Dauphin, Canada





The Star-Mangled Banner? Fergie has placed herself among those in the pantheon of singers who have gotten notice for singing the U-S anthem before a sporting event.

Unfortunately for her, she's in the section of that pantheon of those who have made a mess of it. Her slowed-down, bluesy take on ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' was mocked by fans and players at the Staples Center on Sunday _ and was, for the most part, trashed on social media. Some have compared her performance to that of non-singers like comedian Roseanne Barr and track star Carl Lewis.

But even Barr is trying to distance herself from Fergie, telling Fox her performance in San Diego years ago was nowhere near as bad as Fergie's.



With President's Day done in the U-S, it's a good time to take note of how many chief executives have made their way in pop music references. Billboard reports the site LyricFind calculated each song that mentions a U-S president _ whether positively or negatively. And the winner _ in a landslide _ is Barack Obama. He was name-checked 309 times in songs. That's more than twice the number of references to runner up George W. Bush and the number three entry, Bill Clinton. And _ this might be tweet-worthy _ Obama's total is nearly 10 times as many as his successor, Donald Trump.



Donovan Woods says country music has a ways to go when it comes to being more inclusive. The folk singer-songwriter is out with a song titled ``Burn That Bridge.'' And in the video, the concept of falling in and out of love with each other _ is represented by a gay couple. Woods says when it comes to embracing diversity, the country music industry is ``not doing well at all.''

He says he's ``shocked again and again'' at how slowly things have developed. Woods tells Billboard there are a lot of artists ``whose public persona still doesn't match their private feelings about a lot of things.'' He says it would be better if artists weren't ``afraid to sort of express their real opinions outwardly for fear of losing fans.'' ''Burn that Bridge`` is on Woods' album, titled ''Both Ways,`` due out April 20th.



 If, by chance, you decided to tune into the Winter Olympics to escape hearing the song ``Despacito'' _ too bad.

The song that dominated last year's sales chart is also making its presence felt at the games in North Korea. Billboard reports that during the short program of the ice dancing competition show on T-V on Sunday _ no fewer than three separate pairs performed to the Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee song. Don't blame the skaters, though.

Competitors were required to include a Latin rhythm into their routine _ so many decided to go with ``Despacito.''


(The Associated Press)



Fantasia has been forced to call off concerts while she deals with an injury and a personal tragedy. Her management issued a statement saying she called off Saturday's show in Atlantic City, New Jersey and this coming Saturday's show in Reading (RED'-ing), Pennsylvania. Fantasia's doctor told her she needed more rest after suffering a knee injury. Fantasia's oldest nephew recently died as well.



Just a year after Willie Nelson released a full studio album, he's ready to release another one. Nelson will put out ``Last Man Standing'' on April 29th, his 85th birthday. It contains

11 new songs Nelson wrote with longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon.

Nelson put out the album ``God's Problem Child'' last April 28th.



 A college student whose guitar was destroyed in a dormitory fire now has a replacement, thanks to the widow of bassist David Dickey of the band America. Officials with Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater say Maggie Dickey donated an Epiphone electric guitar to Isaiah Ornelaz. She calls it one of her husband's favourites. Orenelaz was one of more than two dozen students who lost their possessions in a fire in their dorm earlier this month. No one was hurt. A college employee posted a plea on Facebook to get another guitar for Ornelaz, an automotive technology student who is also an aspiring musician. David Dickey died in 2016.



It looks like the person who blew the whistle on Garrison Keillor wasn't a woman _ but a man. A report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the informant was Dan Rowles, who had been tight with Keillor during his 16 years on the show. He was fired last summer, according to the newspaper report _ and spoke up after he left. His complaint led to an investigation by Minnesota Public Radio that concluded Keillor had engaged in dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents over the years involving a longtime female writer for the show, whose name hasn't been made public. The Star Tribune reports the women didn't tell M-P-R her account until two months after Rowles came forward.



A two-month investigation has found no verifiable sexual harassment or physical abuse by former New York City Ballet leader Peter Martins. Word of the results of the probe is in The New York Times. Martins says he is ``gratified'' by the findings, which forced his retirement in January. Not so much so are two female dancers who made the accusations; they denounced the findings of the investigation.



Apparently T-V viewers were not so wild about this particular ``Harry.'' And because of that, the show hosted by Harry Connick Jr. is going off the air. N-B-C-Universal says the show will wrap once its second season is done _ which means it will tape through September before disappearing from the airwaves, cable boxes and satellite dishes. The talk and variety show had trouble drawing the kind of audiences that shows like the one hosted by Ellen DeGeneres did. In a statement, Connick says he was proud of the show and grateful for the chance to have one.


(The Canadian Press)




The members of the embattled rock band Hedley say they have withdrawn from consideration for three awards at this year's Junos and plan to ``talk about how we have let some people down, and what we intend to do about it.''

Last week, the pop-rockers were dropped by their management team and blacklisted by scores of radio stations in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations that had been circulated by anonymous social media users.

In a statement released today, the band says it won't be cancelling 23 shows it has booked through March 23 because ``the easy thing to do would be to cancel the tour and hide.''

The statement adds the band intends ``to start making positive changes, starting right now.''

The former MuchMusic darlings _ fronted by Jacob Hoggard and including Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison _ released a statement last Wednesday calling the allegations involving young fans ``unsubstantiated'' but acknowledged they ``engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock 'n' roll cliches.''

The two acts who were booked as openers for Hedley's current tour _ Neon Dreams and Shawn Hook _ both announced Friday that they were backing out of the rest of the shows.

(The Canadian Press)