Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

R.I.P. Patrice O’Neal (1969-2011)

Terrible news to pass along this afternoon. Patrice O’Neal, comedian and former host of VH1′s Web Junk 20, passed away last night at the age of 41. As we told you back in October, Patrice had suffered a stroke, which was reportedly diabetes-related, and was never able to recover.

The news broke via the Twitter account of radio host Gregg “Opie” Hughes, who was very close to Patrice and also broke the original news of his stroke back in October. His tweet simply read, “Yes it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker i’ve ever known PERIOD. #devastated”

Everyone here in the VH1 family is also devastated by the loss of one of the warmest and funniest people we have ever had the pleasure of working with, and we’d like to send our thoughts and prayers to Patrice’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul Preview: Jennifer Hudson

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul is set to premiere on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET. That day is a full month and some change away, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not already doing backflips of excitement about this year’s lineup, which will feature Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and Jennifer Hudson. Regarding the latter, we’re excited to reveal this new promo image of the Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer/actress J. Hud! We haven’t heard any advance word about what songs she’s planning on performing that night, but seeing as how one of the featured soul-music capitals we’ll be spotlighting is her hometown of Chicago, we’re sure she’s got some exciting tricks up her sleeve about how to best honor the rich musical legacy of the Windy City.

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will air exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT. Stay tuned to these pages for more updates as they come in!

RELATED: VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul On December 19 With Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson And More [VH1 Blog]

by (@unclegrambo)

Win A Trip To See VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul In New York City!

This year’s lineup for VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul is outstanding, and we’re fully confident that you’re going to love seeing the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson and Jessie J perform when the special airs on VH1 on Monday, December 19. However, wouldn’t it be even better if you were there seeing it live and in person?

Well, let us be the first to tell you that that person could be you! We’re excited to announce our 2011 VH1 DIVAS Tweetstakes, which is open today through November 23. Entering could not be any easier: Simply tweet a message about who you think has “real” soul to @VH1 and include the hashtag #VH1DIVAS and you’ll be entered in the contest, where we’ll eventually choose a winner at random. Yes, really, it’s as easy as that! Now, get those thumbs warmed up and start tweetin’.

(For those of you who delight in reading legalese, here’s the complete list of rules.)

by (@unclegrambo)

Michael Jackson’s This Is It Makes Its World Broadcast Premiere On Monday, November 7

We’re only four days away from the World Broadcast Premiere of Michael Jackson‘s This Is It, which will air at 9 p.m ET/PT on Monday, November 7 only on VH1. This 2009 documentary film captured MJ as he was preparing for his 50 night stand at London’s O2 Arena, a tour that sadly never came to fruition after Jackson’s untimely passing in June of 2009. Thankfully, though, cameras were rolling during MJ’s extensive rehearsals, which gave fans one last opportunity to experience the magic of his performances and help cope with his tragic loss. Roger Ebert called This Is It an “extraordinary documentary,” and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described it as an “incredibly intimate look at one of the greatest performers the world has ever seen.”

Monday night’s VH1 Rock Docs presentation of This Is It will be the first time that this unforgettable film has aired on broadcast television. Stay tuned for more Michael Jackson-related content over the next few days, and be sure to follow all the action on Twitter using the hashtag #MJThisIsIt. Don’t forget to tune in on Monday, November 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT to pay witness to the majesty of the King Of Pop in celluloid form.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Five Things We Didn’t Know About Coldplay Until We Interviewed Them

Coldplay‘s Mylo Xyloto sold 447,000 copies in the United States last week, which puts it squarely atop this week’s Billboard album charts. The British foursome was able to top future VH1 Unplugged star Kelly Clarkson‘s release of Stronger, which moved an impressive 163,000 units. Coldplay’s sales figures look even more impressive when you consider that this is the strongest first week sales total for a rock act since U2 released No Line On The Horizon back in March of 2009.

VH1 News correspondent Kate Spencer was able to grab some quality face time with Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and drummer Will Champion in Los Angeles recently, a revealing interview in which these gents discuss a variety of topics ranging from how they chose the producers of Mylo Xyloto to why the Haters always keep them striving to achieve more.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Chris Brown’s Halloween Costume (Unfortunately) Leaves Little To The Imagination

Chris Brown has become such a lightning rod for controversy that he can turn even the most innocuous of situations into something sinister. Take his Halloween costume, for example — while most people were out trick-or-treating last night, Chris Brown was taking TwitPics of his version of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia‘s Green Man. Needless to say, anyone who sees his full, extremely NSFW Halloween costume, will no doubt have nightmares tonight.
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by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: The Top 10 Videos To Get You In The Trick-or-Treating Mood

Each week here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown on Saturday morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

Jim Shearer

Jim Shearer

Halloween is tonight, but if you’re not an adolescent kid daydreaming of packing your pillowcase full of Snickers bars, you’ll probably be out and about looking to celebrate. While you’re stepping into your costume, click on these music videos that will surely entertain the ghoulish music fan within you:

10) Peaches, “Trick Or Treat”
If you’re familiar with Peaches, then you know this trick-or-treating party is for adults only.

9) Lady Gaga, “Telephone”
It’s always Halloween in Gaga’s world; soda cans in her hair only confirms it!

8) Michael Jackson, “Thriller”
I guess I had to include this one, huh?

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by (@unclegrambo)

O Music Awards 2 Headliner Robyn Explains Why She Loves The Internet

The O Music Awards are set to go down on Monday night—yes, Halloween night!—beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 PT. We couldn’t possibly be any more psyched that the Swedish pop goddess Robyn agreed to headline the second incarnation of this new awards show, and for her, the decision to participate in this event was a no-brainer. “I reach almost all my fans through the Internet,” she explained to us earlier this week. “I mean, I’m not played on the radio. I reach them through the Internet, and when I play shows.”

Well, considering this particular show will be broadcast LIVE on the Internet, that’s a double win for Robyn and her fans! Don’t forget, you can (and should!) watch the O Music Awards 2 by going to omusicawards.com at 11:30 p.m. ET on Monday, October 31. But if you visit the site over the weekend, you’ll still have time to vote for your fave artists in categories like Fan Army FTW, Best Web-Born Artist and many, many more!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Sneak Preview: Kelly Clarkson Gets Sassy On VH1 Unplugged

Kelly Clarkson VH1 Unplugged

“Did I just do that [song] Erin Brockovich style?”

It’s just seconds after Kelly Clarkson has wrapped the first track of her five song VH1 Unplugged set when she peers down at her chest, wondering if one of her breasts managed to sneak its way out of her red bandage dress during her performance, just like what happened to the titular heroine of the film that won Julia Roberts an Academy Award back in 2000. Well, spoiler alert, it didn’t, but this near wardrobe malfunction gave Kelly the inspiration for some of the most playful between-song banter that we’ve heard in quite some time during the show’s taping in New York City earlier this afternoon.

VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson will be debuting exclusively on VH1.com at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, November 17, which will be followed up the next night with the show’s on-air premiere. We don’t want to give too much about the show away at this juncture, as we’d rather you be able to experience it fresh through your own eyes and ears. That said, we will say this — Kelly looked positively radiant throughout her set, thanks in no small part to her smoky eyes, make-you-melt-in-your-boots eyelashes, sun-kissed hair and, of course, that stunning red bandage dress. As for her songs, well, let’s put it this way: Her setlist was comprised of some songs from her new record, Stronger, some old faves and a surprising cover. And her voice? Sure, it sounds positively fantastic on her studio recordings, but we will attest that it’s another thing entirely to be in the same room as her when she drops the hammer and belts out one of her patented power choruses. We’re talking CHILLS, palpable chills, when she kicks her voice into fifth gear.

Find out for yourself when VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson premieres on VH1.com exactly three weeks from today on Thursday, November 17 at 7 p.m. ET.

[Photo: Pegah Rashti for @VH1]

by (@unclegrambo)

Concert Review: There’s No Need For Smartphones While Listening To The Warm, Rollicking Sounds Of Dawes


At the risk of sounding like a codger, the experience of going to see a concert live and in the flesh has diminished over the last few years, a time during which smart phones and digital cameras have become ubiquitous. Sure, audiences have always been easy to distract mid-concert—be that for beer, conversation, what-have-you—but over the last five years or so, the live concert experience has suffered because many members of the audience are too busy either taking crappy digital pictures or tweeting about the show instead of enjoying the vibes, mannnn.

I bring this up because at last night’s Dawes/Blitzen Trapper show at New York City’s Webster Hall, there were a surprising few number of people who experienced the show through a 4-inch handheld screen because they were, *gasp*, actually present in the moment! This kind of warm attentiveness is something that bands tend to react really positively to, and four gents of Dawes were no exception: Their rollicking, 90-minute(ish) set of “classic indie” songs went over like gangbusters with the demographically diverse audience last night, one that was a pleasant mix of hipsters in tight fitting plaid shirts, recently-graduated-yet-quickly-aging frat stars, bearded bros looking to kill time before next year’s Bonnaroo, and Lefsetz-reading Boomers.

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