iHeartRadio Awards: Taylor Swift’s Vindication, Alicia Keys’ Kids, Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Rainbow’ Connection

Read on: Variety.

The iHeartRadio Music Awards show is many people’s favorite awards show of the year, by virtue of lasting only two hours. If it’s not music’s biggest night, it’s music’s shortest, which counts for a lot. But Thursday night’s telecast, broadcast live on…

Backstreet Boys, Ella Mai, Marshmello Added to iHeartRadio Awards Lineup

Read on: Variety.

The lineup for Thursday’s 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards has grown, with the addition of the Backstreet Boys, Ella Mai, Lovelytheband, and Marshmello with special guest Lauv to the two-hour telecast, which will be broadcast live from the Microsoft…

TV Review: ‘Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul’

Read on: Variety.

Booking anyone at all to appear in an Aretha Franklin tribute is an act of nerve, since she was arguably the one performer in pop music history who can be said to have had no real peers as a singer, even in her day, much less ours. With that as a given…

Grammys Draw Almost 20 Million Viewers, But Still Set New All-Time Ratings Low

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sunday’s Grammys on CBS ticked up from last year in total viewers, delivering 19.9 million audience members — but the special still set a new low in the key ratings demo.

Last year’s Grammys drew 19.8 million total viewers, which was down a whopping 24 percent from 2017. That one averaged a then-record low 5.9 rating among adults 18-49.

This one received a 5.6 rating in the key demo, down 5 percent from the prior year. It is certainly not unusual for an awards show to see its ratings decline year over year in the current TV landscape — the viewer growth is a win.

The 2009 Grammys still have the lowest viewer total ever, with 19 million.

Also Read: J Lo’s Salsa-Dancing Motown Tribute at the Grammys Gets Diced Up on Twitter

Last night’s primetime returns represent the biggest audience and best demo tallies for any non-sports and non-Super Bowl Sunday programming of the 2018-19 broadcast season.

CBS also had Super Bowl LIII, and used the post-show time slot to launch its James Corden-hosted response to “America’s Got Talent,” “The World’s Best.” That launch did well, though the talent show’s regular time slot premiere did not.

Corden, by the way, hosted last year’s Grammys. Alicia Keys emceed 2019’s, which was the 61st annual celebration.

Also Read: Grammys Creep Up From Last Year in Early Ratings

Finally, CBS says this year’s Grammys “experienced double-digit growth in unique viewers and time spent on CBS All Access.”

See how Music’s Biggest Night (2019) fared in the earliest-available Nielsen numbers here. And click here to see how the rest of broadcast television did last night.

The 2018 Grammys aired two weeks earlier on the calendar than last night’s show.

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Grammy Awards: A Kendrick Lamar Performance and 17 Other Things You Didn’t See on TV

Grammy Awards Analysis: Women Seize the Spotlight, But Kendrick Lamar Still Can’t Catch a Break

Grammy Awards: A Kendrick Lamar Performance and 17 Other Things You Didn’t See on TV

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you watched the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, you saw lots of stuff: 18 musical performances, for instance, involving 37 different performers and four dozen different songs, spread out over three hours and 40 minutes.

And if you were paying close attention, you might have even noticed that the Recording Academy gave out a few awards, too.

But you didn’t see it all. Like every awards show, the Grammys keeps a few secrets known only to those who are in the room — in this case, the cavernous Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. And while Staples is such an enormous and problematic venue that you probably did see more from home, here are a few things you might have missed.

Also Read: Grammy Awards 2019: Complete Winners List

4:30 p.m. PT — As is typical for an awards show, bars are open inside the Staples Center. But so are the usual concession stands in the arena, which more typically hosts basketball games and concerts. That might make this the only black-tie awards show with a Wetzel’s Pretzel stand in the lobby.

4:40 — Oops, the Wetzel’s Pretzel stand has closed. So have all the other concession stands, part of a Recording Academy conspiracy to get everybody out of the lobby and into their seats by the time the show begins at 5 p.m. PT. (Never mind that the mood lighting inside the arena makes it hard to find your seat and impossible to read the hefty 248-page program they hand you on the way in.)

4:55 –Grammy show producer Ken Ehrlich comes on stage and tells the crowd, “We’re very happily back on our home turf and in our favorite venue, Staples Center.” (Last year’s Grammys were held at Madison Square Garden, a considerably more expensive and logistically complicated venue.)

He asks the winners to keep their speeches short, and then tells the crowd to sit down — “but later, you can get up for these people if you feel like it.”

5:00 — Camila Cabello opens the show with a number that’s so extravagant, on a set that encompasses so much of the huge Staples Center stage, that she gets a couple of verses deep into “Havana” before much of the live audience can figure out where she is on the stage. It doesn’t help that the video screens on either side of the stage are relatively small, and tend to show wide shots.

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5:10 — Alicia Keys brings out a quartet of friends: Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Michele Obama. As soon as the former First Lady begins to speak, the crowd erupts in applause — not because they’ve been waiting for her to speak, but because from a distance they couldn’t tell who she was until she begins talking and gets a closeup on the screens.

5:20 — Kendrick Lamar rips through a fiery number on the Staples Center stage.

But no, Lamar hasn’t reconsidered his decision not to show up or perform on the show. Instead, the Grammys are using the commercial breaks to show performances from past shows on the screens, starting with Lamar’s performance of “Alright” from the 2016 Grammys.

5:25 — Nina Dobrev, star of the new CBS series “Fam,” comes to the stage to near total indifference from the crowd. But the stage contains two pits full of extras who were brought in to enthusiastically applaud for everybody — and they’re closest to Dobrev and closest to the cameras, so for all viewers know she’s being greeted warmly.

Also Read: Grammy Awards Analysis: Women Seize the Spotlight, But Kendrick Lamar Still Can’t Catch a Break

5:30 — In the middle of Kacey Musgraves’ gentle performance of “Rainbow” on one side of the stage, dancers for Janelle Monae’s upcoming performance mount a riser on the other side of the stage and begin stretching.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

5:48 — Post Malone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform on one side of the Staples stage. At least it sounds like them, so the audience takes it on faith that they’re up there. In truth, the Grammys’ preferred method of stage lighting — harsh and dramatic back lights on the performers- – essentially blinds much of the live audience and makes it impossible to actually see who’s on stage.

In other words, it’s slowly dawning on the 15,000 of us who aren’t among the stars in the first 20 or so rows that we are mere props, and it doesn’t really matter how well we can see or hear.

5:59 — Dolly Parton joins Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry on stage as part of a tribute to, well, Dolly Parton. She gets the first (partial) standing ovation of the night.

6:55 — Drake wins the Grammy for Best Rap Song and the show cuts off his acceptance speech immediately after he points out that awards aren’t all that important. Afterward, the show producers approach Drake backstage and say they thought he had finished his speech. They offer to let him return to the stage and complete the speech. According to a spokesperson for the Recording Academy, Drake declined.

7:07 — During the commercial break after her performance, Diana Ross slowly makes her way off the small satellite stage in the middle of the arena, up the center aisle, onto the main stage and down a set of stairs at the back of the stage. At every stage of her journey, she gets a big round of applause from those she passes.

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7:09 — As Ross leaves, a bleacher full of fans with a view of the backstage area erupts in screams as they watch her go. A minute later, they erupt in another round of screams as they see Lady Gaga walk toward the stage.

7:11 — Once again, harsh backlighting makes Lady Gaga almost invisible to much of the audience as she sings an arty, power-ballad version of “Shallow.” “C’mon, sing it!” she urges the crowd when she gets to the chorus. Almost no one does.

7:20 — During a break, director Louis J. Horvitz comes on the P.A. system and tells the audience, “Please clear the center aisle. We have an incredible performance coming up, and there’s going to be a lot of activity in the aisle. We don’t want anybody getting hurt.” The activity turns out to be dozens of athletic hip-hop kids running toward the stage to join Travis Scott in a performance of “No Bystanders.”

7:54 — Brandi Carlile sings “The Joke,” fighting a bad case of nerves until she looks out in the audience and spots Janelle Monae standing up with what Carlile says is “total peace” on her face.

“I lost all my nervousness and just sang it to her,” Carlile says in the press room afterward. By the end of the song, guests throughout the lower sections of Staples Center have jumped to their feet in the closest thing to a full standing ovation on the show.

Also Read: Michelle Obama’s Grammys Remarks Drowned Out by Audience Applause

8:10 — During the commercial break moments after Cardi B becomes the first woman to win the Grammy for Best Rap Album, a woman collapses on the stage. Show staffers surround her and slowly get her to her feet and off the stairs before the show begins again.

8:40 — The show shifts from wall-to-wall performances to back-to-back awards, as Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” wins Record of the Year and then Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” wins Album of the Year.

With the show well past the three-and-a-half hour mark (and that doesn’t even count the hours of pre-show awards handed out across the street at the Microsoft Theatre), large chunks of the audience head for the exit as soon as Musgraves’ name is announced, and well before she gets to the stage.

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Grammy Awards Analysis: Women Seize the Spotlight, But Kendrick Lamar Still Can’t Catch a Break

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The 61st Grammy Awards was a night on which a hip-hop song won Song of the Year for the first time ever, a night when the boycotting Childish Gambino also won Record of the Year, and a night when Kacey Musgraves became the latest artist to beat Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year.

But above all, perhaps, it was a night when women stepped up on stage — as a Grammy host, Grammy performers and Grammy winners.

It’s not a coincidence that this happened one year after Recording Academy President Neil Portnow caused a post-Grammys stink by suggesting that women needed to “step up.” On this night, the Grammys paid more than lip service to the idea of female empowerment — or, at least, the idea of rewarding and spotlighting female artists.

Also Read: Grammy Awards 2019: Complete Winners List

On Sunday, the performances were heavily weighted toward female artists, host Alicia Keys consistently sounded the drumbeat for equality and the biggest ovations went to grand divas Dolly Parton and Diana Ross and relative newcomer Brandi Carlile — as well as surprise guest Michelle Obama.

And the voters leaned toward women, not just with Musgraves winning the final award of the night, but also with the winning albums in the country, rap, R&B and pop vocal fields coming from Musgraves, Cardi B, H.E.R. and Ariana Grande, respectively.

The keynote performance of the night, it seemed, was a whispered interlude by St. Vincent and Dua Lipa, who quietly intoned a refrain borrowed from Aretha Franklin: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

And when Dua Lipa won Best New Artist a few minutes later, the pointed nature of her comment was unmistakable: “I guess we stepped up.”

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Portnow, who is retiring later this year, took the stage himself after the ensuing commercial break, and made his own call for social change — which, in the recording industry, needs to involve an enormous number of recording jobs behind the scenes, in which women are extraordinarily scarce.

(One small step: Beck’s album “Colors” won in the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical category — and for the first time ever, a female mastering engineer, Emily Lazar, shared in the award.)

But while gender occupied center stage at this year’s Grammys, the same old story played out when it came to Kendrick Lamar.

Lamar, along with Drake and Childish Gambino, had declined to perform at this year’s Grammys, no doubt tired of years of winning in the rap categories and then losing in the prestige categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

So he stayed home on Sunday, even though the “Black Panther” soundtrack he’d overseen and masterminded was considered one of the front runners in the album category.

Also Read: Michelle Obama’s Grammys Remarks Drowned Out by Audience Applause

And sure enough, “Black Panther” lost to Musgraves’ “Golden Hour,” just as Lamar’s landmark albums “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “DAMN.” had lost to Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars, respectively. (And back in 2013, his “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” had lost to Daft Punk, although that Lamar album was never considered a favorite in the category.)

The difference this year is that while Lamar was shut out in the Grammys’ general-field categories, hip-hop was not. Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won Song of the Year, the first time a hip-hop song had ever captured that award, and added Record of the Year as well. Like Lamar, Gambino (the stage name of actor-director Donald Glover) opted neither to perform nor to attend, so he wasn’t on hand to accept those awards.

So even on a night when his musical genre made some significant inroads on the Grammys, Lamar still couldn’t catch a break. Good luck getting the guy to show up and perform on the Grammys’ big show next time he’s nominated, Recording Academy.

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Then again, the Academy might have nobody to blame but themselves, because the “Black Panther” loss could also have been a victim of the Grammys’ expansion of the top categories from five to eight nominees.

When the Motion Picture Academy expanded its Best Picture category, it also changed the way the vote was counted to prevent a film from winning with too small a percentage of the total vote. But the Grammys did not — and with eight nominees in Album, of the Year, six of which fall vaguely in the R&B/hip-hop field, they may have set up a situation in which the two albums that don’t fall into that genre, Musgraves’ and Brandi Carlilie’s, had an advantage because they were only splitting the vote two ways, not six ways.

Still, Sunday’s show wasn’t about vote-splitting or Kendrick-snubbing.

As Neil Portnow knows, his last show as head of the Recording Academy was about some people stepping up and others stepping out of the way.

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The Movers and Shakers That Put the Rhythm in R&B

Read on: Variety.

Following are the top music industry companies and executives that are part of the R&B resurgence: Atlantic Records Atlantic Records played a huge role in bringing the original rhythm and blues to the mainstream in the 1950s and ’60s, and it’s carr…

Hollywood Shows Up In Full Force To Support “Families Belong Together” Immigration Rallies Across The Nation

Read on: Deadline.

Hollywood did not come to play as A-listers joined the masses for Families Belong Together rallies all across the nation. From New York City to Los Angeles, the immigration march comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s policy of separatin…

Laura Dern, Lin-Manuel Miranda, America Ferrera Among Stars at Rallies to Protest Trump Immigration Policy

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Superstore” star America Ferrera, “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda and R&B star Alicia Keys were among the big-name stars who joined the thousands of protesters who gathered on Saturday to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policy

In dozens of cities across the country, protesters gathered at various “Families Belong Together” marches to protest the administration’s zero-tolerance policy to detain and separate unauthorized migrant parents from their children attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I am here not only as a brand new mother, as the proud child of Honduran immigrants and not only an American who sees it as her duty to be here defending justice,” Ferrera said at the gathering in Washington D.C. “I am here as a human being with a beating heart, who can feel pain, who understands compassion and who can easily imagine what it must feel like to struggle the way families are struggling right now.”

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“This fight does not belong to one group of people, one color of people, one race of people, one gender — it belongs to all of us. What makes humans remarkable is our capacity to imagine. We have an imagination, let’s use it,” she said.

America Ferrera reads a letter from a grandfather fighting to sponsor his granddaughter: “I want you to imagine that this is your child, that you are this grandfather.” (via CBS) pic.twitter.com/Dk0wlGPMjD

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 30, 2018

Keys also delivered a speech at the rally, accompanied by her 7-year-old son. “Our democracy is at stake. Our humanity is at stake. We are out here to save the soul of our nation,” she said.

Miranda sang a lullaby rendition of the “Hamilton” song “Dear Theodosia,” which he dedicated to the children who were separated from their parents and detained after crossing into the U.S.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is singing a lullaby for children separated from their parents pic.twitter.com/csctFNjR5T

— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) June 30, 2018

We’re not backing down. #familiesbelongtogether

A post shared by America Ferrera (@americaferrera) on

Other Hollywood notables who showed up in marches across the country included “Big Little Lies” star Laura Dern, “Orange Is the New Black’s” Diane Guerrero and Alysia Reiner, Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, Padma Lakshmi and Chrissy Teigen.

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Love wins @lauradern #girlpower???? #familiesbelongtogether r

A post shared by Lea Thompson (@lea_thompson) on


A post shared by @ lauradern on

God bless you, San Francisco. Thank you for turning out, standing up, and speaking out. #FamiliesBelongTogether @MoveOn pic.twitter.com/cyrNwN3Euo

— Kerry O’Malley (@TheKerryOMalley) June 30, 2018

WATCH: Actress @dianeguerrero__ took the stage Saturday at D.C.’s #FamiliesBelongTogether rally to share her own experience of family separation and demand change for the children being “irreversibly damaged” at the border. https://t.co/8pa8893VAT pic.twitter.com/5sizytvHZt

— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) June 30, 2018

???????????????????????????????????????? @kerrywashington @alysiareiner @amyschumer #FamiliesBelongTogether pic.twitter.com/13TGeDlb8L

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 30, 2018

There are 600+ #FamiliesBelongTogether events happening TOMORROW. I’ll be speaking and introducing @johnlegend in downtown LA. Text BELONG to 97779 to join. Find an event near you this weekend: https://t.co/j7ifhy0e1c #FreeFamilies

— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) June 30, 2018

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11 Songs You Didn’t Realize Prince Wrote, From ‘Manic Monday’ to ‘Stand Back’ (Videos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Prince was a Rennaissance Man, a musical superstar who had a hand in far more than just the songs you know him for.
“Manic Monday” by The Bangles
Prince wrote this track for Apollonia 6 in 1984, but decided to hold onto it. Two years later …