Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Recap: The 2013 American Music Awards

The American Music Awards on Sunday saw Macklemore & Ryan Lewis enter the night leading with six nods and leaving with the awards for Favorite Artist (Rap/Hip-Hop) and Favorite Album (Rap/ Hip-Hop) for The Heist, and Taylor Swift take home the most trophies, including one for the evening’s top honor – Artist of the Year.

In addition to winning Artist of the Year in the fan-voted event, Swift also took home the Favorite Female Artist (Country) and Favorite Album (Country) award for Red. "My lucky number is 13, and so far you guys have made 2013 the most magical year so far," she said, referencing her fans, in her acceptance speech.. "I'm 23 and I have no idea what's going to happen to me... I love you so much. It's unbelievable."

Like the country pop starlet, Justin Timberlake also took home a trio of AMAs –Favorite Male (Pop/Rock), Favorite Male (Soul/R&B) and Favorite Album (Soul/R&B) for The 20/20 Experience. He also performed "Drink You Away" with the Tennessee Kids. Rihanna won for Favorite Female Artist (Soul/ R&B) and also picked up the first AMA Icon Award doled out at the annual event.

Performences were seen from Katy Perry, who opened with a rendition of power ballad "Unconditionally," Pitbull, who served as host for the 2013 AMAs, teamed up with Ke$ha for their track "Timber," Lady Gaga and R. Kelly also performed their collaboration “Do What U Want” with a president/mistress theme. TLC and Miley Cyrus also took to the stage, as did J. Lo, Kendrick Lamar, Luke Bryant and Christina Aguilera. Rihanna, who also won the very first American Music Award Icon Award, performed “Diamonds.”

FULL LIST OF WINNERS & NOMINEES:

Artist of the Year
Winner: Taylor Swift
Justin Timberlake
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Rihanna
Bruno Mars

Single of the Year
Winner: Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly - "Cruise"
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell & T.I. - "Blurred Lines"
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz - "Thrift Shop"

Icon Award
Winner: Rihanna

New Artist of the Year
Winner: Ariana Grande
Florida Georgia Line
Imagine Dragons
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Phillip Phillips

Favorite Male Artist -- Pop/Rock
Winner: Justin Timberlake
Bruno Mars
Robin Thicke

Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Pop/Rock
Winner: One Direction
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Imagine Dragons

Favorite Album -- Pop/Rock
Winner: One Direction - Take Me Home
Taylor Swift - Red
Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

Favorite Male Artist -- Country
Winner: Luke Bryan
Hunter Hayes
Blake Shelton

Favorite Female Artist -- Country
Winner: Taylor Swift
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood

Favorite Album -- Country
Winner: Taylor Swift -- Red
Luke Bryan - Crash My Party
Florida Georgia Line - Here's to the Good Times

Favorite Album -- Rap/Hip-Hop
Winner: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
Jay Z - Magna Carta... Holy Grail
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Favorite Male Artist -- Soul/R&B
Winner: Justin Timberlake
Miguel
Robin Thicke

Favorite Female Artist -- Soul/R&B
Winner: Rihanna
Ciara
Alicia Keys

Favorite Album -- Soul/R&B
Winner: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience
Rihanna - Unapologetic
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines

Favorite Artist -- Alternative Rock
Winner: Imagine Dragons
The Lumineers
Mumford & Sons

Favorite Artist -- Latin Music
Winner: Marc Anthony
Prince Royce
Romeo Santos

Favorite Artist -- Electronic Dance Music (EDM)
Winner: Avicii
Daft Punk
Zedd
Calvin Harris

Friday, November 15, 2013

Paul McCartney Asks Russian President to Free Greenpeace Protesters

Paul McCartney is calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Greenpeace activists whom Russian authorities detained in September. In a letter McCartney posted on his website, the singer assure Putin that Greenpeace is not anti-Russian and that the 28 activists arrested while staging a protest at a Russian oil-drilling platform in the Arctic Ocean were not working at the behest of western governments.

"In my experience they tend to annoy every government! And they never take money from any government or corporation anywhere in the world," McCartney wrote in a letter that opens informally with, "Dear Vladimir."

Russian authorities initially charged the protesters, and two journalists who were with them, with piracy and hooliganism, though the piracy charges have since been dropped. The 30 people arrested still face a maximum of seven years in prison on the hooliganism charge. Two days ago, the arrestees were transferred to prisons in St. Petersburg.

McCartney's letter, dated October 14th, also underscores that the protesters "don't think they are above the law." He asks, "They say they are willing to answer for what they actually did, so could there be a way out of this, one that benefits everybody?" McCartney acknowledges that the presidency and Russian government are separate but asks Putin to consider weighing in on the matter.

The former Beatle references the band's "Back in the U.S.S.R." in his letter. "That song had one of my favorite Beatles lines in it: 'Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it's good to be back home.' Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?"

Before signing off, he requests a meeting with Putin "when our schedules allow."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Recap: The 2013 CMA Award Winning Artists

George Strait beat out today's hottest young country music talents to take home the Entertainer of the Year trophy at the 47th annual Country Music Association awards, held last night in Nashville, Tennessee.

It was clear that Strait, who's currently out on his Cowboy Rides Away farewell tour, didn't expect the honor. Taking the stage, Strait said, 'What? Never in a million years...thank you so much....this just blows me away. I just cannot believe it."

This was Strait's third Entertainer of the Year award, but the last time he won was in 1990.

Strait, who's the only artist in music history to have a top 10 hit every year for 30 years, loomed large throughout the telecast.  He and Alan Jackson teamed up to pay tribute to the late George Jones by singing Jones' signature hit, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," and he was also part of the night's other major event: the Pinnacle Award presentation, which went to Taylor Swift.

Along with Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Strait was part of a group of artists who Swift had all opened for early on in her career, and they all took the stage to salute Swift's incredible achievements in bringing country music to a global audience.

Video tributes from the likes of Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Justin Timberlake rounded out the segment.

While Swift wasn't surprised by the Pinnacle Award, which had been pre-announced, she was clearly emotional while accepting it.

"To the CMA...to whoever made this choice [to give this to me], you not only honor my hard work and exhaustion, but the hard work and exhaustion of my family and my label, and everyone who works with me," she declared.  "But most of all, my fans, who have filled stadiums: I love you!"

Wednesday night marked only the second time this award has even been given out; its first recipient, Garth Brooks, won in 2005.

Swift also performed her song "Red" on the telecast acoustically, with some help from musicians like Vince Gill and Alison Krauss, and took home two awards which had also been pre-announced: Musical Event of the Year and Video of the Year for "Highway Don't Care," which she shared with McGraw and Urban.

The CMA's also included a surprise appearance by Willie and Jase Robertson of Duck Dynasty, who were joined by their wives Missy and Korie to perform Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” The Robertson's also gave out the first award of the night to duo Florida Georgia Line for single of the year for their hit song “Cruise.”

The complete list of CMA winners:

Music Video of the Year - "Highway Don't Care" (Announced Earlier) Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

Single of the Year - "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line

Vocal Duo of the Year – Florida Georgia Line

Musician of the Year – Mac McAnally

New Artist of the Year – Kacey Musgraves

Album of the Year – Blake Shelton "Based on a True Story"

Vocal Group of the Year – Little Big Town

Female Vocalist of the Year – Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year – Blake Shelton

Entertainer of the Year – George Strait