The week started off with many concertgoers saying no, no, no to Amy Winehouse's appearance at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival last weekend. The concert--her first of 2009--was supposed to be the famously beehived and beleaguered Brit singer's "comeback" gig, but spectators were more just taken aback by what they witnessed at the Caribbean fest. Her performance was reportedly a trainwreck, with Amy struggling to remember her lyrics and stumbling all over the stage in what appeared to be a state of (surprise!) intoxication. And when audience members inevitably heckled her, Amy lashed back with a string of Cockney-accented expletives. Then it started to rain, which caused her to become distracted and lose her balance.
Amy's damage-controlling reps later cited the stormy weather as the reason for the concert's plug being prematurely pulled (rather than, say, all the audience booing that drove her from the stage), saying in an official statement: "Amy would like to express her disappointment that weather forced the abandonment of her show at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival on Friday night. Amy and the band tried to soldier on but the set had to be cut short. Amy is very disappointed, as St. Lucia has been wonderful to her and its people have welcomed her with open arms, but circumstances beyond anyone's control meant that this special show did not go as planned."
Amy has been spending much of her time in St. Lucia as of late and has even announced plans to move there permanently, but after this debacle, we'll see just how much longer St. Lucia's people "welcome her with open arms."
Meanwhile, in other news involving concerts, tabloid girls, and overseas events, seemingly rehabbed pop star Britney Spears has finally been granted permission to take her young sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, across the Atlantic to join her on her international tour. There was a time not too long ago--back in her head-shaving, paparazzi-dating, underwear-forgetting days--when Britney wasn't even allowed to visit her children without court-ordered supervision, but that's all changed now. Mark Vincent Kaplan, attorney to Britney's ex Kevin Federline, announced this week that the Spederlines will be extending their current custody arrangement when Britney's Circus tour heads to Europe, and that K-Fed himself will be coming along on the tour to look after the boys while their mother is onstage.
"They worked out an arrangement to facilitate her being able to go on tour without having to sacrifice her abiltity to see the kids," Mark explained. "She'll go on tour, she'll go to the venues, but Kevin will be there with the kids. There won't be any change in the custody schedule in Europe or anywhere she is on tour." It remains to be seen if K-Fed's new love interest, volleyball player Victoria Prince, will be joining the Circus as well, or if K-Fed will be traveling solo.
In other international concert news, there's a small possibility that Michael Jackson's ultra-hyped comeback concerts may be as ill-fated as Amy Winehouse's. Jacko is slated to play a whopping 50-night stand at London's 02 Arena--his first shows in 12 years--starting in July, and he stands to rake in about $50 million from this venture, plus another $15 million in merchandise sales. But a potential new lawsuit against the oft-sued King Of Pop threatens to derail the O2 residency. This week, music promoter Patrick Allocco claimed that Michael had negotiated a previous deal with him to perform in July 2010 in Austin, Texas with his sister Janet Jackson and his brothers from the Jackson Five, and that MJ had signed a contract preventing him from performing any others concerts before then. "We have a non-compete [clause]," stated Patrick. "Prior to our show, Michael cannot perform anywhere in the world."
Patrick announced he was willing to go to court to stop Jacko's London concerts from happening, but AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips told Billboard he wasn't worried, saying Patrick's claims were "completely meritless and have not impacted rehearsals in any way. We have a bona fide contract, the deal's in place, he's performing, we're performing." Randy also excitedly elaborated on Michael's rehearsals for the upcoming O2 extravaganzas, saying: "Michael's in incredible physical shape, he's got tremendous stamina, he's been working out aerobically preparing for this, and he is totally engaged. He sounds like Michael Jackson. He is laser-focused on making this the greatest entertainment event that fans have ever seen."
Let's hope he stays more focused than Amy did in St. Lucia.
Other retro stars made news this week--Kajagoogoo were the latest '80s new wavers to announce a reunion tour (hey, didn't they already get back together on VH1's Bands Reunited?); Boy George was released from jail after serving for four months; Queen split with their stand-in singer Paul Rodgers; Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was mugged at knifepoint but thankfully not seriously harmed; and Depeche Mode sadly had to cancel several gigs after their frontman Dave Gahan was rushed to a hospital in Greece with severe gastroenteritis.
But perhaps the most disturbing news of all this week came courtesy of Hills power-couple and wannabe pop stars, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag.
It was apocalypse-indicating enough when Heidi tried to establish herself as a pop starlet last year, in her so-bad-it's-bad "Higher" music video lensed by Spencer, but this week Spencer emerged from behind the camera, and from behind Heidi's shadow, to release his own debut "hip-hop" single, dubiously titled "I'm A Celebrity." Then, only two days later, his new wife--now billing herself as Heidi Pratt--released her second music video, "Blackout," shot by Spencer while they were recently honeymooning in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Perhaps uncoincidentally, these musical ventures come right before the June 1 premiere of the NBC reality show I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, the cast of which will feature both Heidi and Spencer as well as other "celebrities" like Sanjaya Malakar, Janice Dickinson, and Stephen Baldwin.
Judging from this week's two new Speidi songs, hopefully it's Spencer and Heidi who will languish on the Celebrity island for a good long time, far away from any functioning recording studios.
In other television news, NBC offered some truly must-see TV this week. First, the finest Saturday Night Live host of this generation, Justin Timberlake, returned to the SNL soundstage and starred in another controversial and hilarious Digital Short with Andy Samberg, "Motherlover." And then musicians from all walks of life--the Beastie Boys, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige, Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Norah Jones, Clay Aiken, Moby, Cyndi Lauper, et al--harnessed their star power to perform at a "We Are The World"-style "Kidney Now!" benefit on the season finale of 30 Rock. The latter footage thoroughly 30-Rocked our socks off.
And finally, while Spencer Pratt was rather insanely telling MTV News that he could take on hip-hop newcomer Asher Roth in a rap battle ("No offense to Asher Roth--somebody with some real swagger needed to come into the game. So I'll challenge him. I'll challenge him to a freestyle or whatever. I'm the white Jay-Z in the game..."), Nick Cannon was taking on Asher's obvious predecessor, Eminem, in a battle of his own. Nick Cannon went on an online rampage this week when he heard Shady's new leaked song "Bagpipes From Baghdad," in which Em disses Nick and jokes about his six-month dating relationship with Mariah Carey, who now happens to be Nick's beloved wife.
Nick proceeded to write an angry blog that was later yanked off his website, but not before it was cited by several news sources. "I feel sorry for him because he must really be stuck in the past," Us magazine quoted from the aborted Nick blog. "Not only has his music not evolved, but also homeboy is still obsessed with my wife, the same female that wouldn't let him get to second base from eight years ago. What type of grown...man lies about getting with a chick? Only Slim Lamey! LOL!"
This of course only accomplished what Eminem probably wanted all along: generating publicity for his much-anticipated comeback album Relapse, which comes out next week. So "Slim Lamey" owes Nick his gratitude!
And thus concludes another week in music news. Come back next Friday for more headspinning headlines, and until then, goodnight and good music.
THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES:
1) St. Lucia Says No, No, No To Amy Winehouse - She is booed offstage at her "comeback" gig.
2) Britney & K-Fed Hop Across The Pond - Spears's kids are joining her Circus tour overseas, with Kevin Federline on daddy patrol.
3) A Contract In Black & White? - A music promoter claims Michael Jackson signed a deal that may thwart his London concert plans.
4) Dave Gahan Tries To Shake The Disease - Illness causes the cancellation of several Depeche Mode concerts.
5) A Shady Showdown - A new Mariah-namechecking Eminem song sparks a feud with Nick Cannon.
6) Run For The Hills! - Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag BOTH release new songs this week.
7) 30 Rock Rocks! - Allstars come together for a "We Are The World" spoof on the sitcom's finale.
8) Motherlovin' Good! - A new Justin Timberlake/Andy Samberg skit becomes SNL's latest viral video hit.
9) Bassist Gets In A Jam - Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament is mugged outside the band's Atlanta studio.
10) Boy George Sprung - The Culture Club singer is released from jail.
11) Kajagoogoo Not Too Shy To Tour - They're the latest '80s band to reunite.
12) The Queen Is Dead? - Queen part ways with singer Paul Rodgers.