Lil Nas X Dazzles With ‘Montero’ Tour Opener In Detroit

Lil Nas X turned a small catalog (to date) into a big show as he opened his first-ever concert tour on Tuesday night (Sept. 6) at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

Over 65 minutes, three acts and more than a dozen songs, the Long Live Montero Tour production was designed to dazzle — no surprise, really, to anyone who’s seen the Georgia-born hitmaker’s extravagant performances for awards shows and other events.

It was designed to be, as he wrote in the Playbill-style program handed out to fans, “a play about me, starring me as me, with music by me…about my journey, what I’ve been through, me being out of breath while performing and my aspirations to continue on my path in life.”

Coach creative director Stuart Evers added in his own note that “the looks we created together explore tensions between past, present and future…a reflection how inspiring individuals like Montero (Hill, Lil Nas X’s birth name) are defining (and redefining) our American story for today — and a celebration of the optimism for the future we share.”

That high concept was acted out by Lil Nas X and eight dancers with an elaborate video production on a three-panel screen behind the stage.

The show, which started an hour after the announced 7:30pm time, moved briskly from segment to segment, narrated by The Wizard of Naz, a woman whose image was beamed onto the curtain between the show’s three acts, while the instrumental music and some voices, including Doja Cat’s feature on “Scoop,” were all recorded to track.

Introduced as “one of those special souls,” Lil Nas X got things started alone on stage with “Panini,” sporting the first of six outfits — shirtless with gold pants — before the dancers joined him for some precise and athletic choreography.

Production numbers with titles such as “A Visit From a Friend” and “Pure/Honey” flitted between songs from his EP (7) and 2021 album Montero, and the selection was heavy on big hits — “Old Town Road,” which was paired with “Rodeo,” “Sun Goes Down,” “That’s What I Want,” “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” — but also slotted in deeper cuts such as “Don’t Want It,” “Tales of Dominica” and “Lost in the Citadel.”

Lasers and smoke jets accented a few of the songs, while Lil Nas X donned a pair of giant butterfly wings briefly during “Call Me By Your Name” — after which scores of animated Lil Nas X butterflies flitted around the video screen.

At the end of Act Two, an elaborately staged short film titled “You Are Going to Hell” addressed the spiritual homophobia he encountered in his life.

The emphasis, however, was on performance and precision, whether it was the cowboy-themed routine of “Old Town Road”/”Rodeo” or the exuberant expositions of “That’s What I Want” and “Scoop.”

He reminded the Detroit audience a couple of times that this was his first-ever tour, and during “Down Souf Hoes” ordered the crowd to “get the f*** up and shake your ass or you’re gonna be escorted out of the building.”

He was loose enough to crack, “Who’s of legal age here and wants to f***” before quickly adding “no, no, that’s a joke” and following up with a self-effacing borscht-belt styled “What’s the deal with airline food?”

“Industry Baby” closed the main set and “formal” part of the show in a muscular, full-length rendition while confetti blasted over the crowd’s heads, and Lil Nas X encored with the recent “Star Walkin’,” which was received as enthusiastically as any of the evening’s other songs.

The Long Live Montero Tour continues Wednesday night (Sept. 7) back at the Fox Theatre and continues with 20 more shows — including an Atlanta homecoming Sept. 27-28 — through Oct. 23 in San Francisco. The seven-date European leg of the tour begins Nov. 8 in Amsterdam.

Lil Nas X’s full opening night setlist included:
“Panini”
“Tales of Dominica”
“Sun Goes Down”
“Old Town Road”/”Rodeo”
“Dead Right Now
“Don’t Want It”
“That’s What I Want”
“Lost in the Citadel”
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”
“Down Souf Hoes”
“Scoop”
“Industry Baby”
Encore:
“Star Walkin'”

Kristen Cruz Shows Off Her Incredible Pipes With ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ Cover on ‘AGT’

Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus’ “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” is the type of song that needs a special, work-hardened voice, one that can hit high notes.

It’s also the type of song that can go horribly wrong.

Kristen Cruz has that special voice, which she showcased in a performance Tuesday night (Sept. 6) on America’s Got Talent.

The 19-year-old found her groove with confidence, blending blues rock with country tones, hitting an assortment of high notes (though the very last moment might cause her to miss some sleep).

The teen singer has no trouble proving her talent. She’s a TikTok phenom with more than 4.5 million followers and and her clips, many of which capture her singing while mixing drinks, and have notched a staggering 1.8 billion views.

When she started her AGT journey, with a cover of “I See Red” by Everybody Loves An Outlaw, the Irving, Texas native had 2.2 million followers.

Not everyone was happy with Cruz’s latest rendition.

Simon Cowell later claimed she almost has a “great country voice” but “chose the wrong song.”

Heidi Klum dismissed the acerbic Brit, declaring her “ferocious.” Sofia Vergara added, “Kristen, I am so happy for you that you got out of your comfort zone of TikTok and decided that ‘AGT’ was the next step for you, because that was the right thing for you.”

The season 17 Grand Final is looming, and this week’s performers are competing for a spot. Only two will make it through, nine will be sent packing.

Watch Cruz’s performance below.

 

Music Writer Jim DeRogatis Fighting Subpoena to Testify at R. Kelly Chicago Trial

A music writer who spent decades raising awareness about sexual misconduct allegations against R. Kelly is fighting a bid to force him to testify at the R&B singer’s federal trial on child pornography and trial-fixing charges, according to a Tuesday court filing.

Lawyers for Jim DeRogatis, who in 2019 released his book Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly, invoked constitutional and other protections for the press in asking Judge Harry Leinenweber to rule that DeRogatis need not testify.

DeRogatis was a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times in the early 2000s when he anonymously received a video that he gave to police that helped lead to Kelly’s child pornography trial in 2008 in state court. Video evidence entered at that 2008 trial is also part of the current trial.

Lawyers for Kelly’s former business manager, Derrel McDavid, who with Kelly is charged with a conspiracy to rig that 2008 child pornography trial, subpoenaed DeRogatis to testify. Kelly’s lawyers also would be able to question DeRogatis if he takes the stand.

Kelly, who was acquitted in the 2008 state trial, also faces charges of enticing minors for sex at the federal trial in the Grammy Award winner’s hometown. Both McDavid and Kelly also face pornography charges.

The trial was scheduled to resume Wednesday — after the Labor Day holiday and after the unexpected closure of the courthouse Tuesday due to “operational issues.” Leinenweber is expected to decide Wednesday morning about whether DeRogatis, who co-hosts the public radio show “Sound Opinions,” will have to testify.

Prosecutors rested last week and the defense could wrap up by the end of this week. The trial follows a separate federal trial in New York, where Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in June.

It’s not clear what defense lawyers at Kelly’s current trial would ask DeRogatis. But in filings and public statements they raised chain-of-custody questions about how video evidence got into police hands. They also say there were indications DeRogatis shared a draft of his book about Kelly with prosecutors.

Tuesday’s filing, also submitted on behalf of The New Yorker magazine, for whom DeRogatis writes, points to rulings by a Chicago-based U.S. appellate court that forcing reporters to testify in cases they’ve covered should be done rarely and only when there are no alternatives to introducing the same information.

The filing says a Chicago police detective already testified for the prosecution to explain the chain of custody of video evidence. It says another key government witness, using the pseudonym “Jane” also testified that she and Kelly were the people in several video excerpts.

Calling the outspoken Kelly critic to testify could amount to “harassment or intimidation,” given that there are other ways to work the same facts into evidence, the filing argues. It also cites reports that a window at the DeRogatis family home was shot out after the Sun-Times reported on Kelly.

Four years ago, Kelly released a song called “I Admit,” in which he sought to call out the writer, singing: “To Jim DeRogatis, whatever your name is/You been tryna destroy me for 25 whole years.” Kelly described himself as “so falsely accused” but added, “I admit I have made some mistakes/And I have some imperfect ways.”

DeRogatis took the stand at Kelly’s 2008 trial, but refused to answer questions, citing an Illinois law that shields reporters’ rights, as well the U.S. Constitution’s free press rights and right against self-incrimination.

Now You Can Watch Maneskin’s Cheeky 2022 MTV VMAs Performance in a ‘Restored,’ Less-Censored Edit

When you watched the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards back on Aug. 28, were you wondering why the cameraman decided to use so many wide shots during Måneskin‘s performance of “Supermodel”? A lot of fans assumed it was because of frontman Damiano David’s barely there black leather chaps that exposed his backside — and that might have been part of it, but there was another, even racier outfit in the band.

Bassist Victoria De Angelis was originally wearing a one-armed blouse with a pasty covering an exposed breast, but during the performance, her sleeve slipped down, uncovering her other breast. Ever the rock star, De Angelis kept playing, even going out into the crowd in her newly topless look.

Now, MTV has uploaded a new edit of the performance that shows much more of the Italian rockers than the broadcast did. The new video is touted as a “restored” performance and even “uncensored” in a press release, but De Angelis’ wardrobe malfunction is still blurred out in the clip. Thankfully, we can now see just how much fun the band was having with their dancers and the crowd in the more close-up edit. In Billboard‘s ranking of all 13 VMAs performances, “Supermodel” landed at No. 4.

MTV shared the video on Instagram with the caption: “Blessed to share @maneskinofficial’s #VMAs performance in all their glory – the way we couldn’t on TV. … Thanks for being supermodels and superstars, my loves.”

Måneskin’s VMA night began when they won the very first prize during the preshow — best alternative video for “Be My Slave” — and became the first Italian artists to win a Moon Person too. Next up, the band’s North American tour begins on Halloween in Seattle and wraps up Dec. 16 in Las Vegas. Find dates here.

Watch the restored performance below:

Everything You Need to Know About Disney’s D23 Expo: Where to Buy Tickets, How to Stream Online & More

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Let the magic begin! Disney’s D23 Expo returns to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday (Sept. 9).

The annual event, presented by Visa, will feature iconic Disney characters and stories with appearances from Raven-Symoné, Tim Allen, Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, Brie Larson, Lilly Singh, Michelle Yeoh, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Diamond White, Fred Tatasciore, Kyla Pratt, Paula Jai Parker, JoMarie Payton, Cedric “The Entertainer,” EJ Johnson, Alisa Reyes, Karen Malina White, Kal Penn, Soleil Moon Frye and more.

This year’s expo will kick off a day after Disney+ Day, with what Disney describes as a “fantastic spectacle” that will include the Disney Legends Awards ceremony and an early peek at Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder celebration.

The weekend of panels, meet and greets and more includes the Disney & Marvel Games Showcase, Marvel DRAW Live (where fans can learn how to draw Marvel characters), Marvel Comics: Celebrating 60 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man, Disney’s Epic Entertainment Showcase: The Musical: The Extravaganza! and Hamster & Gretel, which will offer a behind-the-scenes look at what went into making the music-filled, animated series.

Additionally, fans will get an exclusive sneak peek of Marvel’s new series, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, followed by a Q&A with the cast and creative team. Other panels slated for the weekend include The Santa Clauses and The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.  Find more information here.

Single-day and three-day passes are currently sold out, but you can still find tickets online — without spending a month’s rent in the process. To give you a head start, we looked at some of the websites that have resale tickets available like StubHub. Tickets start at $99 and up for single-day passes and around $160-$524 and up for three-day passes, while supplies last.

You can also find tickets on Vivid Seats and a small assortment on Ticketmaster, but they’re nearly sold out and the price point appears to be higher in comparison to StubHub.

D23 Expo Tickets
$from $99

Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ will also be showcasing an epic streaming lineup of live and on-demand content, along with immersive experiences, appearances from talent, photo opportunities at The Disney Bundle Pavilion, special perks for Disney+ subscribers and live demos of the latest features on Disney+.

Can’t make it in person? Watch the live stream on D23Expo.com/live, D23.com and on the D23 YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

6 Essential Tracks on Camilo’s ‘De Adentro Pa Afuera’ Album: Editors’ Picks

Camilo has a knack for writing songs that instantly become earworms, without sacrificing good lyricism and depth. The songs on his new album, De Adentro Pa Afuera, are no exception. On the new album, released Tuesday (Sept. 6), the Colombian singer-songwriter allows each song to breathe lyrically and sonically, putting listeners on a roller coaster of emotions with each track.

The wide-ranging sounds of the album, which can go from urban pop to banda and cumbia villera, also keep fans on the edge of their seat wondering what the next song will sound like, and then being pleasantly surprised with how different each one is, making Camilo one of the most exciting artists in Latin music today.

De Adentro Pa Afuera kicks off with “Aeropuerto,” a soft pop anthem that puts Camilo’s romanticism on full display. The album then picks up rhythmically, transitioning to a bachata featuring Camila Cabello. Other notable collabs include Myke Towers and previously released team-ups with Grupo Firme, Nicki Nicole and Alejandro Sanz.

For this new album, Camilo looked inward as he awaited the arrival of his baby girl, Índigo — his first child with his wife, fellow artist Evaluna Montaner. “That process of waiting for Índigo’s arrival inspired me to look inward and to close doors. It became a process of giving birth times two (baby and album). I am a completely different person now,” Camilo previously told Billboard. “My last album, Mis Manos, found a Camilo that started believing in who he was. In this new album, it’s a Camilo that is releasing everything.”

Stream the entire album here and below, the Billboard Latin editors recommend six essential tracks on De Adentro Pa Afuera:

“Bebiendo Sola” ft. Myke Towers

If there’s any hip-hop artist who can perfectly lace his vocals with pop music it’s Myke Towers, and this collaboration is proof of that. In “Bebiendo Sola,” Camilo reeled in the Puerto Rican artist to tell the story of a girl who doesn’t believe in love anymore and is out and about, drinking alone and hanging out by herself. In true fairy tale fashion, Camilo and Myke tap their inner prince charming and promise to capture the lady’s heart and not leave her side. Most notably, the pop track is backed by a Mellotron sound (keyboard-meets-orchestra) giving off a soothing melody a la “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles.

“Ambulancia” ft. Camila Cabello

This flirty slow-tempo bachata marks the first collaboration between the Cuban-American singer and Camilo. It narrates the story of a connection that cannot be explained, the ones that are pure magic and magnetic. Moreover, it perfectly combines Camilo’s melodic vocals with Camila’s raspy voice. “I had turned off my heart, but when he saw you alone, he decided to turn back on,” she sings in a verse.

“Alaska” ft. Grupo Firme

Name a better duo than Camilo and Grupo Firme … we’ll wait. This highly-anticipated collaboration did not disappoint and instantly became a banda anthem has been soundtracking heartbreaks since it dropped in August. Powered by traditional banda instruments such as the tuba and accordion, “Alaska” is Camilo’s second time experimenting with the genre after his norteña track with Los Dos Carnales released in 2021. In this track, the sound is just as fun as the song’s lyrics, which are a play on words about drinking your sorrows away.

“Pegao”

A modern-day cumbia villera but make it pop with intense synthesizer sound effects and keyboards. In “Pegao,” penned by Camilo, Edgar Barrera, and Andrés Castro, the Colombian artist reflects the happiness he’s living as a first-time father, becoming his first song after the birth of his and wife Evaluna’s baby, Indigo. The lyrics cleverly describe his desire to be permanently attached (pegao) to his newborn daughter. The song earned him his third No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay chart (dated Aug. 13), and his first champ on a lead role, unaccompanied by any other act.

“NASA” ft. Alejandro Sanz

The collaboration of his dreams is presented in this ballad with flamenco flairs and classical instrumentation. Its deep and honest lyrics are carried by the strings of an electric guitar where Camilo and Sanz meet vocally to sing in a subtle way to jealousy. The most honest form of asking someone for forgiveness for overthinking or imagining things that haven’t happened.

“Naturaleza” ft. Nicki Nicole

Camilo and Nicki Nicole embrace individuality in “Naturaleza,” a hypnotizing head-bobbing pop song fused with a subtle reggaeton drum beat. The beauty of the track lies within the message of its lyrics, which highlight the importance of living our authentic lives and taking pride in who we are. “I think I see life differently, because they call me crazy frequently,” the Argentine star starts off the song. “Dale, all is fair in this party until the sun rises. We are real. Only instinct, like animals,” they both sing in the chorus.