Carrie Underwood song to kick of Super Bowl coverage: Monday’s latest on the Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles will be playing in the third Super Bowl in team history on Sunday, Feb. 4. Super Bowl LII, or 52, will be a rematch against the team the Eagles faced the last time they were in the NFL championship, the New England Patriots. Make sure to check back throughout the day leading up to the big game for the latest updates on Eagles coverage. 11:10 a.m.:  Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and multi-platinum recording artist Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” will open NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LII this Sunday, Feb. 4. The hit song, which features Ludacris, was released earlier this month 10:16 a.m. : The Super Bowl is hitting close home for Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen. Allen grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, which is about 30 miles west of Minneapolis. “Crazy to think that after all these years this kid from Minnetonka is headed home for the Super Bowl,” Allen wrote on Twitter. “It’s been a (heck) of a journey.” 9:10 a.m. : Eagles coach Doug Pederson gave the players some free time after they arrived at their team hotel Sunday afternoon. Several players, including defensive end Brandon Graham and running back Corey Clement, were spotted browsing in the Mall of America, which is adjacent to their hotel. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Graham visited Game Stop while Clement, who is from Glassboro, bought Continue Reading

InnerTube: Carrie Underwood’s top tip for ‘American Idol’ hopefuls

Carrie Underwood, one of the most successful singers to come out of "American Idol," has some advice for future "Idol" competitors. "Any contestant who does well on 'Idol' has to stay true to what people voted for," Underwood recently told reporters in a conference call. "I've seen it happen a few times where people are one thing on the show and then they get off the show and try to do something else. That's really strange because 'Idol' is one of those things where [audiences] are telling you what they want. It's the best testing form that you can possibly have." Underwood is set to host the "Carrie Underwood: All-Star Holiday Special," airing tonight at 8 on Fox. The two-hour variety show will feature music from her new album as well as previous hits, holiday classics, collaborations with guest stars Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley and David Cook and short sketches, including one with Kristin Chenoweth and Christina Applegate. "We ended up doing a medley of throwback songs from the '50s and '60s, with matching pink dresses and beehives," said Underwood. "They showed up and they were willing to do whatever we needed them to do. Three blonds. We had fun together." A big 'Apple' welcome for Sliwa Curtis Sliwa won't be on the sidelines for long after leaving WABC (770 AM). He says he will start Jan. 11 as the morning host on WNYM (970 AM), known as "The Apple." Sliwa did several morning stints at WABC in his 18 years there and said he was eager to get back to mornings. WNYM has a syndicated talk lineup that includes another former WABC morning man, Mike Gallagher, but it has so far made little dent in the local ratings. Sliwa gives the station a local morning host and a higher profile - though its signal has less coverage than those of WABC or WOR (710 AM). Sliwa also shut down any reports or wishes that his new show could reunite him with his former WABC partner, Ron Kuby. Since Kuby testified in court for Sliwa's archenemy, John (Junior) Gotti, said Sliwa, "I can barely Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood, Little Jimmy Dickens, Taylor Swift make Kanye West the butt of jokes at CMA awards

Kanye West was nowhere near Wednesday night's Country Music Association Awards, but the rapper's reputation was very much present. Hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley took a swipe at the rapper when they opened the awards ceremony with the song, "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys." "Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Kanye," they sang. "Let 'em pick guitars and drive 'em ol' trucks. Cowboys have manners, they don't interrupt." During the show's opening monologue, Paisley made a reference to reality TV's overexposed Gosselin family, pointing out that the award show audience was full of people who appreciate and respect each other. "That's what I love about the CMAs," he said. "We get along on this show. We're like one big slightly dysfunctional family. We're like George Strait Plus 8." But West's infamous stage rush wasn't to be brushed aside. When Underwood told Paisley that his song, "Welcome to the Future," was "one of my favorite videos of all time," the singer was interrupted by a surprising stage crasher. As Paisley began to thank his video team, 88-year-old country legend Little Jimmy Dickens walked onto the stage to stop the singer's faux speech. "Excuse me! Excuse me sir! I'll let you finish later. Now Brad Paisley, I know you had a nice video and all that, but Taylor Swift made the best video of all time!" Dickens yelled as the camera showed a laughing Swift in the audience. "You go girl!" Following Swift's recent hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live," in which she took a dig at West during the show's monologue, the country music singer didn't let her VMA nemesis live down his temper tantrum when she graciously accepted the night's highest honor. When Taylor Swift accepted the Entertainer of the Year award, the country cutie gushed, "I want to thank every single person in this room tonight for not running up on the stage during this speech." While the night's jokes were all in good Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood slams ex Tony Romo in Esquire: ‘I would never immortalize a guy that did me wrong’

Carrie Underwood isn't wasting any time on her ex, Tony Romo. The country crooner recently told Esquire magazine that her hit song, "Cowboy Casanova," was definitely not about the NFL quarterback. "No. I would never immortalize a guy that did me wrong," Underwood told the men's magazine. "I would never give him that much credit."Underwood, who won the fourth season of "American Idol," briefly dated the Dallas Cowboys teammate in 2007. "Point blank, [Romo] is about football," she said. "I don't know if it's that I'm not quite his type or whatever, but I don't think he's at the point in his life where he would be willing to sacrifice football."He hated so much that people thought that he was paying more attention to me and that was causing him to not do well." The country singer, who is known for hits like "Before He Cheats," also revealed that life off stage is lonely. "As you step off that stage, you're pretty much alone," revealed the 26-year-old singer, who is currently dating hockey player Mike Fisher. Jessica Simpson later dated Romo — who broke up with her the day before her 29th birthday — though she admitted to penning a song about the athlete, "Back in My Old Boots." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Country singer Carrie Underwood, Ottawa Senators’ Mike Fisher officially engaged

Best of the restGoing to the chapel: Country crooner Carrie Underwood and hockey player Mike Fisher are officially engaged. "It's true," says the Ottawa Senators center, who popped the question Sunday. "We're both obviously excited and very happy." Let's just hope he doesn't cheat - judging by a certain song we've heard once or twice, Underwood is into tire-slashing.usmagazine.comZoe Saldana says there's a reason she's drawn to sci-fi fare like her box-office smash, "Avatar": She's a nerd. "It's been like preaching to my choir, because I was considered ... a geek," says the actress. "I loved stories that helped me escape, and those happened to be the stories that fall into the category of geekiness. So, therefore, I am a proud geek!" people.comDef Leppard is getting animated. The '80s rock band has signed a deal with a music publishing company that will develop branding opportunities - including a cartoon. The TV project is still in the early stages, but word is, it will depict the "Love Bites" rockers in a fictional, adventurous setting - big hair and guitars included.billboard.comAlec Baldwin was expecting to bare his derriere in the upcoming "It's Complicated" - so why did co-star Meryl Streep  get to stay clothed? "Well, the director [Nancy Meyers] is a woman, and she wants to protect her leading lady," jokes Baldwin. "The men are just toys to her. I was like a little Ken doll - a 51-year-old Ken doll." Either way, Meyers didn't get a chance to overexpose the actor: Baldwin demanded a "butt double." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Life after ‘American Idol’: Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood found success after reality show

Fantasia Barrino has had her highs and lows since winning "American Idol" six years ago. Tonight at 10, she returns to TV with her own reality show that follows her balancing career and single motherhood. With VH1's "Fantasia for Real" the R&B/soul singer proves her ability to stay in the spotlight — unlike some other "Idol" winners. While some are breaking records and branching into new territories, others haven't enjoyed the same success. As the singing competition's ninth season kicks off tomorrow, here's how these "Idol" alumni stack up. KELLY CLARKSON, Season 1 On the show: A former cocktail waitress from Texas, Clarkson won hearts with her wholesome image and powerful pipes. In the show's very first finale, she took on curly-haired cutie Justin Guarini. While Las Vegas bookmakers made Guarini a 5-to-6 favorite, the "Idol" judges pulled for Clarkson. They were right. She scored 58 percent of votes from the American public over Guarini's 42 percent. Post-"Idol": The 27-year-old has gone on to be one of the most successful stars to come out of the show. "Breakaway," her second album, won two Grammy Awards. Her single "My Life Would Suck Without You," from her fourth album, "All I Ever Wanted," shot from No. 97 to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in its first week of release, breaking the record for the largest jump to the top. Clarkson is the highest-selling "Idol" alum, with more than 23 million albums sold worldwide. She's now working on her fifth album. RUBEN STUDDARD, Season 2 On the show: The likable pop/soul singer from Alabama earned the nickname Velvet Teddy Bear for his soft-spoken personality. On "Idol," his voice was praised by legends like Lionel Richie, Neil Sedaka, Luther Vandross and Gladys Knight. Studdard was up against Clay Aiken in the end, and ultimately won the competition by only 134,000 votes out of 24 million cast. Post-"Idol": Studdard's first album, "Soulful" (2003), debuted at No. 1 and went platinum. He Continue Reading

Ex-‘Idol’ Carrie Underwood can sing, but her topics of song are getting bland

Carrie Underwood takes a break from hosting to sing her own songs for an hour Tuesday night, and you just wish the results had a little more sparkle. That probably won't be an issue for her fans, who have made her one of the most popular artists in country music these days and will sing along with every word of "Jesus Take the Wheel" or "All-American Girl." She performs most of her hits over this hour, which was recorded in a small theater where a few lucky fans also got to ask her questions between songs, like whether she feels any pressure from being a role model. That part is okay. She's a hard worker who has earned what she's getting. But before the hour is up, a sameness settles over the show, which may have less to do with Underwood than with the country-music industry. Since the industry realized a few years back that it would attract more baby-boom-era fans with safe rock-guitar riffs than with pedal steel, country writers and producers have developed a winning formula that, unfortunately, just doesn't have much distinction. Underwood is the perfect vehicle for this sound, since she comes out of the "American Idol" machine, which teaches presentation, packaging and the importance of servicing the mainstream. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with a good mainstream pop song, or with Underwood. It just means that too often on this special, it feels like she's delivering a product. When she chokes up as she talks about writing the downbeat "Temporary Home," and adds that she hopes she can make it through the song without crying, we can almost hear Paula Abdul saying, "Carrie, when you did that, you were so brave. We cried with you." And she'd probably be right. Hit for hit, Underwood could arguably be the biggest "American Idol" winner of all, ahead of even Kelly Clarkson. But as she rolls through the hits on "Invitation Only," too little sounds distinctive. There's nothing wrong with her topics. Faith, love, heartache and Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood takes us on ‘Carnival Ride’

"American Idol" fans like their stars to sing big and busy. That encourages some of them to throw their voices around with such wacky abandon it's as if they were being paid by the note.Somehow that never happened to Carrie Underwood, the most country-savvy of the kids shot to stardom by the "Idol" juggernaut. She's a first-class power hitter to be sure - more so than ever on her just-released second CD, "Carnival Ride." But Underwood prefers to focus her belts, offering few embellishments or melismas along the way.That honed quality has made Underwood one of the more impressive of the show's alums, and apparently the second-most successful (after Kelly Clarkson).Her 2005 debut, "Some Hearts," sold nearly 6 million copies and bagged her a Grammy as Best New Artist. She has since complained about how quickly that album had to be thrown together, but it didn't show. "Hearts" had the bright tunemanship and clever/corny lyrics that can forgive even the slickest of Nashville products.The same goes for "Carnival Ride." No wonder one of its catchiest songs is the one that most cravenly milks Underwood's Cinderella shtick. "Crazy Dreams" offers a brisk ode to "hairbrush singers, dashboard drummers and air guitarists" everywhere.Underwood had a hand in writing that cut herself (or at least a finger in it, given the two other names that crowd the credit). Either way, at least Underwood tried to get more of her own perspective into this album, contributing to five of the songs, up from just one on her debut.She indulges few somber reflections along the way. There's "Just a Dream," about a newlywed whose husband gets killed in the war. But mainly Underwood prefers to play either a feisty character (sniping back at men who only make her prefer her dog) or a philosophical one (rehashing the slick faith that served her so commercially well in her guilty-pleasure breakthrough single "Jesus, Take the Wheel").Still, it's the muscularity of Underwood's voice, more than the material, Continue Reading

Two guys from Wisconsin are behind hits from the likes of Demi Lovato and Carrie Underwood

Lucas Keller describes his younger self as myopic. He wanted desperately to be in the music business and manage bands — not an easy dream for a guy from Greenfield. After four years at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Keller was a handful of credits away from a degree and was already managing a few bands. But he started another semester and realized his heart just wasn't in it.Keller needed to make a move — out of college, and out of Wisconsin."I just knew I wouldn't be able to stay," Keller said. He dropped out, moved to Chicago in 2006 and joined a talent management company. A few years later, in 2009, he headed to Los Angeles.Today, at age 33, Keller heads his own talent management agency, Milk & Honey, which is responsible for some of music's biggest hits, including a song topping the Billboard charts right now, "Sorry Not Sorry" by Demi Lovato. And the No. 2 guy in his company is a fellow Wisconsinite.The journey to this point took a few unexpected turns.Keller always thought he would manage musicians. But after he sat in a courtroom with his childhood-favorite band, Stone Temple Pilots, negotiating the group's split in 2013, Keller wanted to take a break from bands.Frankly, they were a pain.He worked for a large management company, The Collective, that had clients in television, film, music and comedy. Keller had been representing mostly rock acts.He began to work more with songwriters and producers. "I saw rock waning," he said. "And pop was bigger than ever. I thought everything was going to become pop. I decided to leave and start Milk & Honey."Rebuilding processMilk & Honey started out as just Keller working from his house. The idea was to run a small, focused music company. He pulled away from rock music and began rebuilding his client list. Grammy Award-winning musician David Hodges was an early client — one of a handful that Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood rocks the CMA Music Festival stage during sold-out show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Carrie Underwood remembers when she first performed to thousands of country fans at the coveted Country Music Association's Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. It was June 2005, which is exactly 10 years ago this month. Fresh off an "American Idol" win, Underwood said her first big Nashville stage show was a madhouse. "It was a chaotic, with cameras flashing and a gazillion fans," Underwood said. But her main worry was remembering the words to the song she was performing onstage. "I was singing with Phil Vassar, a song I did not know," Underwood said. "I was like, `Oh Lord, don't let me screw up the words.' We somehow pulled it off OK." Now a decade later, Underwood has seven Grammy Awards and a handful of No. 1 singles on the country charts under her belt. She's a wife, a new mom, and a bona fide super star. Underwood said her pregnancy allowed her to slow down and focus on new music instead of touring. "I spent a lot of time writing and listening to new songs," Underwood said. "I feel like now we're on the right track and in a really good place." Before her sold-out performance at the 2015 CMA Music Festival Saturday night, Underwood admitted she was a bit nervous. It was her first big stadium show since giving birth to her son, Isaiah, back in February. But when she hit the stage with her hit "Blown Away," there was no sign of nerves. Strutting in her bejeweled hot-pants and matching vest, Underwood brought her fans at LP Field to their feet, even asking them to get sassy before jumping into the song, "Undo It." Underwood slowed things down but still held the crowd's attention with the emotional "Something in the Water," off last year's "Greatest Hits: Decade (hash)1" release. She ended her seven-song set by bringing down the house with a resounding, "Before He Cheats." In the crowd, and on their Continue Reading