Posts By Jonathan Durbin

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American Idol: David Cook Covers . . . Chris Cornell?

cornell.jpgLast Tuesday night, American Idol contestant David Cook gave a rousing — if also melancholic — rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” While that’s not exactly news in itself, the judges’ comments were. The trio praised Cook for his originality in rearranging the composition. The trouble is that Cook was covering Chris Cornell‘s version of the song as it appeared on the latter’s second solo album, Carry On — as was clearly stated by Ryan Seacrest before Cook began performing. The Seattle rock luminary and former Soundgarden frontman reinterpreted the Thriller classic as a much darker song; Cook followed Cornell’s version note for note. (Cornell’s version has seen a massive sales jump on iTunes in the days since.) We caught up with Cornell to ask him about what he thought of Cook’s version.

VH1: Your fans seemed to be outraged with David Cook. Can you talk about their response?
Chris Cornell:
They were angry because they felt like the judges were giving David Cook credit for coming up with the idea — reinventing the song in a rock format — and didn’t seem to know that it was taken from somewhere else.

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90210 Watch: Tori Spelling Wants a Piece

torispelling.jpgAs the CW’s plans for teen-soap world domination continue unabated, former 90210 star Tori Spelling has decided she’d like a piece of the action on the network’s remake. She’s previously explained her desire to play a MILF on the show, and now she’d like to have a full-on role. The actress told People: “Playing the funny sex ed teacher at the high school would be funny . . . considering Donna Martin was America’s most infamous virgin.” We’re all for it! Donna Martin graduates! While your at it, CW executives, why not ask Jason Priestley to be the hockey coach and have Emily Valentine back to teach fire safety? For those of you dying to know how the new show’s going to play out, here’s a handy article that explains the new characters. The upshot is that the new kids pretty much resemble the old kids, with a few notable differences, not least of which is that the Brenda-type character is the sister of the Dylan-type character. Incest is gross, CW, no matter how you try to spin it.

[Link via Dlisted]

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First Look: Miss Rap Supreme

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Coming soon to a television set near you: ego trip’s Miss Rap Supreme. The series picks up where The (White) Rapper Show left off, in which 10 women compete to become the next great female MC. The hosts are MCs Serch and Yo-Yo, and the women, at least in the photograph above, look like they’re going to bring plenty of attitude. Actually, we’re expecting the most attitude from Khia, who made a name for herself with the single off her 2002 release, Thug Misses. The song was titled “My Neck, My Back (Lick It),” the chorus of which went, “My neck, my back/ lick my pussy and my crack.” Looks like someone’s begging for a shot at Charm School. Take a look at the cast above, and tune in April 14 for the premiere.

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Idol Chit-Chat With Jordin Sparks

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Last season on American Idol, Jordin Sparks became the youngest winner in the show’s history. The 17-year-old had originally been turned away when she auditioned in Los Angeles, but followed that up by winning Arizona Idol, a Fox affiliate-sponsored competition, which guaranteed her a place at the try-outs in Seattle. The lesson? Never let a little thing like defeat get you down. Sparks went on to win the competition without ever being in the bottom two or three, and released her self-titled debut last November. The record featured a variety of popular songs, including “This Is My Now” and “No Air,” on which she sings alongside nascent R&B heartthrob Chris Brown. We caught up with Sparks over e-mail to ask her about Chris Brown, this season’s Idol contestants and whether or not she had any tips for performing in front of the judges. Interview after the jump.

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What Perez Sez About Reality TV Stars


That’s right, the self-proclaimed Queen of All Media is back tonight with a brand-new show. In it, Perez Hilton meets a variety of television’s reality stars. He gets to hang with Hills honeys Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, asking them how they really feel about Lauren Conrad. He crashes New York Fashion Week to harangue Project Runway judge and Elle magazine editor Nina Garcia, America’s Next Top Model judge Miss J. Alexander, and Baby Phat’s Kimora Lee Simmons. He even tries his luck at love with Bret Michaels. Whether or not Bret is amenable, we can’t say. But the two seem to share a similar focus on their hair, so anything’s possible. The world’s best known blogger will address these concerns and many, many more. (Want to see Perez arm-wrestle Chyna? Now’s your chance!) What Perez Sez About Reality TV Stars is on tonight at 10 p.m. (EST). In the meantime, click here to see the famous folks he’ll be smack-talking with.

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Harold & Kumar 2, Abridged & Swear-riffic

The culture vultures at NYMag.com point to a very not-safe-for-work video (above), which is composed of scenes from the most heavily anticipated motion picture of all time: Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. In the film, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are arrested on suspicion of terrorism and sent to America’s vacation destination for evil-doers. The clip above condenses the film into only the parts that involve swearing. If you were worried about Harold and Kumar becoming family-friendly, rest assured they are not. They are, in fact, family-unfriendly. And so is Neil Patrick Harris!

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Come As He Was: Cobain’s Shoes for Converse

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The good news? The new line of Kurt Cobain-inspired Converse sneakers is the first time the late singer’s estate has ever collaborated with a brand. Considering Cobain’s choice of footwear, it’s an appropriate one. The bad news? It’s not in the best of taste. The Nirvana front man was — very famously, in case you’ve forgotten — discovered dead while wearing a pair of Converse sneakers. At the time, the image of Cobain’s splayed feet came to represent the end not only of the singer, but also an era in American music and culture. Now that we fetishize these momentos and totems of rock ‘n’ roll become increasingly untethered from their original contexts (have you been to a Hard Rock Cafe lately?), not to mention musicians who use their celebrity as an opportunity to diversify into different fields to both hedge against their inevitable irrelevance and maximize their media exposure (where are the Kanye West sneakers, we’d like to know), such partnerships are absolutely run-of-the-mill. Thing is, you’d have to be a pretty depressing kid to own a pair of these suckers, we think. And if you’re an adult, clearly there’s a problem. For reference, see Jason Bateman’s character in Juno.

[Via Nirvana Club]

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90210 Returns, Peach Pit Set For Renovations

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While that headline might be another example of our penchant for hyperbole, the development geniuses at the CW have made us very happy today, announcing that they’re in the early stages of bringing back . . . wait for it . . . Beverly Hills 90210. They’ve already brought us the most entertaining teen soap ever in Gossip Girl (sorry, O.C.), which not only has introduced a whole generation of Teen Vogue readers to young women other than Rihanna and Lauren Conrad, but has also piqued interest coast-to-coast in the daily doings of Manhattan’s super-wealthy teens. Apparently they’re planning the same sort of take-over in L.A. No word as yet what, exactly, the new 90210 will entail, or whether any of the original cast members will be on the show, but it’s sure to be entertaining. We’d really like to see Brandon and Brenda Walsh, Dylan McKay, Kelly Taylor, Donna Martin and David Silver (and, sigh, Andrea Zuckerman, we guess) as they are now, in their mid 30s, struggling with early onset midlife crises, but maybe that’s just us. As soon as we know more, we’ll let you know.

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Will Arnett, Funnier and Funnier

Yesterday we showed you how Will Arnett (who, in another life, is funnylady Amy Poehler’s husband) and Human Giant get along in the bedroom. Today we’re showing you how the former Arrested Development star gets along on the red carpet — at the premiere of his new movie, Horton Hears a Who. He explains to VH1 News exclusively that a) American Psycho is his favorite book by Dr. Seuss and that b) he can’t read. Never would have guessed! Maybe that explains why he signed the contract for Let’s Go to Prison?

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Janet’s Sick, So SNL Enlists Mariah

mariah.jpgSad news, Janet Jackson lovers: The Discipline pop star has dropped out of performing on Saturday Night Live this weekend because she’s sick with the flu. In her place, Lorne Michaels and team have drafted Mariah Carey, who, considering her recent video with Jack McBrayer, probably has the better sense of humor. Not that humor is necessarily a factor in SNL‘s choice of musical guests (although Paul Simon dressed up like a turkey was particularly memorable, as was Queens of the Stone Age‘s performance with Will Ferrell), but Mariah’s sense of kitsch ought to compliment the inevitable jokes about Eliot Spitzer, rising oil prices, potential war with Iran, and penises. We predict a penis joke or two because Superbad and Knocked Up star Jonah Hill is the host. For those of you who haven’t seen Superbad, just know the following: Mr. Hill is a rather notable proponent of penis-funnies. Too bad for Janet. She would have enjoyed this one, we think. After the jump, please find a trailer for Superbad 2: Super Worse.

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