Mariah Carey’s Manager Says ‘Rockin’ Eve’ Producers Wanted ‘Eyeballs at Any Expense,’ DCP Calls Claims ‘Frankly Absurd’

Following Mariah Carey‘s troubled performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, the singer’s manager, Stella Bulochnikov, has issued a statement to Billboard.

Carey’s headlining set, leading up to midnight, went downhill when she got to “Emotions” and “We Belong Together,” during which she said she could not hear through her in-ear monitors.

“We told them [the stage managers] that the in-ears were not working 10 minutes before the performance,” Bulochnikov says. “They then changed the battery pack, and they were still not working on the frequency four minutes before the show. We let them know again, and they just kept counting her down and reassuring her that they will work as soon as they go live, which never happened — at which point she pulled them out but could not hear the music over the crowd.”

She continues: “After the show, I called [Dick Clark Productions’] Mark Shimmel and I said, ‘What the f— happened?’ He said, ‘Let me call you back,’ then called me back and confirmed the in-ears were not working and asked if I would make a joint statement. I said, ‘No way.’ I asked him to cut the West Coast feed. He said he could not do that. I asked him why would they want to run a performance with mechanical glitches unless they just want eyeballs at any expense … It’s not artist friendly, especially when the artist cut her vacation short as a New Year’s Eve gift to them.”

BWR-PR’s Nicole Perna, a rep for Carey, previously told Billboard that “production set her up to fail.” But a production source told Billboard that Carey “had ample time to rehearse and chose not to,” instead using a body double to rehearse in her place earlier in the day and that at the time, “all was working” on the technical side.

Dick Clark Productions also provided a statement Sunday evening (Jan. 1), refuting the claims from Carey’s camp:

“As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists. To suggest that dcp, as producer of music shows including the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and Academy of Country Music Awards, would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd. In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that dcp had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance. We want to be clear that we have the utmost respect for Ms. Carey as an artist and acknowledge her tremendous accomplishments in the industry.”

So what happened and who is to blame? Billboard has spoken with multiple sources involved with the show and one indisputable fact is that there was an issue with Carey’s in-ears. According to two insiders, the audio feed was “set to the wrong frequency.” Both sources say the fault was on Carey’s tech team, which seems to support repeated claims by DCP that all was functioning properly on the show production end.

Could the show have cut to commercial, or to host Ryan Seacrest while the sound issues were worked out? Maybe, but such a proposition is tricky when the artist is two minutes into a six-minute performance, says a source. As for cutting the performance from the west coast broadcast, a backup segment would have had to be ready and Billboard has not yet been able to ascertain whether such a clip existed.  

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Reporting by Adelle Platon and Shirley Halperin.

Bluegrass Duo Dailey & Vincent to Join Grand Ole Opry

The bluegrass music super-duo of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent has been invited to become official members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Dailey & Vincent are three time-winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and three-time Grammy nominees as a duo. They will be formally inducted into the Opry on March 11.

Marking their 10th year as a duo, Dailey & Vincent have made 100 appearances at the Opry, including a performance on Friday night (Dec. 30).

During the show, Opry member Marty Stuart invited the duo to join the Opry. Dailey said the invitation is “one of the most special things that has ever happened to us.”

Hollywood Sign Vandalized to Read ‘Hollyweed’

This year is already starting on a high note.

The famed Hollywood sign was vandalized early Sunday morning to read “Hollyweed.”

In an apparent New Year’s prank, someone was able to climb up Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains, and place tarps over the two O’s on the sign to make them look like E’s, according to a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department. The incident was caught on surveillance cameras and the LAPD is investigating the act as a misdemeanor trespassing crime.

The alteration comes after California voters approved recreational marijuana. The state’s businesses, however, aren’t licensed to sell recreational marijuana until Jan. 1, 2018.

Built in 1923, the Hollywood sign was first changed to “Hollyweed” on Jan. 1, 1976 when a Cal State Northridge student similarly hung curtains over some of the letters to alter the sign. The “H” was once hidden to read “Ollywood” during the Oliver North and the Iran-Contra hearings. When the Pope visited in 1987 the sign was changed to “Holywood.”

The beloved monument has also been completely changed over time to read “GO UCLA” and “CAL TECH.”

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Mariah Carey Suffers Lip Sync Snafu on ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’

“Shit happens,” the singer tweeted.

Mariah Carey‘s performance during Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve With Ryan Seacrest went haywire when the vocal track malfunctioned and threw off the singer’s lip syncing onstage. 

The audio malfunction occurred while Carey was preparing to sing her hit “Emotions.” Her three-song set also included the hit “We Belong Together” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

“I’m trying to be a good sport here,” a visibly frustrated Carey said as she stopped singing and tried to find her place, explaining to the crowd that the vocal track was missing.

The singer had suffered from a tight and difficult rehearsal schedule earlier in the night was unable to hear through her in-ear monitor, according to a source.

The source told Billboard, “She didn’t have the kind of time that she usually gets for her ‘Mariah-ness.'”

Carey was set to headline the show at 11:30 p.m. just before the ball dropped in Times Square at midnight.

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The singer later tweeted about the incident, jokingly writing, “Shit happens. … Here’s to making more headlines in 2017.”

A west coast broadcast of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest aired unedited. A rep for Dick Clark Productions declined comment and directed Billboard to Carey’s tweet.

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Kim Burrell Under Fire for Comments About Gays and Lesbians

Gospel singer Kim Burrell says she makes “no excuses or apologies” for a sermon at a Houston church where she referred to gays and lesbians as perverted.

A tape of Burrell preaching at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church began circulating online. She said that “the perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women.” She referred to specific homosexual acts as perverted.

Meanwhile, Burrell is scheduled to sing a duet with Pharrell next Thursday (Jan. 5) on the talk show Ellen, where host Ellen DeGeneres is one of show business’ most prominent lesbians. They are supposed to sing “I See Victory” from the soundtrack of the new movie Hidden Figures.

There was no immediate reaction from DeGeneres’ show or her social media platform on Saturday (Dec. 31).

Pharrell posted on Instagram that “I condemn hate speech of any kind,” although he made no specific reference to his duet partner.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Burrell gave the sermon. She spoke on Facebook Live Friday (Dec. 30) about the tape that had circulated, referring to unspecified “enemies” for spreading only a portion of her speech.

She said that she has never discriminated against gays and lesbians. “I love you and God loves you,” she said. “But God hates the sin.”

Behind the Scenes at ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’: Thomas Rhett, Gloria Estefan & More

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest is about to kick 2016 to the curb, but before the show hits the air at 8 p.m., Billboard is giving a sneak peek of the party, which features performances by Mariah Carey, DNCE, Thomas Rhett and Gloria Estefan, who is set to perform with the cast of her Broadway musical, On Your Feet!

Rhett rehearsed his set earlier on Saturday (Dec. 31) in Times Square at the stage located at 46th Street, and his two-song set — which included the Grammy-nominated “Die a Happy Man” and “T-Shirt,” plus “Vacation” — received big reactions from revelers peering over the barricades. Rhett was relaxed in a brown suede jacked, print T-shirt and black ripped jeans as he led his band through two soundchecks. By the second run-through, Rhett was fully engaged with the audience, working both sides of the stage and clearly ready for his big night.

“I’ve watched this show in my living room since I was seven or eight years old,” the 26-year old Tennessee native tells Billboard. “It’s always been a tradition in my family to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, so to actually be here in Times Square and in the middle of all of these people, and performing on the show, is a dream come true.”

Rhett is gearing up for a big 2017: he is nominated for a Grammy for best country song for “Die a Happy Man” (co-written by Sean Douglas and Joe Spargur) and is about to hit the road for his Home Team tour on Feb. 23.  To promote the trek, Rhett donned a “Home Team” guitar strap as he strummed an acoustic guitar for “Die a Happy Man.”

Speaking on the song’s success, Rhett humbly tells Billboard he “just happened to hit at the right time with a song about my wife.”

As for his New Year’s resolution to “get back in the gym, quit a couple of bad habits and be a better person,” he does have a goal set to start work on his next album. Rhett says he is looking into “duet options” for the next album.

“We are getting in the studio in January, and we have so many songs,” he says. “We are going to keep cutting songs until we figure out which 10 or 15 songs we want to present to our fans. Making a record is one of the most fun times of the year for me, just to get in there and be creative.”

Carey rehearsed earlier in the afternoon, and Estefan was on the tightest schedule of all — rehearsing her number with the cast of On Your Feet at 7:22 p.m. — one hour before broadcast. Other songs on her set include “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Everlasting Love,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Conga,” “Get On Your Feet” and “Oye.”

Fans looking to join in the fun on the ABC broadcast can hashtag pictures of their at-home parties and Times Square pictures with: #RockinEve, #Hello2017, #Harmonizers2017, #RockinShawn, #NiallRockinEve, #2017WithMariah or #AllNightLong.

The ABC program, as always, is at the forefront, showcasing the biggest names in pop music on the five-and-a-half hour show, which begins at 8 p.m. EST and for the first time ever will feature countdowns from multiple time zones. Seacrest and co-host Jenny McCarthy will usher in performances by Carey, DNCE, Estefan and the cast of the Broadway show On Your Feet!, and Rhett live in New York City from Times Square.

Meanwhile, Fergie will keep the party going at the Billboard Hollywood Party, performing two songs of her own while bringing on performances by Alessia CaraG-EazyBebe RexhaMartin GarrixEmeli SandeFifth Harmony with Ty Dolla $ign and Kid InkFlo Rida with Macy KateHailee SteinfeldJohn LegendLukas GrahamMike PosnerNiall Horan and Shawn Mendes.

And Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale will make history hosting the first ever Central Time Zone countdown — complete with the traditional fleur-de-lis drop atop Jax Brewery — with performances by Jason Derulo and Panic! At the DiscoDemi Lovato, who performed in Times Square last year, will bring in 2017 in a much warmer climate streaming live from St. Maarten, and Lionel Richie will perform the very first song of 2017 live from Las Vegas.

“People ask what’s going on in the show and the list gets longer and longer,” Seacrest said of the broadcast, which will celebrate its 45th anniversary on the air.

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds to Be Buried Together

The mother and daughter died one day apart.

Debbie Reynolds‘ son says his mother and sister, actress Carrie Fisher, will have a joint funeral and will be buried together.

Todd Fisher said the actresses will be buried together at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, the final resting place of numerous celebrities, including Lucille Ball, Dick Van Patten, Liberace, Florence Henderson, David Carradine and Bette Davis.

He said no date for the funeral has been set, but it will be private. A public memorial is being contemplated, but no plans have been finalized.

Earlier Friday (Dec. 30), the Los Angeles coroner’s office released Fisher’s body to her family. Brian Elias, chief of operations, says an examination of Fisher was done, but he stopped short of calling it an autopsy and would not provide any details on what tests were done. Elias said there was no timetable for when an official determination on what killed Fisher would be made.

The iconic Star Wars star died Tuesday at age 60 after going into cardiac arrest while on an airplane on Friday. On Wednesday afternoon, her 84-year-old mother, the Singin’ in the Rain film legend, was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. She died that night.

Regarding Reynolds’ death, Todd Fisher had said the stress of Carrie Fisher’s death the day before was too much for his mother to take. “She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie,'” he said. “And then she was gone.”

He then shared a heartbreaking tribute of his beloved late mother and sister over social media on Thursday. Along with a drawing of Fisher in her Princess Leia outfit and Reynolds in a Singin’ in the Rain slicker, he posted the film’s lyrics, “What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again,” and wrote: “This is a beautiful love story to witness in my 58 years. I miss them both so much. Love is everlasting.”

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Listen to Emma Watson Sing ‘Something There’ From ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Disney teased a clip of the song on Friday night.

It’s new, but not at all alarming.

Continuing on its mission to promote the anticipated live-action Beauty and the Beast, Disney debuted a 30-second audio clip of Emma Watson singing “Something There,” a song from the upcoming film.

One of the film’s stars, Josh Gad, also tweeted out the clip, adding, “Your first taste of the familiar music that awaits you come March 17th.”

Beauty and the Beast stars Watson and Dan Stevens as Beauty and the Beast, respectively, while Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald and Emma Thompson voice the film’s inanimate characters. Kevin Kline stars as Belle’s father, Luke Evans plays Gaston and Gad appears as sidekick Le Fou.

The live-action Beauty and the Beast is set to hit theaters March 17.

Listen to the clip below.

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60 Injured in Crowd Crush at Australian Music festival

No fatalities were reported at the Falls Music and Arts Festival in Victoria.

Sixty people have been injured at an Australian music festival in the crush of a crowd trying to leave a performance.

Victoria state police said on Saturday that none of the injuries at the Falls Music and Arts Festival in Victoria were life-threatening. But 19 people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The incident began on Friday night when fans were trying to leave a performance by the Australian band DMA’s. Police say several people at the front of the crowd then lost their footing and fell.

Ambulance Victoria state health commander Paul Holman said paramedics assessed around 60 people hurt in the ensuing crush. Some suffered leg, rib, hip and pelvic fractures, head injuries and possible spinal injuries, while others just had cuts and abrasions.

Ryan Seacrest, Jenny McCarthy Talk ‘Rockin’ New Year’s Eve’ George Michael Tribute, Mariah Carey’s Return & More

Also, why adult diapers are a must.

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017 will give 2016 a fitting send off by honoring the memory of George Michael, who passed away Christmas Day at the age of 53.

The program will pay tribute to the late pop superstar Saturday night by airing archived footage of his group Wham!’s first televised American interview and performance on March 5, 1983. During that performance, the pop duo — Michael and Andrew Ridgely — performed “Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)” and “Young Guns” on American Bandstand. The package will air the band’s full interview with the late Dick Clark as well as the performance of “Young Guns.” Michael was just 19 at the time of the appearance.

“We have lost a lot of entertainment legends this year and so many of us were saddened by the recent loss of George Michael,” show host and executive producer Ryan Seacrest told Billboard. “We hope by showcasing Wham!’s first appearance on American Bandstand in 1983 in a special tribute during the broadcast will remind everyone of his talents, and how he loved sharing them with the world.”

The ABC program, as always, is at the forefront showcasing the biggest names in pop music on the five and a half hour show, which begins at 8 p.m. EST and for the first time ever will feature countdowns from multiple time zones. Seacrest and co-host Jenny McCarthy will usher in performances by Mariah Carey, DNCE, Gloria Estefan and the cast of the Broadway show, On Your Feet, and Thomas Rhett live in New York City from Times Square.

As well, Fergie will keep the party going at the Billboard Hollywood Party performing two songs of her own while bringing on performances by Alessia CaraG-EazyBebe RexhaMartin Garrix, Emeli Sande, Fifth Harmony with Ty Dolla $ign and Kid Ink, Flo Rida with Macy Kate, Hailee Steinfeld, John Legend, Lukas Graham, Mike Posner, Niall Horan and Shawn Mendes.

And Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale will make history hosting the first ever Central Time Zone countdown — complete with the traditional fleur-de-lis drop atop Jax Brewery — with performances by Jason Derulo and Panic! At the Disco. Demi Lovato — who performed in Times Square last year — will bring in 2017 in a much warmer climate streaming live from St. Maarten, and Lionel Richie will perform the very first song of 2017 live from Las Vegas.

“People ask what’s going on in the show and the list gets longer and longer,” Seacrest said of the broadcast, which will celebrate its 45th Anniversary on the air.

To mark the occasion, Carey will return to Times Square to take the stage just before midnight. The pop icon has the distinction of being the very first entertainer to headline the live performances in Times Square back in 2005. Seacrest, who celebrates his 12th year hosting the show, is excited to reunite with his fellow American Idol alum for the famed countdown.

“Mariah and I were together on Idol, so I have known her and I play her songs a lot especially this time of year,” he said. “She owns being Mariah Carey. There is an essence to her… I think I said to her, ‘What time do you wake up?’ and she said noon. And ‘what do you do first?” and she said ‘I take a bath’ and she has champagne sometimes with it. She’s Mariah Carey, the one and only.”

McCarthy does have some insight into the performance aspect of New Year’s Eve, offered by her husband, Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block. She said he told her the whole experience is a bit “weird” because you perform facing the camera with the live audience behind you. 

As for those in the crowd, they are advised to adhere to stricter safety rules this year, as in no backpacks or umbrellas, and “just your bodies, your coats and that’s it,” McCarthy said. Additionally, revelers are not permitted to leave items in place of where they are standing, Seacrest added. But one thing they both agree on as a necessity, however, is “adult diapers.”

“I stop drinking liquids around 9 a.m. because we don’t have bathroom breaks,” McCarthy said. “It is literally non-stop.”

And after the ball drops, Seacrest has one song request for Richie to play from Las Vegas: “All Night Long.”

“That’ll be the first song,” he said. “It better be!”

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