'How Great Thou Art' - Carrie Underwood's

It's no surprise that country music fans were expecting the TV special Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country, which was ribbon at the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards weekend earlier this month and aired Friday night on CBS. However, it was a gospel song do at the show that unexpectedly crossed all boundary lines and created a viral sensation over the weekend.

Carrie Underwood was just one of many enormous names in the all-star lineup, but her duet with Vince Gill of the classic normal "How Great Thou Art" managed to bring down the entire house--and internet, at that.

If that weren't enough, the video of the presentation has received nearly a million views, and has drawn extraordinarily high praise--with comments ranging from "Wow! God was in the house," "I am not a Christian but this is truly good-looking," "She is an angel" to "This is the most moving version of that song I have ever heard," "She rocks 'em and socks 'em," "I'm speechless."

One user even went where most dare not tread, and contrasted Underwood to the King himself--"I thought that nobody could come shut to live this song like Elvis did during hisconcerts. I was wrong; Carrie put her heart and soul into this amazing version!"

Underwood and Gill's fellow stars in the audience appeared moved by the presentation, as well. Martina McBride stares fascinated at the stage, the ordinarily humorous Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert watch respectfully, while Sugarland's Kristian Bush nods his head and Jennifer Nettles mouths "What a voice."
After drumming the final, climactic notes, Underwood wrapped the powerful presentation up with a hug for Gill. Then, she wiped away a few tears...and faced a standing ovation from her peers. How great, indeed.

Mechanical Animal: Lady Gaga's Insane Album Wrap Is the Best Part of 'Born This Way'

Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" is very closely linked with the motorcycle road movie Easy Rider. That's the main clue we're working with today in our study into why Lady Gaga decided to make her Born This Way album wrap an odd mix of a calendar hanging in a mechanic's office crossed with the roaring jaguar on the cover of Roxy Music's For Your Pleasure.

Obviously some of Gaga's fans don't care for the cover, but it's our favorite part of Born This Way yet by a long shot. Little Monsters are so upset, there's in fact a theory circulating that Gaga is revealing her fans three times, and that the cover she tweeted is a fake.

Here are their primary complaints:

It looks like it Cost $2 and a Photoshop Intern to Make: "Love you Gaga-always will but this album cover is just........cheap looking," tweeted Cristink3. "Gaga I really love u but this cover is awful, very mediocre and unprofessional...I'm in shock. Please do not dissapoint your fans," added Iotiprego.

It Lacks Certain... Je Ne Sais Quoi: "wait, is this serious? With all due respect, i expected something ... classier?" complained Cglink. "I think this looks like random fan ar," Alan_PB wrote.

It doesn’t seem to relate to the Music: "Gaga I'm so disappointed! I love u but this cover is not pop, rock or even 70's metal. It sucks. :S," sniffed Thisislordl. "No graphic designer in their right mind would approve of such an atrocious font, and not only that, It has an awful metallic- looking bevel and emboss! It is terrible," wrote bleakc.

Gaga tweeted the artwork with a note that referenced a "highway unicorn" and implored fans to "'get your hot rods ready to rumble." Make of that what you will. But the good news is plenty of people are making something out of that ludicrously incredible album cover, like Rolling Stone did when Adam Lambert released his similarly wackadoo For Your Entertainment artwork. Gawker put together a small gallery of great Born This Way parodies, and we highly recommend you check that out.

Rihanna a finalist for 18 Billboard Music Awards

Rihanna is leading the set as a finalist for the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.

The finalists were proclaimed Wednesday, and Rihanna got herself into 18 spots including Top Hot 100 Artist and Top Female Artist. Love the Way You Lie, her collaboration with Eminem, makes her a force to be reckoned in six song categories.

Eminem isn’t far behind; he’s a finalist in 16 categories. Lady Gaga is up for 12 awards and Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber are up for 11 each.

The Billboard Music Awards show will air May 22 on ABC, when winners in all 46 categories will be proclaimed. Chart-topper Rihanna will perform, as will the Black Eyed Peas, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and more.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was back.

The men and women in black and white come into view in Orchestra Hall on Saturday night for the first time after a corrosive six-month strike, having reached an agreement with management last week.

Detroiters broke up free tickets for the hastily arranged reunion. People stood in the back of the hall and a screen was set up for the run over. Dozens were turned away. Many appeared to be newcomers to the hall, and dress was a mix of ties, bandannas, pearls and T-shirts. Couples clutched hands and some in the audience teared up. Shouts of “Yeah!” and whoops and whistles sounded in the middle of the applause.

“Welcome home,” said the music director, Leonard Slatkin. “It’s been the longest six months,” a period to be and put in the past, he said. “This evening is about celebration. It’s about you.”

The moment was about amazing more than the end of a bitter labor argument. The sounds of music at the hall (along with the Tigers’ victory in their home opener on Friday) were like the chirpings of a bird in the bleak days of late winter. It finally meant some good news in a town so often explained as hollowed out, shriveled up and deserted.

The census figures in March were the latest dark development. They showed that over the past decade the population fallen by a quarter in Detroit, where a fifth of the lots are vacant, and the city’s leaders are knocking down 10,000 empty residential buildings.

At the least the orchestra stays alive, albeit with the phrase “near-death experience” repeated often. Detroiters are used to seeing businesses go bust, leaving workers — on strike or not — without jobs. The strike played out, sometimes cruelly and to a large degree over Facebook, as the governor in nearby Wisconsin sought to cut back on collective bargaining rights, fueling a national debate over the place of unions in society.

The strike ended a dispute over pay cuts that the players said would turn them into a second-class orchestra, along with changes in work rules that they said would detract from the mission of presenting top symphonic performances. Management said Detroit had simply run out of money to pay for an orchestra at its old level of spending.
A number of other major orchestras — including those in Philadelphia, New York and Boston — are facing or undergoing negotiations for new contracts, and the outcome here will be scrutinized by musicians and their employers.

Despite the Saturday night love fest serious problems remain. Even with the cost savings, the symphony is projecting a yearly deficit of $3 million and labors under a $54 million debt from the music center that was built to supplement its hall, a 1919 gem that seats 2,000 people.

Miley Cyrus and Charlie Sheen Trade Flattering Tweets

Miley Cyrus has only been back on Twitter for a few days, but she has already revealed strange obsessions with both mustaches and Charlie Sheen.

When Cyrus rejoined the service a few days ago -- she had quit in October 2009 -- she listed the factors at the back her return, which we're hoping she doesn't weight equally in meaning:

"'Do not fear...the Sheenius is here!' I'm not gonna lie. I came back to twitter for 2 reasons. My fans and to follow @charliesheen #winning," she wrote.

Well, now the Twitter love affair has urbanized.

Sheen, never missing an opportunity to self-promote, wrote the following to Cyrus:

"Dear Miley, Welcome back to Twitter! Always felt you were epic... Now you proved it! Thanks for the love! ybh c @gypsyhearttour."

Cyrus responded: "@charliesheen I always felt the same about you! You have trained me everything I know about WINNING. Duh!"

And she apparently can't get Sheen off her mind, later tweeting to a friend of hers that he had been replaced by @charliesheen as her BFF, and then writing, "Makin dinner for my fam right now. Honey sesame chicken, garlic rice & salad. There's only one thing missing & that's @charliesheen YBH!"

If we were counseling Sheen, we'd try to get Cyrus to stop by his tour, which would at least renew interest in his deteriorating pop-cultural stock for a day or two.

'The Music Never Stopped' gives the healing power of rock music its due

Music has charms to calm the savage breast. All kinds of music . . . even rock 'n' roll.

Especially rock 'n' roll. In the four-hankie "The Music Never Stopped," a father reconnects with his brain-damaged son by acceptance another generation's music.

Jim Kohlberg's straighting debut is based on a real-life case study travel around by neurologist Oliver Sacks in the essay "The Last Hippie." It's an audience-friendly drama about family, disagreement and the curative power of music.

Set in the mid-1980s in upstate New York, the film centers on Henry and Helen Sawyer (J.K. Simmons, Cara Seymour), who learn that their long-estranged son Gabriel (Lou Taylor Pucci) has been found living on the streets.

Now 35, Gabriel has a brain tumor. It's removed, but so is his ability to produce new memories. Sometimes he talks in old advertising slogans; often he's catatonic.

The one thing he reacts to is music. Henry engages a therapist (Julia Ormond), who discovers that the patient comes alive when pay attention to tunes popular before the tumor began its ugly work. True, he thinks it's still 1969, but he can recall tiny details, make jokes and talk continually and enthusiastically about his favorite songs.

The problem is that Henry, who loves the big-band sound, illogically blames rock music for his son's estrangement. The only way they can truly converse is for Henry to immerse himself in "that damn music" of the '60s. More specifically, the Grateful Dead.

"Music" isn't always the most elegant film writers Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks sometimes falter when balancing the film's present with the many flashbacks but it has a huge heart and great acting.

Simmons, perennially one of the best behind actors in American film and TV, gets a rare leading role and deftly negotiates the divide between Henry's parental love and his almost ridiculous hatred of rock.

Watching this film, a boomer experiences the same alteration as Gabriel. Certain songs right away take us back to when we first heard them.

Once it's lodged in your brain, a good song isn't going wherever. It's there for the duration.