Lionel Richie Leads All-Star ‘Idol’ Rendition of ‘We Are The World’: Watch

If you lived through the ‘80s, you’ll remember “We Are The World” was just about the biggest number of them all. Featuring a “Dream Team” of pop stars, the song dropped in 1985 to shine a light on famine in Africa.

Written by Lionel Richie and the late Michael Jackson, the charity single ruled the Billboard Hot 100 for four successive weeks after its release, and an all-star Artists for Haiti remake in 2010 was also a hit.

Sunday night (May 17) during the American Idol finale, Richie assembled an all-star Idol lineup for a lockdown-era rendition of the blockbuster.

Joined by his fellow judges, Richie led a cast that included 2020 winner Just Sam, Alejandro Aranda aka Scarypoolparty, Fantasia, Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard and Scotty McCreery.

This time around, the performers’ images were beamed onto famous landmarks, with empty streets below.

Watch below.

Björn Ulvaeus Recounts ABBA’s Big Break With Eurovision In Touching Speech: Watch

The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest was, well, not much of a contest. Blame the coronavirus pandemic for that.

For the first time in its history, the annual songwriting competition was shelved. No winner was announced. Instead, organizers the EBU went with a global virtual event featuring contemporary and past competitors, under the banner “Shine a Light.”

And there were a few surprises on the night, none greater than a two-minute speech delivered by Björn Ulvaeus, a member of Eurovision’s most famous alum, ABBA.

Ulvaeus tends to keep a low profile these days, though he appeared more than happy to share some thoughts on Eurovision and his group’s unforgettable appearance in Eurovision 1974, when their performance of “Waterloo” won ABBA the crown.

The Swede set the tone with a touching story of when his grandson, aged seven, realized just how famous his granddad was.

“He looked incredulous,” the Swedish pop hitmaker recounted in a pre-recorded piece. “He clearly found that very, very hard to believe,” pointing out that he was indeed the “chubby guy with the star-shaped guitar” in the classic clip.

“And to tell you the truth,” he continued, “when I watch that clip from the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, 1974, I find that hard to believe as well.”

Eurovision is “one hell of a launching pad,” Ulvaeus noted, “and it still remains one of the most genuinely joyous events in the TV year. And it’s so disarmingly European, it so allows you to escape and be happy. Even forget about the coronavirus for a little while.”

At the close of the special, it was revealed that the song contest will return in 2021, taking place in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

ABBA has suggested new music from the group will be released at a future date, perhaps this year, though Ulvaeus didn’t share any updates.

Read his full speech below.

Good evening, I’m Björn Ulvaeus my grandson was about seven when he came home from school one day and said, my friends say that you’re a pop star grandad, is that true? Well, I said, you saw me on TV with remember. I told you that the chubby guy with the star shaped guitar was me. He looked incredulous. He clearly found that very very hard to believe. And to tell you the truth, when I watch that clip from the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, 1974, I find that hard to believe as well.

But then the ESC is one hell of a launching pad. And it still remains one of the most genuinely joyous events in the TV year. And it’s so disarmingly European, it so allows you to escape and be happy. Even forget about the coronavirus for a little while.

Everybody knows why there couldn’t be the usual Eurovision final this year but we hope this year’s show will comfort you in some small way, knowing that I’ll be back next year.

Very good title by the way, “Shine a Light”. I’m glad they didn’t choose “Waterloo”.

Taylor Swift’s ‘City of Lover Concert’ Special: 8 Best Moments

Although Taylor Swift’s 2020 touring plans have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the superstar presented her fans with a special performance with the Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert, a powerful special that aired on ABC on Sunday night (May 17). Filmed last September at Paris’ L’Olympia Theater in front of an intimate audience of fans from around the world, the concert captured Swift at a particularly jubilant moment, weeks after the release of her acclaimed seventh album, Lover.

The special also offered some insight into the creation of Lover, with Swift breaking down the themes streaking throughout her longest album to date and stripping down their live presentation. “A lot of these songs on this album that just came out, I’ve never played live before!” Swift remarked early on. Although the stadium shows won’t be happening this year, Swift’s fans at least got to watch her play some of her favorite Lover songs on acoustic guitar, grand piano or as the full-band spectacle that they’re used to experiencing.

With Swift conquering primetime, here are the eight best moments from the City of Lover Concert special, presented in chronological order and with audio of each performance.

1. The Triumphant “ME!” Opening.

“You’ll never find another like me-e-e!” Swift declared to open the special, and judging from the lip-biting excitement from fans in the crowd, Paris agreed with her. As pastel colors nonchalantly exploded on the screen behind her, Swift’s fans joyfully shouted along with Lover’s lead single.

2. A Moving, Stomping “Archer.”

Before diving into “The Archer,” Swift said that the track “encapsulates the complexity of falling in love” — yet the performance of the song sounded searing in its simplicity, the beat echoing throughout the theater and inviting the audience to clap along. When Swift pointed out Into the crowd and changed the line “Who could stay” to “You could stay,” everyone lost it, understandably.

3. “Death By a Thousand Cuts,” Brought to Life on Guitar.

With lit-up wristbands staring back at her, Swift tossed her head back during the live debut of “Death By a Thousand Cuts” and kept strumming on her acoustic guitar, seething with emotion on the bridge before steadying herself with a sly grin. No matter that she had never played the song before — the entire crowd never every word.

4. The “Cornelia Street” Explanation.

“I think I actually wrote this song… when I was in the bathtub!” Swift mused before playing a stripped-down version of the Lover highlight. Just as charming as the performance was Swift’s lead-up to the first note, during which she told the Paris crowd that sometimes she uses hyper-specific personal snapshots as songwriting inspiration. Cue up the lived-in “Cornelia Street”: “This is definitely one of those nostalgic ones.”

5. “The Man” Gets a Rapturous Response.

Midway through the performance, Swift performed “The Man” for the first time — this was months before the song became an official single and received an eye-popping, gender-swapping music video. Yet the Paris audience exploded when Swift dug into the acoustic take on the shot against sexism, and cried out the “Leo in Saint Tropez” line with aplomb. Weeks after Lover’s release, the Swifties had clearly picked up on how important “The Man” was to their hero.

6. “Daylight” + Piano = Chills.

“I don’t wanna look at anything else now that I saw you,” Swift sings on Lover closer “Daylight,” “I don’t wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you.” If you didn’t get a hint of goosebumps when Swift opened her heart while sitting at a grand piano, and the camera cut to a young fan proudly mouthing along with the words, then you might need to re-examine your personal Swiftie card.

7. “You Need To Calm Down,” Presented in Technicolor.

“Love is so many things — love is chaos, love is madness, love is joy. Love is, in my opinion, equality,” Swift told the Paris crowd. Anyone who disagrees with that last part? They need to calm down, Swift declared before partying with her backup dancers and dancing in front of neon visuals. Following a string of more sparse performances, the joyful full-band production of “You Need To Calm Down” made for one of the evening’s most delicious treats.

8. A Swaying, Smile-Inducing Title Track.

The special ended with Swift clearly on top of her respective world, performing “Lover” with the word scrawled across her guitar, her band shimmying behind her, a theater full of fans belting out every word. Swift couldn’t contain her grin during the song, and neither could the fans in the L’Olympia Theater that flashed onscreen (or, one would imagine, the millions of diehard supporters watching from home).

‘American Idol’ Season 18 Winner Crowned in First At-Home Finale

[Spoiler alert: This article contains the name of the winner of Sunday night’s American Idol finale.]

No matter who ended up in the winner’s circle after Sunday night’s (May 17) two-hour American Idol finale, they were destined to make history as the first champ to celebrate from the comfort of their own home. Not by choice of course, by due to the way the 18th season of the beloved singing competition had to completely change things up mid-way due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

And, like all aspects of the show since everyone was sent home, the coronation was… different, with host Ryan Seacrest calling the action from his garage instead of the big stage in Hollywood, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie dialing in from their homes and the contestants making their final push surrounded by their adoring families/makeshift stage crew.

After a cut from seven to five and then the top two, the season’s most inspiring singer, Just Sam, 21, shook her head in disbelief when Seacrest read her name as she celebrated alone in quarantine while holding an iPad tuned to her elated grandmother cheering her on from afar. Dressed in an appropriately glittery gold jacket and regal red shirt, the dumb-struck subway singer said, “my dreams have come true… I would have never ever, ever expected this.”

The heart-warming win by Just Sam capped a show that began with the elimination of semi-finalists Julia Gargano and Louis Knight before America got one last look at the top five, with two performances from each that proved why they’d all earned their spot.

Spiritual cowboy Dillon James, 26, of Bakersfield, California, took a rough road to the finale, but his country-infused cover of Eric Clapton’s “Change the World,’ set amid a garden of candles in his family’s backyard, deserved to be in the final five; he returned later for a smoldering ramble through Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

San Francisco’s Francisco Martin, 19, borrowed a page from another reality singing vet, Harry Styles, with his cover of the X Factor alum’s ‘ “Adore You”; he came back with an urgent acoustic version of Maggie Rogers’ “Alaska.”

Harlem’s Just Sam, went from singing on a subway to becoming the only woman to make it to the top five, capping her only-on-Idol journey to become the seventh female winner in show history following a technicolor, powerful run through original Idol superstar Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”; her second selection was Andra Day’s moving “Rise Up,” which clearly helped seal the deal.

From Nepal to Wichita, Kansas, and then Idol finale, the night’s second-place finisher Arthur Gunn, 22, proved he deserved all the “rock star” praise with a gritty rip of Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be”; he then nailed a moody, wholly-original take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”

The last of the top five to perform was Jonny West, who blossomed from a shy wallflower to a confident crooner, working his keyboard for James & Bobby Purify’s soul pop nugget “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”; his second bid rolled the dice with his sensual soul/rap original, “Makin’ Love.”

As expected, Sunday’s show was more muted than past Idol finales, but producers tried to give it that some of that familiar sheen with a pared-down series of guest performances that included the TV debut of Perry’s new single “Daisies.” As promised, the performance mixed a classic Idol vibe — it began with Perry backed by a digital rendering of the show’s logo — with some cutting-edge technology that transported the barefoot expectant mom into a digital cartoon house that shifted and split apart all around her, landing her back on the holographic Idol stage at song’s end.

Knowing people might be mixing up cocktails at home during the quarantine, Bryan put on his best Hawaiian shirt for a virtual performance with his band of the good times boogie “One Margarita.” Rascal Flatts teamed with season 18 audition favorite garbage man Doug Kiker for “Bless The Broken Road.”

Other performers included Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo and the top 11 singing a medley of Aretha Franklin songs and two-time Idol auditioner Lauren Daigle and Just Sam teaming up for Daigle’s moving hit “You Say.”

The finale ended with Richie’s first TV performance in 35 years of the 1985 charity anthem he co-wrote with Michael Jackson, “We Are The World.” Joined by his fellow judges, winner Just Sam and all-star group of  Idol alumi — Alejandro Aranda aka Scarypoolparty, Fantasia, Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard and Scotty McCreery — the reboot featured the singer’s faces projected onto some of the nation’s most iconic vistas.

It wasn’t the Idol anyone signed up for nearly a year go, but season 18 brought it all back home with the elevation of a singer whose American anthem of determination and grit is just the kind of fairytale ending we could all use right about now.

Check out Just Sam’s two final Idol performances below.

Selena Gomez Rocks Subtle Makeup & Natural Curls for Stunning Quarantine Selfies

Selena Gomez must be spending her days at home with no makeup like most of us, but today she was inspired to get a little dolled up and take some pictures.

The selfies, posted on Instagram, show the singer wearing a light and pretty look, accentuated with a dark cat-eye — and some wild, gorgeous curls.

“I had an urge to put my make up on,” Gomez wrote Sunday (May 17). “My papa noticed then proceeded to ask ‘why do you look like that?’ He whistled as he walked away. So there’s that. Wearing all @rarebeauty.”

Rare Beauty is her new beauty line, which will be launching in North America this summer exclusively at Sephora.

Swipe to see all four lovely photos below.

What’s Behind the Ratings Slumps for Remotely Shot Shows

American Idol and The Voice made a big deal about continuing with their final rounds in recent weeks, with the remaining contestants on each singing competition performing from their homes and hosts and judges all weighing in remotely.

Yet the ratings for the remotely produced “live” episodes have fallen flat: Both ABC’s Idol and NBC’s The Voice have recorded same-day season lows in the past two weeks. A similar fate befell ABC’s second Disney Family Singalong special on Sunday, which drew little more than half the audience of the first edition of the special on April 16. Similarly, the first at-home edition of Saturday Night Live enjoyed a ratings surge, but the next two episodes, including the May 9 season finale, came in below the show’s season average. A remotely produced episode of CBS’ drama All Rise — the first scripted series to film in such a manner — also posted ho-hum numbers.

Has the novelty of remote production worn off, or after several weeks of ratings bumps fueled by widespread stay-at-home mandates during the novel coronavirus pandemic, are the numbers just reverting to their natural levels for this time of year?

It’s probably a bit of both.

“I personally don’t think it’s a too-close-to-home thing,” former Fox and NBC scheduling chief Preston Beckman told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think there’s a difference between trying to rejigger an existing show like Idol and being creative and unique with shows that incorporate the current situation.”

Since its peak in late March, TV usage has declined slowly but steadily each week. Nielsen’s Total Use of Television metric — encompassing traditional and time-shifted TV watching, viewing through internet-connected devices, use of video game consoles and even DVD playback — is still well above its pre-pandemic levels, but it has also fallen by about 12 percent over the past month.

At the same time the usage numbers have been declining, shows like Idol and The Voice were nearing the end of their pre-recorded episodes and had to pivot to remote production. As scripted programming inventory also petered out, networks scrambled for specials like The Disney Family Singalong and the multi-network One World: Together at Home telethon to help fill their schedules. ESPN also produced the NFL Draft remotely.

The returns on those shows have been wildly mixed: The NFL Draft set an all-time viewership record amid a barren TV sports landscape that hadn’t seen any live games since March 11. The first Disney Family Singalong on April 16 had the best same-day rating among adults 18-49 (2.6) for any entertainment program since the Oscars.

Idol, The Voice and SNL, however, have all declined. Beckman also noted that ratings tend to fall across the board as the traditional TV season nears its end. The Voice’s recent numbers aren’t that far off from where they were a year ago, and while Idol has fallen more, its momentum was broken some by having to air two weeks of clip shows while setting up for the remote rounds.

“We always see a dip in usage at this time of the year,” Beckman said. “There may also be a bit of a burnout. I have a feeling many have the news on all day and may need a break in the evening.”

Looking ahead to summer, networks will fill their schedules with a mix of already completed shows, reruns and stunts like ABC’s Bachelor retrospective. NBC plans to go ahead with summer flagship America’s Got Talent, which had only been filming for a few weeks before production shut down. Its producers are still game-planning for the remainder of the season.

“Everyone’s trying to figure this out,” Beckman said, “and the smart programmers will.”

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

Pregnant Ciara Shows Off Her ‘Bumpin” Baby Bump in a Tiny Bikini

Ciara is embracing her pregnancy curves! The singer, who is expecting her third child, showed off her curves in a series of Instagram photos on Sunday (May 17).

“The Bump is Bumpin’,” the “Thinkin Bout You” singer captioned her mini gallery. In the photos, Ciara reveals her baby bump while wearing a hat, sunglasses, and itty bitty black bikini top with a wrap around her lower half.

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The Bump is Bumpin

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The singer announced her pregnancy on Instagram in January. She posted a photo of herself clad in a bikini while vacationing in Turks and Caicos, her growing belly on full display. The baby will be her second with husband Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, with whom she shares daughter Sienna Princess. The musician is also mom to 5-year-old Future Zahir, whose dad is her ex-fiance, rapper Future.

Ciara and the NFL quarterback shared a sweet gender reveal video in April. In the clip posted to Twitter, Future Zahir excitedly exclaimed that he’s hoping for a boy, while little Sienna whispered that she’d like a baby sister. When the couple pulled the trigger on the reveal, blue confetti rained down, signaling a baby boy is on the way.

Besides prepping for a new baby, the couple has been staying busy by giving back to the community during the global coronavirus pandemic. They told Jimmy Fallon on April 8 that they had donated one million meals via Feeding America’s Food Lifeline.

“We have our foundation, the Why Not You foundation, and my dad used to always ask me this fundamental question, every day, almost. He would say, ‘Son, why not you?’ And it was the fundamental conscious and subconscious question that drove my whole life,” explained the football star. “We want to be able to impact with coronavirus right now, so what we did was donated a million meals to Feeding America in Seattle.”