counseling and three years' probation. If he stays out of trouble until 2019, the felony charge would be dismissed and Russell would be left with only a misdemeanor conviction on his record. If he doesn't, he'll face two to five years in state prison on the weapon possession charge. Russell and his attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, didn't comment as they left court. They're due back June 1 to enter Russell's pleas in Clark County District Court. Chesnoff said later they were "gratified that a thorough investigation by both the police and the defense can lead to a just result." An official with A&E Network and the History Channel said "Pawn Stars" is not currently in production and there has been no change in Russell's status on the show. Russell, 33, was arrested March 9 after police serving a warrant in a sex assault case found a small arsenal of weapons, a gallon plastic bag of pot, anxiety medication and a small amount of methamphetamine at his home. Russell wasn't arrested on a sex crime allegation, and no charge was filed in that case. "The case will end, with court approval, without any allegation of sexual assault," Chesnoff said Monday. Prosecutor James Sweetin declined to comment. The type of counseling Russell will undergo wasn't specified. John Pacult, the Las Vegas licensed clinical social worker named in the plea agreement, didn't immediately respond to messages. However, one of his specialties is counseling sex offenders, according to his Internet website. The plea agreement calls for Russell to surrender the drugs and 12 guns police reported seizing at Russell's home. The weapons range from registered handguns to a shotgun and assault-style MP5 and .223-caliber rifles that were not registered, police said. Almost 5 ounces of marijuana was found in jars and plastic bags in varying amounts, according to a police report, including one large Ziploc bag containing more than 4 ounces. Police also reported finding the anxiety drug Xanax and some methamphetamine. "The weapons were not there for any criminal purpose, and Austin recognizes that the possession and use of marijuana is prohibited by the law except in certain circumstances," Chesnoff told The Associated Press. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Ken Ritter from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Fresh Off the Boat' team reflects on breakthrough sitcom
Monday May 23, 2016
'Fresh Off the Boat' team reflects on breakthrough sitcom

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Television is mostly entertaining, sometimes enlightening and, occasionally, can make a difference. The sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" hits all the marks. Because of it, along with ABC siblings "black-ish" and "Dr. Ken" (and, at CW, "Jane the Virgin"), network TV's American family photo album is starting to look authentic. The contribution of "Fresh Off the Boat" is especially notable. It's the first network prime-time comedy about an Asian-American family since Margaret Cho's "All-American Girl" in 1994, which lasted a season. "Dr. Ken" star Ken Jeong ("Community," ''The Hangover") gladly acknowledges that the success of "Fresh Off the Boat" paved the way for his series. "Even if I wasn't a part of any of it, never in a million years would I have thought any of this would happen," said Jeong, who guest stars in the season finale of "Fresh Off the Boat," airing 8:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday. "It really is beyond satisfying" to see two shows on the air and with characters of different Asian origins, he said. "Fresh Off the Boat" follows a Taiwanese-American family's mostly eager plunge into the melting pot of the 1990s. On the flip side, "black-ish" is about a contemporary African-American family's efforts to hold on to its cultural identity. "Dr. Ken," about a Korean-American husband and father, gives the formulaic domestic sitcom a cheerful ethnic tweak. Without losing sight of their primary job, to be funny, the ABC shows make the case that there is — cynics and malcontents aside — a suburban-lawn-sized patch of common ground to be found. The shows' ratings are proof that viewers are responding, with both "Fresh Off the Boat" and "black-ish" secure on ABC's schedule and "Dr. Ken" returning for its second year. As "Fresh Off the Boat" wrapped taping for the season, stars Randall Park and Constance Wu, who star as parents Louis and Jessica Huang, took a set break to reflect on its impact. Executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and Chelsey Crisp, who plays neighbor Honey, weighed in later by phone. NAHNATCHKA KHAN The writer-producer marvels at TV's sudden burst of inclusiveness, including Aziz Ansari in "Master of None" and Priyanka Chopra in "Quantico." "The difference in the past year has been enormous. The fact we were right in the middle of this kind of change is incredible, and we're really grateful for it," Khan said. "The more, the merrier. Let's just keep going." ___ RANDALL PARK "I get stopped on street all the time, with people telling me how much the show means to them and that they watch it with their families," he said. And it's not just Asian-Americans, but "everyone," Park said. "It's easy for us to buy into the myths out there that people don't want to watch a family that's different from them on TV, that it's going to be too foreign for people," he said. "Fresh Off the Boat" is disproving that. But Park recalls his own early concerns about how his character would be portrayed. "Even though in the grand scheme of sitcom history there's a tradition of the goofy dad, to me it was a point of concern because there weren't a lot Asian sitcom dads to balance that out, or even Asian characters in general," he said. "He is a character, for sure, but the writers have done such a great job of humanizing him. ... For all the silliness to this character, there's a loving side, a serious side." Louis has shown "what a father could be, an immigrant could be — or just a man could be," Park said. ___ CONSTANCE WU Wu also felt the weight of high expectations for the series. "Some people wanted it to tackle race issues, and there's some people who think the more progressive thing is to not look at race issues and just have them (the family) tackle normal issues such as puberty or cooking," she said. But the writers have managed to do both. "There were episodes about raceless things and ones that really did focus on the uniqueness of our story and navigating through an Asian-American lens," Wu said. "You can't please everyone, but the writers have been smart to go on both sides of the issue." Viewers have told her, through a flurry of tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, that it's "inspirational to have Asian-American characters, and rather than trying to hide their culture they celebrate it and take ownership of the story," she said. ___ CHELSEY CRISP Playing Honey, the supporting white character in a series dominated by Asian-Americans, is a role that Crisp welcomes. "It feels pretty remarkable that we finally got there, and it feels really special to be a part of the show that did it," she said. It also evoked a memory of why TV diversity matters. "My best friend is Korean-American, and when we were growing up there was no one that looked like him on TV. When I first read the pilot, reading the family's experience of going to Orlando and being the only Asian-American family, it reminded me so much of my childhood friend, Richard," Crisp said. ___ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/lynn-elber and she can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: 'Alice Through the Looking Glass,' a curious sequel
Monday May 23, 2016
Review: 'Alice Through the Looking Glass,' a curious sequel

"Alice Through the Looking Glass ," like its predecessor, owes very little to Lewis Carroll. Textual adherence is somewhat beside the point when serving as a sequel to something that also cherry picked. But, lest you think that a six-year gap and the absence of Tim Burton in the director's chair might have allowed for a return to the gleeful absurdity of Carroll, it doesn't. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton ("Beauty and the Beast") has again disposed of the source material in favor of something more linear — a story about Alice (Mia Wasikowska) looking for Hatter's (Johnny Depp) family. Director James Bobin's ("The Muppets") film trudges on through the lushly designed world answering questions we never asked, like, "What was the Mad Hatter's childhood like?" And, "why does the Red Queen have such a large head?" In other words, it's an Underland origin story. We meet Alice some years after the first film faced again with the prospect of losing her independence. Last time she was fleeing a proposal. This time her livelihood is in jeopardy (she's a sea captain now, and a good one). So when life gets frustrating in the real world, Alice climbs through a mirror and is transported back to Underland. Her old friends have been waiting for her to fix another problem: The Mad Hatter. The nightmarish Hatter, who has developed a more pronounced (and annoying) lisp, is wallowing in life-threatening depression (manifested in combed hair, a sicklier pallor and a grown up wardrobe) because he's found an object that makes him believe his family is alive. This was not something that seemed to afflict Hatter in the first film, but maybe he's just really good at compartmentalizing. Alice decides be a noble friend and take on Time to get to the bottom of what really happened on the day when the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) unleashed her Jabberwocky on their village. Time, you should know, is part clock, part man (Sacha Baron Cohen) and sounds a lot like Werner Herzog. His sequences, and his little steampunk companions are actually a high point. It's the one time Bobin can really get out from under Burton's suffocating precedent. Time talks a big game and can also decide when someone's time is up, but his own command is dependent on a larger than life clock that's powered by another device which also functions as a time travel machine. That's what Alice steals to careen back through time to try to correct the original sins of Underland — a quest she continues even after she learns of the possibly catastrophic consequences of her actions. While it might sound intriguing on paper, on the screen it's less than enchanting and the plot gets less and less compelling as it goes on. Aside from Depp's descent into grating ghoulishness, the acting of the returning characters remains mostly the same. Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway (The White Queen) continue to do their affected, scenery-chewing shticks, while the host of Underland creatures and their famous voices (including the late Alan Rickman) look more dated than ever — beholden to Burton's CGI renderings from six years ago. There are some inspired visuals, like a landscape of glimmering pocket watches suspended in air, but many of the set pieces are executed with too much remove. Alice, for instance, must walk across the enormous hands of a ticking clock to gain entry to Time's headquarters. It's a great idea and looks wonderful, but it's just airless and void of suspense in execution. Excitement and wonder are fairly hard to conjure up when your Mad Hatter is consumed with daddy issues, your protagonist is nonchalant about everything, and the oddities of this world are suddenly getting scientific explanations and backstories that really only show how awfully ordinary everything once was. It's a shame, too, because the Alice stories could be so wonderful on the big screen. It might be time to scrap it all and try again. "Alice Through the Looking Glass," a Walt Disney Pictures release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for "fantasy action/peril and some language." Running time: 113 minutes. One and a half stars out of four. ___ MPAA Definition of PG: Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lindsey Bahr from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Disney debuts first teaser for 'Beauty and the Beast' film remake
Monday May 23, 2016
Disney debuts first teaser for 'Beauty and the Beast' film remake

Disney has released the first teaser for its live-action remake of animated musical "Beauty and the Beast", almost 10 months ahead of the film's scheduled release.The clip, which gives a first look of "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson as the key character of Belle, entering the mysterious castle, is set against the original Alan Menken/Howard Ashman/Tim Rice score and ends by inviting viewers to "Be our guest", plugging its US release date of March 17, 2017. The film, a fresh take on the smash 1991 children's movie, is helmed by Bill Condon and also stars Dan Stevens as the Beast with Luke Evans as Gaston, in addition to Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman produce, together with executive producers are Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn. Watch the teaser for "Beauty and the Beast": https://youtu.be/c38r-SAnTWM Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Italy launches its own version of the GLAAD Media Awards
Tuesday May 24, 2016
Italy launches its own version of the GLAAD Media Awards

Italy is launching its own version of the GLAAD Media Awards to honor representations of LGBT characters and storylines in both Italian and international media reports Variety.Named the Diversity Media Awards, the event will take place on Monday night in Milan. The event has been launched by Italian organization Diversity in an effort to tackle prejudice and discrimination against the LGBT community, often still common within Italy. Although inspired by the GLAAD Media Awards it is not an official GLAAD event, however GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis will be in attendance. The event will include categories for film, TV, radio, advertising, and web, with some of the films up for an award including Maria Sole Tognazzi's lesbian romcom "Io e lei," Sabrina Ferilli's local box-office success "The Great Beauty," and Laura Bispuri's "Sworn Virgin," nominated for the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival. The awards will be streamed on Discovery Italy's Dplay service and via the Diversity website. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Broadway's attendance soars but box office mostly flat
Monday May 23, 2016
Broadway's attendance soars but box office mostly flat

NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway's attendance figures hit a record high this season, but box office revenue ticked upward only slightly. The Broadway League said Monday that box offices reported a record total gross of $1.37 billion — up 0.6 percent from the previous season, or about $8 million. The trade association for theater owners, operators and producers said attendance was up 1.6 percent to 13.3 million ticket buyers. Both numbers are new records. The number of playing weeks — Broadway's occupancy rate — was up 1.4 percent from last season's to end at 1,648, a new record. There is a total of 2,080 total playing weeks available each year. Average paid admission for the season was $103.11, which represents a decrease for the first time. Last season's average paid admission was $104.18. A total of 39 shows opened during the season, which began May 31, 2015, and ended Sunday. There were 16 musicals, 20 plays and three special events. Last season saw 37 shows open. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Vintage Mickey doll, Disney Studios desk up for auction
Monday May 23, 2016
Vintage Mickey doll, Disney Studios desk up for auction

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An original animator's desk from Walt Disney Studios and a vintage Mickey Mouse doll signed by Walt Disney are among the items up for bid next month in an online auction of rare Disney memorabilia. The website of Van Eaton Galleries lists more than 700 items for sale. Among the items listed are original production cels for Disney classics like "The Jungle Book," ''Sleeping Beauty," ''Bambi" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Collectors can also bid on costumes from the original "Mickey Mouse Club," including one worn by Annette Funicello. An exhibition titled, "Collecting Disney," opens Wednesday at the gallery in Sherman Oaks, California, ahead of the online auction that begins June 18. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: 'Alice Through the Looking Glass,' a curious sequel
Monday May 23, 2016
Review: 'Alice Through the Looking Glass,' a curious sequel

"Alice Through the Looking Glass ," like its predecessor, owes very little to Lewis Carroll. Textual adherence is somewhat beside the point when serving as a sequel to something that also cherry picked. But, lest you think that a six-year gap and the absence of Tim Burton in the director's chair might have allowed for a return to the gleeful absurdity of Carroll, it doesn't. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton ("Beauty and the Beast") has again disposed of the source material in favor of something more linear — a story about Alice (Mia Wasikowska) looking for Hatter's (Johnny Depp) family. Director James Bobin's ("The Muppets") film trudges on through the lushly designed world answering questions we never asked, like, "What was the Mad Hatter's childhood like?" And, "why does the Red Queen have such a large head?" In other words, it's an Underland origin story. We meet Alice some years after the first film faced again with the prospect of losing her independence. Last time she was fleeing a proposal. This time her livelihood is in jeopardy (she's a sea captain now, and a good one). So when life gets frustrating in the real world, Alice climbs through a mirror and is transported back to Underland. Her old friends have been waiting for her to fix another problem: The Mad Hatter. The nightmarish Hatter, who has developed a more pronounced (and annoying) lisp, is wallowing in life-threatening depression (manifested in combed hair, a sicklier pallor and a grown up wardrobe) because he's found an object that makes him believe his family is alive. This was not something that seemed to afflict Hatter in the first film, but maybe he's just really good at compartmentalizing. Alice decides be a noble friend and take on Time to get to the bottom of what really happened on the day when the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) unleashed her Jabberwocky on their village. Time, you should know, is part clock, part man (Sacha Baron Cohen) and sounds a lot like Werner Herzog. His sequences, and his little steampunk companions are actually a high point. It's the one time Bobin can really get out from under Burton's suffocating precedent. Time talks a big game and can also decide when someone's time is up, but his own command is dependent on a larger than life clock that's powered by another device which also functions as a time travel machine. That's what Alice steals to careen back through time to try to correct the original sins of Underland — a quest she continues even after she learns of the possibly catastrophic consequences of her actions. While it might sound intriguing on paper, on the screen it's less than enchanting and the plot gets less and less compelling as it goes on. Aside from Depp's descent into grating ghoulishness, the acting of the returning characters remains mostly the same. Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway (The White Queen) continue to do their affected, scenery-chewing shticks, while the host of Underland creatures and their famous voices (including the late Alan Rickman) look more dated than ever — beholden to Burton's CGI renderings from six years ago. There are some inspired visuals, like a landscape of glimmering pocket watches suspended in air, but many of the set pieces are executed with too much remove. Alice, for instance, must walk across the enormous hands of a ticking clock to gain entry to Time's headquarters. It's a great idea and looks wonderful, but it's just airless and void of suspense in execution. Excitement and wonder are fairly hard to conjure up when your Mad Hatter is consumed with daddy issues, your protagonist is nonchalant about everything, and the oddities of this world are suddenly getting scientific explanations and backstories that really only show how awfully ordinary everything once was. It's a shame, too, because the Alice stories could be so wonderful on the big screen. It might be time to scrap it all and try again. "Alice Through the Looking Glass," a Walt Disney Pictures release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for "fantasy action/peril and some language." Running time: 113 minutes. One and a half stars out of four. ___ MPAA Definition of PG: Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lindsey Bahr from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Extended 'Independence Day: Resurgence' trailer unleashed
Monday May 23, 2016
Extended 'Independence Day: Resurgence' trailer unleashed

20th Century Fox has released an extended trailer for its upcoming film "Independence Day: Resurgence", featuring almost five minute's worth of new footage from the sequel.The blockbuster, slated for release on June 24, 2016, stars Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe and Sela Ward. The extensive clip provides new insight into the picture's plot-line, which sees the aggressive extraterrestrials which sought to destroy Earth in the first film return to finish the job. The teaser also accentuates the upgraded special effects in the sequel -- 22 years in the making. "Independence Day: Resurgence" is directed by Roland Emmerich, from a script penned by Emmerich, Dean Devlin, James Vanderbilt, James A.Woods & Nicolas Wright.  Watch the latest trailer for "Independence Day: Resurgence" here: https://youtu.be/NCe_JshWOZ0 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Italy launches its own version of the GLAAD Media Awards
Tuesday May 24, 2016
Italy launches its own version of the GLAAD Media Awards

Italy is launching its own version of the GLAAD Media Awards to honor representations of LGBT characters and storylines in both Italian and international media reports Variety.Named the Diversity Media Awards, the event will take place on Monday night in Milan. The event has been launched by Italian organization Diversity in an effort to tackle prejudice and discrimination against the LGBT community, often still common within Italy. Although inspired by the GLAAD Media Awards it is not an official GLAAD event, however GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis will be in attendance. The event will include categories for film, TV, radio, advertising, and web, with some of the films up for an award including Maria Sole Tognazzi's lesbian romcom "Io e lei," Sabrina Ferilli's local box-office success "The Great Beauty," and Laura Bispuri's "Sworn Virgin," nominated for the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival. The awards will be streamed on Discovery Italy's Dplay service and via the Diversity website. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Madonna honors Prince, Dion inspires at Billboard Awards
Tuesday May 24, 2016
Madonna honors Prince, Dion inspires at Billboard Awards

This year's Billboard Music Awards promised to be heavy on emotion during its biggest performances by iconic artists such as Celine Dion and Madonna. And they certainly delivered on Sunday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with a political statement about transgender rights, a tender Prince tribute and Dion's return after personal losses. These are the most memorable moments of the night. CELINE'S TRIUMPHANT RETURN Celine Dion's first television appearance since her husband, René Angélil, and her brother, Daniel Dion, died in January was among the most anticipated moments of the night. The international star turned her tragedy into a triumphant display of strength and resiliency as she performed Queen's "The Show Must Go On." Backed by an orchestra and talented violinist Lindsey Stirling, Dion raised her hands to the sky and even did a little hip shake to make for the uplifting moment of the night. After accepting the Billboard Icon Award, Dion was surprised by her son and apologized for crying, which no one would fault her for. She thanked her legions of fans for being with her through good times and bad and dedicated the award to her late husband, who she said will "continue to watch over me from up above." MADONNA, WONDER HONOR PRINCE Billboard took some criticism when Madonna was chosen to pay tribute to the late great Prince, but together with Stevie Wonder, her heartfelt performance to the musical icon, who died April 21 at age 57, was touching. After being introduced by Roots leader Questlove who skillfully articulated the impact of the musical genius, the tribute started with a recording of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," as all the lights in the venue turned purple. Madonna appeared seated on a purple velvet throne in a lacy glittery suit with a cane and sang a tender version of "Nothing Compares 2 U," as images of Prince played on a screen behind her. Stevie Wonder joined her on a rousing "Purple Rain" duet. It became a crowd singalong with artists like Rihanna singing and dancing as the arena lit up with thousands of purple wristbands. But not everyone was as touched; the tribute received some negative feedback from fans on social media, and BET stoked the fire: Soon after the show ended, the network responded on Twitter with a video promoting their own upcoming Prince tribute at the BET Awards next month. The response said, "Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We Got You." Questlove later took to Twitter to defend the tribute. KESHA SLAYS For all the questions over Kesha's appearance, she delivered a standout performance of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe" with pianist Ben Folds that was beautiful in its simplicity. She didn't need to address an ongoing legal dispute with producer Dr. Luke, whose record label pulled the plug on the performance then reversed itself amid fears she would reference her allegations of sexual abuse against him. She reminded everyone that she was still a very talented vocalist and paid a tribute the legendary songwriter, who turns 75 this year. DEMI'S TRANSGENDER STATEMENT Earlier this year, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas joined a growing list of musicians boycotting North Carolina over a law that blocks local anti-discrimination protections and determines which bathrooms transgender people can use. During her performance of "Cool For the Summer," Lovato wore a shirt featuring an inclusive bathroom symbol in one of the only overtly political statements of the awards show. LGBT rights organization GLAAD said in a release following the performance that copies of the shirt will be sold on Lovato and Jonas' national tour with proceeds going to LGBT organizations in North Carolina. BRITNEY'S BIGGEST HITS Britney Spears' opening medley of her nearly two decades of hits started off stiff, but by the end of the performance, she finally warmed up. The singer, who received the Billboard Millennium Award, came out of the smoke joined by more than a dozen dancers and quickly disrobed into a red bikini. But her robotic dancing and lip-syncing made the performance feel like an unemotional overview of her Las Vegas show. However, after straddling a giant guitar for a cover of "I Love Rock n' Roll" she finally loosened up. She danced and gyrated across multiple stages to the soundtrack of her greatest hits, such as "Slave for U," and "Toxic." ___ This story has been corrected to show that the date for the BET Awards is Sunday, June 26, not next Sunday. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Kristin M. Hall from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Madonna responds to critics of her Prince tribute
Monday May 23, 2016
Madonna responds to critics of her Prince tribute

Madonna is dismissing critics of her tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards with style. A day after her performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and duet with Stevie Wonder on "Purple Rain," the pop singer took to social media Monday and posted a picture of herself in a purple boa with a flower in her teeth. She wrote that anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to, "whatever your age gender or skin color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!! I love Prince 4 ever." She later posed a video of her dancing with a caption that indicated the criticism didn't bother her. The decision to have Madonna honor Prince sparked criticism online and sparked a Change.org petition in the days before the awards show, with some asking that other musicians more closely aligned to Prince be involved as well. Madonna and Prince collaborated on "Love Song" from Madonna's 1989 album, "Like a Prayer." Madonna's performance on Sunday was met by a flurry of tweets complaining about her version of "Nothing Compares 2 U." Some were underwhelmed, others found it inappropriate. BET responded to Madonna's performance on Twitter by advertising its upcoming Prince tribute during their awards show next month, adding the caption "Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We got you." But Roots drummer Questlove, who introduced Madonna's performance, defended her on Twitter, pleading for fans to "not get ugly" wondering what Prince would approve of. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Adele debuts fresh music video following five-award Billboard win
Monday May 23, 2016
Adele debuts fresh music video following five-award Billboard win

Super songstress Adele has unleashed her latest music video, hot on the heels of her Billboard award haul for Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album and Top Selling Song for “Hello”.Following the wins, the singer premiered the clip for “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”, the third single from her latest hit record “25”. The music video, directed by Patrick Daughters, who has also previously worked with artists including Muse and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, shows Adele in a long, floral Dolce & Gabbana gown, sporting red-glossed lips and pulled-back hair as she sings into the camera. Kaleidoscopic effects are then added as the song continues, with the focus always centering on the singer, framed by a pitch-black background. Adele was not in attendance for the reveal, as she is currently on a sold-out tour in Europe which wraps June 15; the North American portion will kick off on in Minneapolis on July 5 (via Billboard). Watch the music video for “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” here: https://youtu.be/fk4BbF7B29w     Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Madonna's Prince tribute criticized at Billboard Music Awards
Monday May 23, 2016
Madonna's Prince tribute criticized at Billboard Music Awards

Madonna came under fire late Sunday for her tribute to Prince during the Billboard Music Awards ceremony, which critics saw as too distant from the late artist himself. Wearing a shimmering lilac-colored suit, Madonna took to the Las Vegas stage at the end of the evening and sang "Nothing Compares 2 U" followed by "Purple Rain" as she held the hand of surprise guest Stevie Wonder. Despite the tangible emotion, critics said her performance was disappointing, panning it on social media. Her interpretation was full of languor and devoid of any solo guitar -- a key element of the late Minneapolis singer's repertoire -- and far removed from a typical Prince performance and its unique brand of danceable funk. Wonder was spared the criticism, with most commentators saying he had saved the performance from even worse failure. Writing on Twitter, British singer Dave Stewart of Eurythmics set the tone: "Please don't have Madonna attempt a prince song." And shortly afterward: "Too late." She was the last of a line of artists who paid tribute to the late singer, including Wiz Khalifa, Seal and Canadian singer The Weeknd, who dedicated his first prize to Prince. "I don't know him. But he was very close to me. And he will always be an inspiration. And of course, helped me push the envelope forever, and every artist I hope," said the visibly-emotional singer, who took home eight trophies. During his last televised appearance, Prince had given The Weeknd a prize at the American Music Awards in late November. "That was the greatest experience of my entire life," the Canadian singer said. - Celine Dion returns - Another highlight was a performance by Celine Dion, who was making her return to the stage since the death of her husband Rene Angelil in mid-January. The Quebecer, who received the Billboard Icon Award honoring her illustrious career, sang Queen's "The Show Must Go On" in tribute to her late husband. Rene Angelil "will continue to watch over me from above," she tearfully after receiving the prize from her first-born son Rene-Charles. With the awards based on commercial results and popularity, the evening was dominated by a string of dramatic performances rather than any suspense over the winners. Billboard ranks album sales in the United States each week. For the annual awards, it takes into account both digital and analog music sales, radio plays and online streaming, as well as concerts and social network activity. Besides The Weeknd's big wins, Adele won five trophies, among them the prestigious awards for top artist, top female artist and top-selling song. Her other wins were for top Billboard 200 artist and top Billboard 200 album. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.