Madilyn Bailey Impresses With Sia Cover on ‘AGT’: Watch

Only the brightest, bravest, or most foolish, would cover Sia in a live setting.

Madilyn Bailey definitely falls into the first two groups.

The Wisconsin singer and YouTuber saw her career take off when she uploaded a cover of “Titanium,” Sia’s hit 2011 collaboration with David Guetta. Nine years on, the clip has attracted more than 115 million hits, and Bailey’s YouTube channel boasts 8.63 million subscribers.

On Tuesday night (Aug. 10), Bailey stepped into the spotlight for the quarter finals of America’s Got Talent, and she brought out the tough stuff, with a dramatic rendition of “Titanium” and all its vocal acrobacy.

Performing at an upright piano, Bailey hit all the high notes and showcased her mastery of vibrato. Her efforts earned her a standing ovation from Simon Cowell.

The prolific 28-year-old songwriter made a real mark with her audition, in which she performed a song composed of hate comments left on her YouTube.

Watch Bailey’s cover of “Titanium” on AGT below.

Youngster Peter Rosalita Lets Rip With Dramatic Whitney Houston Cover on ‘AGT’: Watch

Whitney Houston has left us, but her music lives on. Youngster Peter Rosalita is playing the role of torch-bearer.

The 10-year-old Filipino singer stepped into the America’s Got Talent quarter finals Tuesday night (Aug. 10) for a rendition of “I Have Nothing,” Whitney’s classic from the Bodyguard soundtrack.

Rosalita wasn’t even born when the film came out, but he captured the power and drama of the Houston’s performance.

Wearing a glittery suit, Rosalita, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, looked comfortable strutting the stage of the Dolby Theatre.

All the judges loved what they heard and saw, though Simon Cowell suggested he hit something more age-appropriate next time.

Earlier, on the season 16 premiere of AGT, Rosalita followed in the show’s grand tradition of little kids with giant voices as he impressed with a performance of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself.”

Check out his Houston cover below.

De La Soul Plans to Bring Classic Catalog to Streaming in Partnership With Reservoir

After a public battle with Tommy Silverman’s storied label, Tommy Boy Music, De La Soul are back in control of their creative legacy and plan to bring their first six studio albums to streaming services later this year.

The iconic hip-hop trio has been trying to get its Tommy Boy recordings on streaming services for years, but abandoned the plan in 2019 when they couldn’t come to terms with the label, hung up on agreeable royalty splits and the cost of licensing samples included in the tracks. But when Reservoir Music acquired 40-year-old Tommy Boy in June, the group resumed its effort.

“We have finally come down to a deal between ourselves and Reservoir Media to release our music in 2021,” De La Soul member David “Trugoy” Jolicoeur said in an IG Live video posted Tuesday (Aug. 10). “We’re trying to work hard and diligently along with the good folks at Reservoir to get this done. We sat down and we got it done pretty quick … maybe in two weeks’ time tops. A totally different approach than what was happening with Tommy Boy. And I’m not speaking to bash Tommy Silverman or Tommy Boy in any way. But we’re happy that chapter is over and done with and looking forward to our relationship with Reservoir Media.”

Reservoir confirmed the deal with Billboard but would not disclose terms.

“We have reached a new long-term agreement with De La Soul that gives the group a new voice and interest in how their historic catalog will be distributed,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “Reservoir couldn’t be happier to come to an agreement with De La Soul, one of the most important groups in the history of hip-hop, and it’s an honor to partner with them and make these classic albums available to the fans after all this time.”

Added Faith Newman, Reservoir executive A&R and catalog development, in a statement: “Life can be funny when things come full circle. I’ve known the guys for over 30 years and it’s so exciting to be a part of this rebirth.”

Tommy Boy’s catalog included a treasure trove of hip-hop master recordings with more than 6,000 songs in all including work by Coolio (“Gangsta’s Paradise”), House of Pain (“Jump Around”), Afrika Bambaata & the Soulsonic Force (“Planet Rock”) and De La Soul (“Me Myself and I”).

The six albums comprising De La Soul’s Tommy Boy catalog include their 1989 seminal debut 3 Feet High and Rising and De La Soul Is Dead. Through memorable singles like “Plug Tunin’,” “Me Myself and I,” “The Magic Number,” “Eye Know” and “Say No Go,” 3 Feet High and Rising not only ushered in a new, psychedelic era with the group’s distinctive brand of alternative rap but also scored platinum and No. 1 status on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Its game-changing influence was further cemented in 2010 when the album was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

However, De La Soul’s use of uncleared samples from Hall & Oates, the Turtles and others in those early days of rap on 3 Feet High and Rising and follow-up De La Soul is Dead also sparked years of legal issues. The end result: the group’s early classic records have been withheld from streaming platforms for decades.

De La Soul’s fight to release their catalog on streaming services — and to rectify terms of the Tommy Boy contract they signed as teenagers — went public in February 2019 when the group aired grievances about their copyright issues with Tommy Boy on social media. Two years earlier, Tommy Boy founder Silverman had re-purchased the label from former partner Warner Music.

In a lengthy interview with Billboard that March, the group — whose additional members include Posdnuos and Maseo — said Silverman allegedly offered them a 90/10 split of the profits if he were to take their music to streaming services. At that point, De La Soul launched a boycott on social media, which drew the support of Nas, Questlove and Jay-Z, among others.

In August 2019, in the wake of their debut album’s 30th anniversary, De La Soul ended negotiations with Silverman. In a statement issued on Instagram at the time, Jolicoeur said, “After 30 years of profiting from our music and hard work… and after 7 long months of stalled negotiations, we are sad to say that we’ve been unable to reach an agreement and earn Tommy Boy’s respect for our legacy … we’ve decided we will not do our 30+ years the disservice of settling on Tom Silverman’s terms.”

On Tuesday, however, Jolicoeur’s tone was notably different. “I think we needed new soil to work with,” he continued on IG Live, speaking of the new arrangement with Reservoir. “These good people are looking after us to do the right thing by ourselves, our music, our legacy and, of course, the fans.”

Billie Eilish Leads Trio of Teens at the Top of Billboard 200 — Has That Ever Happened?

Billie Eilish is Happier Than Ever on her latest No. 1 album — but is the Billboard 200 top three younger than ever?

Nineteen-year-old Eilish leads the way, debuting at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart this week with Happier Than Ever, and she’s followed by two fellow teenagers: 17-year-old The Kid LAROI at No. 2 with F*ck Love and 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo at No. 3 with Sour.

So has that ever happened before? On the new Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, Keith takes a trip down memory lane to see if there’s ever been another trio of teenagers in the top three before. Listen to the new episode to hear his findings:

Also on the show, we’ve got chart news on Prince’s new album Welcome 2 America scoring the late legend his highest-charting new album in more than a decade and The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber taking over at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Stay.” Plus, we’ve got news about The Weeknd’s latest single “Take My Breath,” new music coming from Lizzo and a very special guest this week, and drama surrounding the 2014 hit song “Bang Bang” from Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard’s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard’s deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson and senior director of Billboard charts Keith Caulfield every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)  

Will Jennifer Hudson Extend Oscar Nomination Streak for Biopic Performances?

The early buzz about Jennifer Hudson’s performance as Aretha Franklin in Respect raises the distinct possibility that Hudson could become the fifth actor in four years to receive an Oscar nomination for playing a music icon in a biopic.

Rami Malek kicked off this streak by winning best actor for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). Renée Zellweger won best actress the following year for her performance as Judy Garland in Judy (2019). This past year, Andra Day and Viola Davis were both nominated for best actress — Day for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday; Davis for playing blues singer Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

This streak marked the first time in Oscar history that actors were nominated three years running for performances as real-life music stars. A nod for Hudson would extend that streak to four years.

Three times before this streak, actors received lead acting nods two years in a row for playing real-life music personalities.

Jamie Foxx won best actor for playing Ray Charles in Ray (2004). The following year, Joaquin Phoenix was nominated in that category for playing Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, and his co-star, Reese Witherspoon, won best actress for playing June Carter Cash.

Twenty years earlier, Tom Hulce was nominated for best actor for playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Amadeus (1984), while his co-star, F. Murray Abraham, won in that category for playing his rival, Antonio Salieri. The following year, Jessica Lange was nominated for best actress for playing country legend Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams.

The first time that actors received back-to-back Oscar nominations for playing real-life music figures was in the mid-1940s. Cornel Wilde was nominated for best actor for playing classical composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin in A Song to Remember (1945). The following year, Larry Parks was nominated for best actor for playing entertainer Al Jolson in The Jolson Story.

The nominations earlier this year for Day and Davis, and the anticipated nomination for Hudson, also demonstrates the increased opportunities for biopics in which Black actors portray Black music legends. The first Black actor to receive a nomination for playing a real-life music star was Diana Ross for playing Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972).

Ross was the only Black actor to achieve this feat for more than two decades, until Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne were nominated for their lead performances as Tina Turner and Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It? (1993). Foxx was the next Black actor to join this club — and the first Black actor to win for playing a real-life music star — for his portrayal of Charles in Ray (2004).

In addition, two Black actors have been nominated in supporting roles for playing real-life music personalities — both in the past few years. Mahershala Ali won best supporting actor for playing pianist/composer Don Shirley in Green Book (2018). Leslie Odom Jr. was nominated in that category earlier this year for playing R&B star Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami…

The uptick in nominations for biopic performances makes perfect sense. Music careers are often richly dramatic, with many ups and downs, pitfalls and comebacks. And in a biopic, there’s a song available to soundtrack every key scene.

Inside Fall Out Boy’s Detroit Return to the Hella Mega Tour After Positive COVID-19 Test

Fall Out Boy said hello to the Hella Mega Tour again on Tuesday night (Aug. 10) after the group missed three dates due to an unspecified member of their touring crew contracting COVID-19.

The quartet returned to the road at Detroit’s Comerica Park, happy to be rejoining tourmates Green Day, Weezer and The Interrupters.

“This week has been a bit of a clusterf— for our band,” bassist Pete Wentz told the crowd near the start of Fall Out Boy’s hourlong set. “But we appreciate you guys being here with us — maybe us being here with you,” Wentz added before launching into their 2015 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Uma Thurman.”

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo also celebrated Fall Out Boy’s return to the stage. “Fall Out Boy’s back! Very excited,” Cuomo announced during his band’s set. Noting that Weezer had played “Sugar, We’re Going Down” in their tourmates’ stead, he said, “I’m not gonna do that tonight. It would be weird. Plus, they sing it really awesome.”

Wentz also had an answer for anyone who questions rock ‘n’ roll’s current drawing power. “We decided to challenge that theory and put together the biggest f—ing rock tour this summer,” he said of the Hella Mega outing.

Looking over a crowd of more than 30,000, he noted that “it’s pretty f—ing evident the kids still listen to rock ‘n’ roll!”

Still Unbroken: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Marks 50 Years of an Improbable Album

Most veteran country acts, were they forced to identify themselves by a particular recorded accomplishment, would point to a mass appeal, mainstream achievement: several years of consecutive radio hits, an identifiable country single or maybe a massive pop breakthrough.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has all those things: a string of 15 top 10 singles that made the act a key country-radio presence from 1983 to 1988; a 1987 chart-topper, “Fishin’ in the Dark,” that still appears in some gold rotations three decades later; and the million-selling 1970 pop single “Mr. Bojangles.” But if there’s one studio achievement that most defines the band, it’s arguably the album Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

This week marks 50 years since the band recorded the 38-track set in six focused days at Nashville’s Woodland Sound Studios. Originally released on three vinyl discs in the fall of 1972, it never spawned any actual hit singles, though it did peak at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. People heard about it through word-of-mouth, Dirt Band concerts and significant critical attention, given in great part because it was a grand experiment that managed to cross multiple gaps — generational, cultural, stylistic and geographical — in an era when America was divided by urban violence and the Vietnam War.

“I have close friends that said, ‘You kind of helped bridge that gap between my dad and me; we would put this record on, have something in common,’ ” recalls founding member Jeff Hanna. “Those are really profound things to hear about a record.”

A cover of “I Saw the Light” with Roy Acuff logged a Grammy nomination in 1971, while the entire album made the final ballot a year later. And artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Bruce Hornsby have told Hanna that Will the Circle Be Unbroken was a gateway for their understanding of American roots music.

The Dirt Band members — John McEuen, Jimmy Ibbotson, Jimmie Fadden, Les Thompson and Hanna — were all 23 to 25 years old when they arrived in Nashville from the West Coast to cut the album in an unlikely series of collaborations with numerous country and bluegrass figures who were past their commercial primes: Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Maybelle Carter, Merle Travis and Jimmy Martin.

But hits were never the point. It was about a younger generation paying homage to the music and the artists who inspired them, even if the elder artists were somewhat skeptical. Scruggs and Travis had both met the Dirt Band previously, but others needed persuasion. Acuff was resistant, and even after the sessions, he admired their musicianship while struggling with their appearance.

“They are very nice young boys,” he told The Tennessean. “But if I ever saw them again without their hair, I’d never know them. I don’t even know if I would recognize them if I saw them again just like they are.”

Bill Monroe declined entirely, dissuaded apparently by their California history, hippie fashion and recent top 40 status.

“He didn’t think his fans would understand us playing whatever that was that we played,” says Hanna. “I don’t think he realized at the time that we weren’t going to come in the studio with a full drum kit and Marshall amps and wild pedals.”

Fortunately, everyone else locked into Scruggs’ belief in the project, and the work progressed steadily beginning Aug. 6, with the Dirt Band taking one day off amid a daily schedule of nine to 13 hours of recording. The group even took a side trip on Aug. 12 to cut more material at the Columbia Recording Studios for the Earl Scruggs Revue album I Saw the Light With Some Help From My Friends.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken allowed the California kids to join their heroes on a raft of signature titles, including The Carter Family’s “You Are My Flower,” Acuff’s “The Precious Jewel,” Travis’ “Dark as a Dungeon,” Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues” and the much-covered “Orange Blossom Special” and “Soldier’s Joy,” the latter featuring McEuen playing the banjo of late Grand Ole Opry icon Uncle Dave Macon.

“That was the stuff that really got our blood going when we were kids,” says Hanna. “So for me to be able to lean over Doc Watson’s shoulder and sing harmony on ‘Tennessee Stud,’ that was priceless.”

Manager-producer William E. McEuen envisioned the Circle concept, patterned after a 1960 blues album, Down South Summit Meetin’, that featured Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Joe Williams and Sonny Terry playing their material with interstitial chatter from the studio floor included.

In that format, hearing Watson and Travis meeting for the first time at Woodland or having Acuff stress the importance of nailing a song on the initial take (“Let’s do it the first time, and the hell with the rest of it.”), Circle makes the legends as real and as workmanlike as the blue-collar, life-and-death songs that form the album’s backbone.

Circle had a significant long-tail effect. It went gold in 1973, platinum in 1997, and earned induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Additionally, six of the album’s tracks were heard during episode six of the 2019 PBS documentary Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns.

Adding to the album’s place in Dirt Band lore — and in country music history overall — the band compiled two more volumes, in 1989 and 2002, snaring two Grammys and five additional nominations in the process.

The durability of that album continues, too, particularly since the Dirt Band has landed a foot in several different genres, spurring curious fans who might not have otherwise been exposed to investigate the album, and in turn learn about the icons the band was celebrating. Because of that, Circle reaches its 50th anniversary having introduced scores of fans and musicians to country music and Americana.

Says Hanna: “It casts a mighty big shadow.”