May 20

Madonna — surprise! — stirs controversy with Eurovision Song Contest performance

Michael Campanella/Getty ImagesAs recently as last Thursday, it reportedly wasn't even a certainty that Madonna would perform at the Eurovision Song Contest.  But Sunday's annual competition, held this year in Tel Aviv, Israel, did indeed feature a performance by Madonna -- one that included a highlight that's drawing decidedly mixed reviews.

At issue: when Madonna and rapper Quavo of Migos performed their latest single, "Future," a series of dancers walked in pairs up a large staircase, while Madonna and Quavo performed at its summit.  The final pair of ascending dancers had the Israeli and Palestinian flags displayed on their backs.

Mideast politics being what it is, that act alone was enough to ignite the predictable partisan backlash.  But contest organizers, including the European Broadcast Union, took issue because the event -- which features singers and musical artists representing different countries -- is supposed to be non-political, and organizers didn't sanction display of the flags.

For her part, Madonna defended her action after the fact, posting on her socials, "Madame X is a freedom fighter................I am grateful. For the opportunity to spread the message of peace and unity with the world."

Iceland's entry also drew the disapproval of organizers for displaying the Palestinian flag while votes were being tallied.

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   May 20

Party with Hardy! Laine beats Alejandro Aranda to win ‘American Idol’

ABC/Eric McCandlessThe votes are in, and our new American Idol is -- Laine Hardy.

This season came to a close with an epic three-hour finale Sunday night, complete with a real-time vote that whittled the finalists from three down to two, until finally the winner was crowned.

After the first round of solo performances, Madison VanDenberg was the first to go, leaving Laine and Alejandro Aranda facing off for the title. Despite Alejandro impressively performing all-original music the entire night -- and the judges hinting that he was their favorite -- America clearly wanted to party with Hardy, voting Laine as their American Idol. It was a second chance for the 18-year-old Louisiana native, after first having appeared on the show last season.


Laine delivered flawless and confident performances throughout the night, including songs that reflected his roots, like “Home” by Marc Broussard and “Jambalaya (on the Bayou)” by Hank Williams. Alejandro’s original tunes included tunes titled “Millennial Love,” “Tonight,” and his heartfelt audition song, “Out Loud.”

While Laine duetted with country singer Jon Pardi on two songs, Alejandro opted to perform an original composition called “10 Years,” backed by an orchestra wearing signature Alejandro beanies.

After Laine was announced the winner, he performed the winner's song, "Flame," to close the show.

The finalists weren’t the only ones who got stage time last night. Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan also performed, along with a couple of American Idol alumni and various country, rock and pop acts.

Here are some of the highlights:

Lionel opened the show with his classic song "Dancing on the Ceiling" with the top 10. Katy performed her latest single, "Con Calma," with Latin star Daddy Yankee, and sang her hit "Unconditionally" with top-10 finalist Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. Luke sang "Every Breath You Take" with Laci Kaye Booth, as well as his current single, "Knockin' Boots."



Madison returned to the stage after her elimination to sing "Speechless" with country duo Dan + Shay.



American Idol season eight runner-up Adam Lambert, one of this season's mentors, sang his new single, "New Eyes," and also rocked out to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" with top-10 finalist Dimitrius GrahamAmerican Idol season four winner Carrie Underwood performed her latest hit, "Southbound."



In an unexpected emotional moment, this season’s blind contestant, Shayy, returned to sing a powerful rendition of “Rise Up” with Andra Day.

Other performances included a Kool & the Gang medley with the band and the top eight finalists, rock band Weezer and, in the most bizarre performance of the night, Montell Jordan performed “This Is How We Do It” backed by Katy Perry lookalikes doing the worm. During audition rounds, Katy infamously did the worm to that song.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 


   May 17

Louis Tomlinson gets moody in video for “Two of Us”

Huse MonfaradiLouis Tomlinson has dealt with his fair share of tragedy and loss, but the former One Direction singer is focusing his energy into creative efforts which not only help him deal with his own pain, but inspire others, too.

Louis has released a new music video for his song "Two of Us," which is inspired by the loss of his mother, Johannah Deakin, who died in 2016 at the age of 43 from leukemia.

An official release for the video states, "The deeply personal single, released in March, is his response to the passing of his mother in December 2016."

In the moody black and white video, Louis, who also lost his 18-year-old sister Félicité earlier this year, sings about calling his mother just to hear her voice again, though he knows she won't pick up.

"You'll never know how much I miss you, the day that they took you, I wish it was me instead," he continues. "But diamonds, they don't turn to dust or fade away."

In the chorus, Louis sings that he'll live one life for the "two of us."

This is technically the second version of the video. A few weeks ago, Louis shared a video which used "Two of Us" as the soundtrack for the singer's quest to help Richard, an 83-year-old widower, check items off his bucket list. Richard and his wife Pat were married for decades; two years ago, she died of Alzheimer's disease.

In the video, you see Tomlinson and Richard support each other while flying a helicopter, racing cars and going on a roller coaster together. It all ends with Richard taking the stage and singing in front of thousands of Tomlinson's fans.

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