Can the NEW American Idol Create Another Star?

American Idol Judges, Season 10 (http://americanidol.com)

Last night, new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler showed that they are qualified for their positions. But, the new judges are not the only changes made to the tenth season of America’s search for a superstar—American Idol. The show changed its age requirements by lowering it to 15 years. The show will also throw out the gender parity rule; when they get the top 10/12, it will be based on talent only. With a larger group of eligible candidates and a record number of auditions, can Idol bring us another superstar?

Jennifer Lopez is known as a triple threat as a singer, dancer, and actress. She mentioned, during the premiere, that she has been watching the show for ten years. She came in knowing what she was coming into. Lopez is a very successful singer who has worked with many industry heavy-hitters and has sold over 55 million albums.

Steven Tyler, front man of Aerosmith, has also joined the judging panel. He wanted to be a part of American Idol so he can help young hopefuls realize their dreams. As part of one of the most successful American rock bands, Tyler is no stranger to the music industry, selling over 155 million albums with Aerosmith.

The new panel has great chemistry, which has not been apparent in the past few seasons. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lopez stated, “We’re a more collaborative judging group… We just have a totally different style than any of the past judging tables.” So far, Jennifer seems to be the nice judge who wants to give everyone a chance, but she can get down to the truth when there really is nothing they can do for them. Steven has shown himself as a class-clown type of judge. When he doesn’t know what to say, he turns to a joke. Randy has taken a more serious, and less “dog”, role as the anchor of the judging table.

So far, the auditions have been pretty mediocre. Hopefully on night two of the Season premiere there will be someone with a big voice and amazing energy. Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX.

CURRENT FAVORITES: Robbie Rosen and Melinda Ademi

Band Takes Advantage of Social Media to Promote New Album

Photo: Christine Marie (http://www.socialdistortion.com)

Social Distortion, a rock ‘n roll quartet from Orange County, Ca., is releasing their new album, Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes, on January 18, 2011. The first track, “Road Zombie” is pure music; no voices at all. The track shows that the members truly appreciate music for what it is and aren’t in the business for the fame or to perform the catchiest tune ever created. It sets the tone for the entire album and lets the listener know that they are about to experience: quality music that goes deep into the member’s souls.

If you want to get a great deal on some quality tracks, this is the ideal opportunity. They have an agreement with Amazon.com to reduce the price of the album. For every 100,000 streams, Amazon.com will reduce the album price by $1.00. Each time you listen to a song counts as a stream, so listen as much as you like; the more you listen, the less the album will cost.

Listen here: http://www.voxbloc.com/share/social-distortion-album-stream. Be sure to share the link on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter to get more streams!

Full album review to come!

Introducing, Fame Fifteen

We,  at More Than Listening, love to see our favorite bands and artists succeed; this is  our way of helping them in the promotions department.  Fame Fifteen is an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to shine.  If you are looking for new music, we have new artists for you to check out.There will be a new Fame Fifteen Focus post on the 15th of each month. We will give them their fifteen minutes of fame, here on MTL.

To read all the Fame Fifteen posts, click on “F15” in the “Browse by Category” widget to the right.

If you would like to nominate an artist or band as a Fame Fifteen Focus, you can leave a comment on this page or click here for more options.  *All artists must have an online presence to be considered (Facebook, MySpace, Youtube, etc.)

Parents Still Don’t Understand?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

In an interview with Yahoo! Music, Willow Smith states that there is a possibility that she may cover her father’s song “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. Willow has been very secretive about the content of her songs or what influences them. She reveals that all of her songs will have a positive message like her first single, “Whip My Hair”.

A song about how parents don’t understand the life of a teenager doesn’t seem to fit Willow’s style or message. This is especially true when you are reminded that she is only ten years old. However, as some of you may remember a 12-year-old Lil’ Romeo teamed up with Nick Cannon and 3LW to remake the song in 2001 for the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius movie. Romeo starts the song in a child’s perspective school shopping and Nick chimes in for a teen point of view when he takes his mom’s car.

The 2001 version created a whole new life for the extremely-late-80’s song. By including female voices, the song has a whole new sound. The combination of artists makes the song appealing to more people: Lil’ Romeo fans, Nick Cannon Fans, and 3LW fans. If Willow remakes the song, she would have to completely reinvent the song or collaborate with an older artist (possibly one or both of her brothers).

Covering a song can be hit or miss. The original 1988 version by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince had a specific sound and will always have a standing as the original. The 2001 version added more fun and let a new generation relate to the song. I don’t think it was an improvement, but it definitely reinvented it and brought the song back into the spotlight. It may have just sent more people looking for Smith’s version though. A 2011/12 Willow Smith version would need to be more fun than the original, with an up-tempo dance beat and a child’s perspective.

Personally, I think it would be a bad move for her to cover the song. However cute it may be, the second the song starts playing it would get compared to the original. Coming from a famous family, people probably compare her to her parents and siblings enough already. The song would just be another reason to compare her to her father and could be a death sentence for her career.

Do you think Willow can improve upon her father’s 1988 smash hit?

MTL’s New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable New Year’s celebration whether you were in Times Square, your parent’s living room, or a night club. Everyone knows about New Year’s resolutions—many people make them, but few stick to them. I have made a New Year’s Resolution for More Than Listening…

If you look to the right, you may notice a new Social Vibe widget. Social Vibe has helped many charitable organizations raise money for their respective causes. A few years ago, I heard about Invisible Children and wanted to do anything I could to help out. IC is a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of the abduction of child soldiers, by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, in northern Uganda and the surrounding areas. Invisible Children holds events to raise money, increase awareness, and promote peace.

In April, 2009, I participated in an event called “The Rescue” where supporters went on a symbolic walk to a “displacement camp”. I spent three days in a park in Baltimore because we were staying there until someone rescued us—like the children have to do. To be rescued, we needed a media outlet and a celebrity or public figure to come and support the cause. On the second day, a news crew came to cover our story, but we could not get a public figure until the next day. Some celebrities who rescued cities are Pete Wentz in Washington, D.C. and Oprah Winfrey in Chicago, Ill.

MTL’s New Year’s resolution is to raise 100 hours of school fees for a Ugandan child. I hope we can accomplish this in the month of January. If not, I will still be proud of anything this blog and its readers could contribute. Please, click to help each time you visit MTL.

For more about Invisible Children, visit www.invisiblechildren.com.

Experience the Fireworks with Katy Perry

Katy Perry is the first female artist to have three consecutive singles reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in eleven years—for this, she should be proud. She should also be proud that the music video for her single “Firework” is one of the most effective videos this year. This song is an empowerment anthem with beautiful imagery.

In the video, there are seemingly unrelated people going about their lives, a little isolated from the world. These characters are everyday people who are going through things that distance them from their “normal” lives, whether it is an illness, negative body image, or insecurity about sexual orientation. The video shows each character break past his or her barriers and show the world his or her true colors.

The child battling cancer is no longer confined to the hospital. The self-conscious girl strips off her clothes and jumps into the fun (the pool) with her friends. The young man afraid to open up about his sexuality walks across the room and kisses a guy with no inhibitions. As the characters step past their boundaries, their chests start to spark and they let their “colors burst”.

By the end of the video, everyone has fireworks shooting from their chests because they are not worrying about what people think or what is holding them back from living their lives. The fireworks are symbols for hope, tolerance, and that special spark everyone has inside. The video shows that everyone is special and should be proud to be themselves—definitely worth watching again.

Merry Christmas from MTL!

More Than Listening would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Some of our favorite bands have released new holiday tracks.  As a treat, you will find links to those holiday songs below for you to download for FREE!

“Keep Me Warm” by The Downtown Fiction

“Love This Holiday” by New County

“Paper and Pen” by Rocky Loves Emily

“Won’t Say Goodbye” by Honor Society— not a holiday song, but still FREE

As a gift to us, please tell your friends about MTL by tweeting about @morethanlisten, sharing a story on facebook, or just showing them the site. Thanks for the support!

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