Once again the King Of Pop continued to reign over the headlines, despite having died four months ago. This week marked the much-hyped release of This Is It--the posthumous documentary chronicling the rehearsals for Michael Jackson's ill-fated London comeback concerts--and the film was roundly praised by critics, fans, and Elizabeth Taylor alike. (The legendary actress and longtime MJ friend glowingly reviewed the movie via her Twitter, bizarrely. Yes, Elizabeth Taylor tweets.)
The film's documentation of a bona fide musical genius at work--surprisingly in fine physical shape and good humor despite ongoing rumors of his ill health, drug use, and erratic behavior in his final days--even earned some early Oscar buzz, not to mention an impressive $20.1 million at worldwide box offices during its first day in theaters alone. If those concerts had actually taken place at London's O2 Arena, we can only imagine how stunning they would have been, judging from This Is It's fantastic footage of Michael Jackson the artist--as opposed to Michael Jackson the tabloid figure.
Speaking of huge, historical concerts, this week Sarah McLachlan announced plans to revive her groundbreaking femme-rock fest Lilith Fair in 2010, and the almighty U2 played for approximately 95,000 people at Pasadena's Rose Bowl stadium in Southern California. Fans all over the globe experienced the U2 gig digitally, as it was the largest streaming event in YouTube history. Despite the fact that Bono later told press that the album format and rock music in general are dying out (his rationale for why U2's latest longplayer, No Line On The Horizon, has been a sales disappointment), rock 'n' roll seemed alive and well that fine Pasadena evening. And it will surely be thriving on November 5 during the MTV Europe Music Awards, when U2 will play a free concert in Berlin to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Viva U2!
Not all veteran touring rockers were having such an easy time of it this week, however. Ex-Smiths legend Morrissey collapsed onstage while performing at the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon, England, and was rushed to the hospital, where he stayed overnight while Moz worshippers across the world held tight to their The Queen Is Dead LPs and prayed for the revered mope-rock icon's swift recovery. Luckily 50-year-old Morrissey was released the next day, although he had to reschedule some dates on his current European "Swords" tour.
Another legend, Bruce Springsteen, experienced a concert tour tragedy when his cousin, 36-year-old Lenny Sullivan, died of unknown causes on Monday afternoon. Lenny was the assistant road manager of the E Street Band, and Bruce canceled a performance in Kansas City after Lenny's body was discovered in a hotel room. Meanwhile, classic rocker Eric Clapton pulled out of this week's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame concert in New York after undergoing gallstone surgery. Fellow guitar god Jeff Beck will take Eric's place, and as of this writing Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band are still scheduled to appear at the event (along with Crosby, Stills & Nash and Stevie Wonder).
We send our well-wishes to Morrissey, Springsteen, Clapton, and their families.
In younger-skewing news, tween stars Miley Cyrus and her ex-beau, Jonas Brother Nick Jonas, both made headlines this week. First Miley was voted worst celebrity influence of 2009 in an AOL poll, with a shocking 42 percent of the votes. (Britney Spears and Kanye West were in second and third place, respectively.) What caused Miley to earn such a bad reputation? Was it her pole-dancing stunt at the Teen Choice Awards? Her relationship with 20-year-old underwear model Justin Gaston? Her anti-Twitter rap? Who knows. It seems like you'd have to do something especially awful, though, to steal first place from the dude who bumrushed Taylor Swift's VMAs speech.
Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers took to their MySpace blog this week to put the kibosh on breakup rumors, after Nick Jonas announced that he had formed a new side-project band called Nick Jonas & the Administration. "We plan to make music together for as long as we can," they assured many anxious tweenage girls. "We've said from the beginning of our career as the Jonas Brothers that anything we do outside of the group is a side-project because you can't break up brothers....We are already planning another world tour AS THE JONAS BROTHERS next summer, and it is all thanks to our amazing fans."
Well, that's a relief. No word if Nick's new band will tour before then, or when the Administration's album will come out.
And finally, speaking of albums coming out...American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert unveiled the cover art for his debut disc For Your Entertainment this week, to decidedly mixed reviews. While some fans appreciated the cover's retro, K-Tel compilation aesthetic, others griped that it looked like cheap fan art and was so over-Photoshopped and over-Maybellined that their Idol was practically unrecognizable. Adam himself defended the cover, claiming that its '70s disco/'80s new wave/Glamour Shots-mall-kiosk vibe was intentional. On his Twitter page, he explained: "Thank you to those who appreciate and understand that the album cover is deliberately campy. It's an homage to the past. It IS ridiculous."
And on that note, we've been here for your entertainment, but now it's time to sign off. Have a happy and safe Halloween weekend, and see you next Friday.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Michael At The Movies - This Is It opens to rave reviews.
2) Judged By His Cover? - Adam Lambert's album art creates controversy.
3) U2 On YouTube - U2 concert is the largest streaming event in YouTube history.
4) Miley's Bad Reputation - Cyrus is voted worst celebrity influence of 2009.
5) Panic On The Streets Of Swindon - Morrissey's onstage concert collapse alarms fans.
6) Springsteen's Family Tragedy - Bruce cancels a concert after his cousin dies.
7) Brothers Up In Arms - The Jonas Brothers deny breakup rumors.
8) Lilith Still Fairest Of Them All - The Lilith Fair fest will return to the road in 2010.
9) Slow-Hand Slowed - Eric Clapton sits out the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame due to gallstone surgery.
10) Mama Do Teach - Madonna returns to Malawi to launch a girls' school.