December 6th 2015 11PM Kennedy Center


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Aretha Franklin, Performing in the Kennedy Center Opera House December 6, 2015

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The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a massive building on the Potomac River containing nine theaters.

By Gavin Edwards\ New York Times

 

In her final decade, Aretha Franklin’s two best-loved performances both took place in Washington. In 2009, she graced Barack Obama’s inauguration with a gorgeous “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” while wearing a hat so remarkable it ended up on display in the Smithsonian on Dec. 6, 2015, she sang an unforgettable rendition of her own anthem of rebirth, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” in tribute to the song’s co-writer, Carole King, who was receiving the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement alongside Rita Moreno, Cicely Tyson and other luminaries.

The 1967 single is sensual and spiritual; after 48 years, Ms. Franklin felt it more deeply than ever. It was a showstopper at the Kennedy Center — and on internet browsers everywhere. Soon after, Elton John told The Times that he had been watching the “Natural Woman” clip over and over. “I will definitely, when I’m 75, be having a fur coat like that, and coming in with a clutch bag, too,” Mr. John promised. “And throwing my coat off. And in a fishtail dress.”

We spoke with performers, guests and others who were at the Kennedy Center that night about their memories of Ms. Franklin’s soaring performance. These are edited excerpts from the conversations.

 

RICKEY MINOR, musical director of the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony The producers were interested in Aretha — her doing “Natural Woman” was kind of a no-brainer — and I knew that she attended the Kennedy Center Honors every year, sitting in the audience to celebrate the honorees.

 

DEBORAH F. RUTTER, president of the Kennedy Center Aretha received her Kennedy Center Honor in 1994, at a time when most Honors recipients were at or nearing the end of their careers. That she continued performing and producing new work for the next two decades is a testament to a talent that transcends age and time.

GLENN WEISS, executive producer and director of the Honors ceremony There was a big back and forth before Aretha agreed to perform, but the song was such a huge iconic thing in her life. I think it was important for her to be there.

CHILINA KENNEDY, who has played Carole King in the Broadway musical “Beautiful” and appeared in the Kennedy Center Honors tribute I’d heard the story of how Carole and Gerry [Goffin] had written the song for Aretha: they were walking down Broadway and [producer] Jerry Wexler pulled up in his limo and rolled down the window and said, “Hey, I want you guys to write a song called ‘Natural Woman.’”

MINOR With Aretha, you need to be bendable and not breakable. It was going to be just her with the orchestra, but she made a call and said, “Hey, I have a way that I do this song with my background singers.” Everyone needs what they need to be comfortable.

WEISS She always walks onstage with her purse. When we were in rehearsals, she walks out and puts it on the piano. When she walks downstage, she picks it up and puts it on the floor. The show ends with everyone in the tribute downstage singing “I Feel the Earth Move.” In rehearsal, there’s a line of people in street clothes — her, James Taylor, Sara Bareilles, Janelle Monáe — and this one bag sitting in the middle of the stage. When we finished the song, James Taylor leaned over to pick up the bag and hand it to her, being a gentleman, and reflexively she almost pushed him away.

WEISS Traditionally the honorees go to the White House for a reception, and then they go back to the Kennedy Center, the president comes, and the show starts. Unfortunately, that weekend the San Bernardino shooting happened. We were told by the White House that the president is addressing the nation at 8 o’clock, and we’re scheduled to start at 7:30. The night was a bit of a roller coaster and maybe a little emotional, but the president came to us at intermission.

MINOR I always welcome everybody before the show and thank them for coming, because I probably won’t see them after the show. I knocked on Aretha’s door — she’ll make you wait, you won’t just walk in there. There were a lot of people in there — hair and makeup, she was getting ready — but she was in a great mood.

KENNEDY For the 11 o’clock number of the Carole King section, I introduced her, said, “Aretha Franklin!” and people freaked out.

MINOR The honorees don’t know who’s performing for them.

KENNEDY Carole was losing her mind, Obama was losing his mind, everyone was going wild. I was standing in the wings with James Taylor, who was just as excited to see what was going to happen.

JAMES TAYLOR To me, Aretha is the ultimate — not that it’s a competition. She didn’t open her mouth unless what came out was brilliant.

KENNEDY Out she walks with her fur coat and her purse; she whacks the purse on the piano and sits down. They cut this part out of the segment that went to air, but she did a few scales, taking her time getting ready, and then all of a sudden she hits that first note, “Looking out on the morning,” and it was the most unbelievable performance I had ever seen.

MINOR Carole just kept saying, “Oh my God, oh my God,” and holding her head. She had never seen Aretha play piano and sing her song. Lots of people don’t know that Aretha plays piano, but if you want to get her true sound, you need her playing. Vocally she knows where she’s going, so she can lead herself into that on piano. She’s got more movement in certain places than most pianists would. That teaches her rhythm section to get out of the way, to support her and not dictate how the song goes.

WEISS It’s a roomful of people who have seen a lot of artists over the years, but not a lot of people have seen Aretha sitting down at a piano.

KENNEDY I couldn’t believe what was coming out of her mouth. She got up from the piano, walked downstage, and dropped her fur coat in the middle of the stage.

RITA MORENO, Kennedy Center honoree: The moment she “casually” dropped her massive mink coat onto the stage was one for the ages.

MINOR I was playing bass right behind her. When she dropped that jacket, I almost dropped my bass. It was so in the moment — I don’t think she planned it.

 

ARETHA FRANKLIN (speaking with vogue.com in 2016) I wasn’t sure about the air factor onstage, and air can mess with the voice from time to time. And I didn’t want to have that problem that evening. It’s been a long time since I’ve done Kennedy Center, and I wanted to have a peerless performance. Once I determined that the air was all right while I was singing, I said, “Let’s get out of this coat! I’m feeling it. Let’s go!”

WEISS Of all the television I’ve done, and there’s been a lot, this was one of the most viral clips. I was in the TV truck, in the loading dock behind the stage, watching the monitors for the 14 cameras. Not only was I seeing what was going on, but I’m seeing reactions in the crowd, and I’m making choices of what’s going to go on the air. There was such electricity in the room — part of it might be because of how moved Carole King was. During that show, a lot of the audience will look to see how the honoree responds. When something like this happens, all your plans go out the window and you’re capturing the live moments: the audience gets up on their feet and the president is wiping a tear from his eye.

TAYLOR She was in excellent form and in excellent voice. She was also funny and wry and with it — I thought she would be with us another 10 years.

MORENO She brought a prodigious talent, musicality, and down stompin’ woman’s sass to all she does.

CICELY TYSON, Kennedy Center honoree She had the most beautiful face. You could see her emotions in her face as well as hear them in her voice. It was no surprise when the audience stood up — you can’t sit and listen to her and not be moved. After she finished, she came off the stage and she had a huge bouquet of flowers. She walked up the aisle and an audience member joked, “Are those for me?” She said, “I’m sorry, they’re for my lady,” and she brought them right to me and put them in my arms.

KENNEDY She was up in the stratosphere with those riffs, but every cell of her being seemed to be in the music. There was nothing else, just her and the song. That’s what we try to do as artists — we try to get to where she was that night.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page C4 of the New York edition with the headline: When ‘A Natural Woman’ Blew the Roof Off.
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Got a mint? Michelle O and George W “Reminds us how great we are”


 

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The image of George W handing Michelle B a piece of candy at John McCain’s funeral broke the net today.

The Obama’s and Bush’s have grown close over the years

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Especially Michelle and George W.

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John McCain reportedly planned his funeral.  President Obama said, he was surprised by his invitation to speak.   Who knew the passing of hard candy would warm America’s heart.

At the funeral , his daughter Meghan, said “America was always Great” .   Images like these remind us.

After your death, we are still learning for you.   Thank you. Senator McCain!

CityFella

Them and They on Right Wing Radio


Close-up of the 1965 AM radio

“Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads, and I hate to be generalized about it, but it’s true. If you look at all the educational statistics, how are you going to get jobs for people who aren’t qualified for jobs?”

“:Bill O’Reilly 4/11/16 Regarding African American Unemployment.

_______________________________________________________________

I’ve listened to a lot of right wing radio in the last few days as I drive thorough the southwest.  Much of  it was entertaining and insightful.  Left wing radio is difficult to find unless you have satellite radio and  I like hearing from both sides.

One topic on Am radio in Albuquerque yesterday was race relations.  According to a Gallup poll, concerns over race have reached 15 year high.   Of course this topic would begin as I am nearing my hotel after a long drive.

The host and some of the callers believed with a black president, race relations should be better.  He went on to say, that things are much better for African Americans when you compare today to the sixties.

All the callers were white. Many of the callers blamed Obama for fanning the flames of racism.      Other were mad, blaming black people, some believed the racism was reversed with black people being racist towards white people.   The terms, them and they was used frequently.

One man said he was a redneck married to a black woman and they worked in the same office and he was angry!      Another man called in to say that  white people love African Americans, we love the players (sports).   One man  said he worked for a Police Department and was up for a promotion and was told the next seven promotions would go to black officers and that when he began resenting blacks.

A man said his  daughter was pasted over for a black child in a private school.  Trump is gonna make things better as people are mad!

The host and a caller quoted Martin Luther King (content vs color of a persons skin) and wondered what he would think if he were alive?

I wondered where were the callers of color?  Albuquerque has a small black population but a large population of Hispanics. Where were my Latino brothers?

So I pulled over and called the station.

When they picked up I said “Black Man here”

On air, I told  him, Obama is a single drop of rain.  To expect the one drop to change the course of this nations is unrealistic.    The first women , the first Jew, will have challenges.

As a baby boomer, I have seen and been a victim of discrimination.  Have seen black and brown people having their basic rights discarded.  To see it again via Social Media is difficult and serves as a reminder that little has changed.   This is the first time for young black and browns seeing this for the first time.   We’ve known about it for some time. but to see it played out again and again with very few officers convicted for killing unarmed people is  just a very painful reminder that our lived don’t matter!

The Host was very respectful and didn’t hang up.  Which happens when I call right wing radio.       As I made the left turn towards my hotel.  It occurred to me, the reason no one of color didn’t call in, few people of color listens to right wing radio.

I wish I could have said, for the one white person passed over for a black. Means hundred of blacks and people of color was passed over and one exception was made.

I wish I could have said, despite all the laws on the books.  People of color ,women and gays are still discriminated against.  If you name is Jesus, Soon, Meja, Lekisha, Ramirez, Jackson you may (despite your qualifications) not get a response from your resume.

You address may determine if your resume will be considered.  IN 2016.

In 2016, you may have one black, one latino per office. Successful Integration is when the workplace  reflects the community.

They and Them

I can almost always tell, if someone knows more than one person of a different race.or culture. This person is comfortable with nearly all people.

The person who has a single friend or co-worker or acquaintance  who is of a different race or culture.   Will often say, ” I have a white friend and they……… or use the term those people.      Often becoming an authority on an entire race or culture based on an  interaction with a single person.  The person who has little contact with people outside their race often use “Them” or Those people.

How often do you refer to a friend and their family as :They, They or Those?

I have never introduced someone as my Chinese friend and while I have been black all my life, I am no expert on all black lives.

 Bill O’Reilly works in one of the most culturally diverse cities on the plant.  It is my second home.  I have seen two black men with tattoos on their foreheads, I’ve also seen Hispanics, Caucasians, and Asians with tattoos on their foreheads.  Its not common unless you live near a tattoo parlor and even then….

CityFella

Sarah Palin’s delusional blame game: Obama isn’t responsible for her son’s domestic violence charge


Sarah Palin's delusional blame game: Obama isn't responsible for her son's domestic violence charge

Palin implies that her son Track, arrested for assaulting his girlfriend this week, has PTSD from combat

By: Mary Elizabeth Williams/Salon

Moving forward in what appears to be a campaign to win the prize for Most Incoherent Human in America, Sarah Palin this week followed up her meme-worthy epic poem of an endorsement for Donald Trump with a truly fascinating explanation for her son Track’s recent arrest for domestic abuse. It’s Obama’s fault. And that would actually be laughable if this wasn’t about a 26 year-old grown man currently charged with fourth-degree assault, fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon and interfering with a report of domestic violence.

Earlier this week, Track, who divorced his first wife in 2012, was arrested over an incident at the Wasilla home he shares with his parents. Police noted his current girlfriend had “bruising and swelling around her left eye” and described Track as “uncooperative, belligerent, and evasive with my initial line of questions.” A breath sample registered his blood alcohol level at 0.189. In her conversation with the police, Track’s girlfriend claimed he had threatened to kill himself, and an unloaded AR-15 was found near the scene. Palin denied using a weapon but told police “that they were spread throughout both residences on the property.”

Track Palin was serving in Iraq as an air guard in the “Arctic Wolves,” the Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, during his mother’s 2008 bid for vice president. He is routinely described in the press as a combat veteran, though some within the veteran community, based on Palin’s discharge paperwork, dispute his actual combat duty.

But in a speech in Oklahoma on Wednesday, Sarah Palin said, “I guess it’s kind of the elephant in the room because my own family going through what we’re going through today with my son, a combat vet… like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to the country.” Then she zoomed in the real problem, saying, “When my own son is going through what he goes though coming back, I can certainly relate to other families who feel these ramifications of PTSD… our soldiers do return with. And it makes me realize more than ever it is now or never for the sake of America’s finest that we have a commander-in-chief who will respect them. They have to question if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top. The question, though, that comes from our own president where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America?”

So you’re strongly implying that your son is suffering PTSD the day after boasting of being “proud clingers of our guns,” the same week he gets arrested with a weapons charge? And hasn’t it been over a year since “a verbal and physical altercation” involving Track and other family members, one that a police spokesperson said that “alcohol was believed to have been a factor” in? And did you really not once mention the woman who’s the alleged victim of your son’s behavior? Yeah, thanks, Obama.

A year ago, Palin spoke out about mental health issues and veterans, telling a Conservative Political Action Conference audience, “As we gather here, we’re safe, we’re secure, we’re having fun, four days together at a conference. In those four days, 92 of our veterans will have taken their lives.” Whatever is really going on inside Track Palin’s own head — and we don’t know because there’s no prior indication he’s been diagnosed with PTSD — the mental health issues for veterans are serious, and affect not just them but their families and partners. But if you want to blame Obama for the undeniably far from perfect VA, you still can’t say the president’s one for dropping the ball on mental health funding in general, and mental health funding for veterans in particular. Mental services for vets expanded since Obama took office, including the signing of a 2009 bill to provide $4.6 billion “for mental health care to treat the psychological wounds of returning combat veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder.” Obama’s 2016 budget includes $4 million for Veterans Mental Health First Aid.

Speaking this week in response to Palin’s words, Paul Rieckhoff, head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said, “It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD. PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.” He added, “Now that she has endorsed Mr. Trump, I would encourage her to talk with him about it. Mr. Trump’s campaign is pretty light on specifics about what he would do for veterans.” And if Palin is so concerned about her son’s well-being, maybe instead of complaining about what’s happening in Washington, she could keep an eye on the assault weapons and alcohol situation under her own roof.

Diane Sawyer,Anderson Cooper,Oprah Winfrey,Matt Lauer, and Robin Roberts can secretly celebrate. Barbara Waters Retires May 14th.


By CityFella

Barbara Jill Walters has been in front of the camera for more than 50 years, interviewing Kings, Queens, and Bieber’s.  She gets the interviews other journalist ,would sell their souls for.

Last week, she interviewed V. for Vannessa Stivano at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.   She also met with Donald Sterling, who decided against an on air interview Friday. 

In 1997, she and long time business partner Bill Geddie created “TheView” where she is not only the co-executive producer, she is a part time host.  This was the first time america saw an unscripted, sometimes frazzled Barbara.   The View made her approachable.

Hello Your Life is Calling? 

On the May 10, 2010, episode of The View BW announced  she would be undergoing open heart surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve. Walters said she knew for quite a while that she was suffering from aortic valve stenosis, even though she was symptom-free.   She took four months off. 

Early last year, Barbara Walters fell on a stair and cut her forehead at a party held at the British Ambassador’s residence.  She was in Washington D.C to cover President Obama’s second inauguration.

By March, there was speculation from media outlets she was retiring  May 2014.    BW  did not confirm or deny.

On May 13, she publicly announced she was retiring from television hosting and interviewing in May 2014.   She will continue as “The View’s” executive producer for as long as it’s on the air.

It isn’t easy being First

Barbara’s life is filled with first’s.  She opened the door for women in TV journalism.  Those doors were difficult, she made less, was criticized more often and humiliated for being a woman in what was considered a man field.

She has been criticized for being driven.  I think that comes from pain.

Barbara Walters and Nigel Kippling

Nigel Kipping is a fictional character originally created by Lauren Weisberger and altered by Peter Hedges  for the book and screenplay “The Devil Wears Prada” 

“In the movie Nigel say’s”

‘This is the first time in 18 years I’m going to be able to call the shots in my own life.”     ” I’m going to be able to come to Paris and actually see Paris.” 

BW , has traveled the world.  I suspect her home is filled with many souvenirs. But how much of the world she has actually seen?

Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Oprah Winfrey, Matt Lauer, and Robin Roberts 

Can finally exhale, the queen is retiring.  Yes, you love, honor and respect her.

Let’s hope Donald Sterling or the next news maker can wait ten days.

For next 9 days, you will continue to do, what you have always done, gnash your teeth.

 

 

Bad Week for Rush Limbaugh, Remember When He Was Funny?


(Was that a brick?)

Funny is funny.  There was a time when Rush Limbaugh‘s show was funny.  There were bits, no they weren’t PC.   He was entertaining, I never  listened  to his entire show as his views  were often too far right of my beliefs.

Then one day, he became the voice of the right.   Humor was replaced with the pulpit, his listeners became  part of his congregation .  “Listen to me, I can save the country”     Back in the day, when he took jabs at the news makers of the day, some people laughed.    Today, few see the humor.  Twenty years ago when he called feminist-“Feminazi‘s  many people laughed, today few do.

The turning point was last year when he called attorney Sandra Fluke, a slut and a prostitute .  This angered many Americans especially Limbaugh’s female audience.   Advertisers started leaving in mass.

The major news this week is about the three women  in Cleveland .

On Monday’s “Hawaii Five O” there was a story about  kidnapped girls held until they were 18 and then let go or killed  by a couple doing it for the welfare benefits.”.     The mind of Limbaugh fused the show with the real life events in Cleveland.

“Now I don’t know what happened in Cleveland, but I couldn’t help but make the connection. I mean, if everybody else in the low-information crowd is going to use what happens on TV for reality, why can’t I?  ”Limbaugh added: “Three brothers, but not related the the three women, have been arrested in Cleveland — which voted Obama. Not that that’s got anything to do with anything!”

Major advertisers are reportedly avoiding his show. Trade site Radio Ink quoted a “very high ranking Cumulus official,” who said, “Forty-eight of the top 50 network advertisers have ‘excluded Rush and Hannity‘ orders. Every major national ad agency has the same dictate.” This statement was in line with other reports about the ad market’s hostility towards Limbaugh.

Talk radio is entertainment, broadcasters carefully tailor their rhetoric to a specific audience .  The host are employees, most don’t believe every thing they say because at the end of the day its just a job.    A job like your  job, where we often say things to clients or customers that we don’t  fully believe or policies ‘ we don’t embrace.

Back in the day, Rush  had a sense of humor, today  the 61 year old  rarely smiles .  His audience is still the largest in the country and  through the years Rush Limbaugh has become one of the most powerful men in America.   For some on the right it’s Rush then God.

Back in the 90’s  I listened to Rush every day , today its less than 30 minutes a week .   I try to listen to differing points of view, right, middle and left. Humor will hold my attention because  funny is funny.

The man I found funny twenty years ago is  an annoying hum today.

CityFella 

Licking your own snot- It’s cranky Friday


Flu, Gun Control, American Idol, Justin Timberlake .

First things first, its flu-cold season

Like millions of americans  I have the flu and I’m cranky .Like millions of americans I still have to work, to keep the lights on.   I sneeze and cough into a tissue, towel, or news paper.   I’m not shaking hands as this is no joke.  No kissing, or intimate conversations and on public transit, people appreciate when you sneeze into the newspaper.

Here in Sacratomatoville the extremely cold weather is making things worse….

If your over 12, tasting your own snot isn’t cute, get a friggin tissue-a bath towel, your dripping nose wasn’t new when you left home-I don’t want to see your tongue wiping away your snot.   Your just nasty! 

 Be offended ,if I don’t want change from you, after I’ve watched you wipe your snot on to your hands.  No thank’s I like my bills dry!   Fool! 

Told ya I was cranky!

Men, there are a few of you who like to blow your nose commando(no tissue-handkerchief) style, blow, drip and wipe with your bare hands.   Many of you question why your single….I don’t,you nasty ass bastards!

No one’ coming for my nephews guns.  Guns he purchased legally and is registered to him.   No ones preventing him from teaching his teenage daughter how to properly use a gun.      If you listen to the NRA and other extremist this is just the beginning.   In 1994, Ronald, Reagan — who as president had signed 1986 legislation loosening restrictions on guns — wrote a letter with former Presidents Ford and Carter to the House of Representatives urging them to vote in favor of the ban.

“We are writing to urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety,” the letter said.

“While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons,” the letter said concluding.

No one is trying to take away guns and rifles from hunters.    The NRA seems to be out of step with many of its members who support the ban.      In many states where there are  strict gun laws, California and New York comes to mind shooting with  assault rifles  are few.     Many states add surge charges for cigarettes and tobacco products as those products not only affect the user but the public at large.   If I were a law maker I would take it a step further by adding  an additional tax on the ammunition for these weapons, to help pay for mental health clinics.

I think what bothers me the most is the NRA’s position on background checks.

The young man in Aurora, Colorado had thousands of rounds of ammunition .      A few days after the Newtown massacre.  Police found 47 guns and ammunition hidden throughout the home of 66 year old  Von I. Meyer.  Meyer  threatened to set his wife  on  fire then told is wife  he would kill her “at the school” and “would kill as many people as he could before police could stop him.  His wife works at the cafeteria at Jane Ball Elementary School, less than 1,000 feet from the couple’s home in Cedar Lake, Indiana.

The NRA’s Vice President believes and armed guards would prevent the shootings,  He  also said the best “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun,“is a good guy with a gun.”       One wonders if the bullets used by the good guys knows the difference between the bad guys or an innocent bystander?   The other question with an armed guard stationed at one part of the school prevent the shooter from entering the school from another area of the school?      If  your a gun advocate,  read the Presidents proposal first (he’s not coming for gun).

Barbie a Gangsta?                  Who let Joan Collins In?

I can’t believe I’m saying this…..   Thank Gawd for Randy Jackson is on American Idol this season.   Long tired of his DAWG Schick for a while now, but he and  the Ultra smooth Keith Urban  is trying to keep this competition show from becoming  Jersey Shore on Fox.      Nicki, no REAL  Gangsta would have followers calling themselves barbz.  Nicki you need a man?  It seems you ask every other male if he is single.   Mariah dahling, your just too much dahling,but sweetie dahling uses from Long Island but your tude isn’t down the block  but in the palace.    The Dynasty hype didn’t help Idol’s ratings.  The Premier episode was the lowest in history of the show…  “Hooray for Hollywood

There is only one Justin an his last name isn’t Bieber

Listen to his first single in seven years….

CityFella