Rock the Vote tour, Puffy makes 'em squirm, Janet Jackson, JC Chasez and NSync, WB's Pepsi Smash

by Doug Rule
Published on June 10, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

POP POLITICS… This Sunday, we can hope for some political agitation from musicians at the Capital Pride Festival pulpit. And pop stars of various stripes nationwide are falling in line -- and sometimes falling all over themselves -- to encourage young people to vote. Rock the Vote has already enlisted the Black Eyed Peas, Dixie Chicks, Maroon 5, Alanis Morissette, Jason Mraz and Michelle Branch to join with the organization and MTV on a five-month, 50-city bus tour beginning next week in L.A. The artists will perform or provide on-the-ground outreach, with the heaviest lifting coming in the fall, when the tour will visit college campuses. Eminem, meanwhile, is encouraging his fans to vote, but -- surprise, surprise -- he doesn't come to the role of political advocate with a clean slate. The BBC reported that Eminem mistakenly thought he lost his right to vote after he received a two-year probation for carrying a concealed weapon. It turns out that convicted felons in Michigan can vote so long as they're actually registered. Eminem is not. Even more disturbing, the Rock the Vote Weblog reported that at least three War on Terror detainees were “forced to listen to Eminem at deafening levels” in U.S. prison camps, and are considering legal recourse. Really, though, you don't have to go to a U.S. prison camp for that kind of torture. Just head to your nearest suburban high school…

‘PUFF' POLITICS… Eminem was speaking at a Hip-Hop Action Summit Network conference in Detroit, one of many being held around the country by the increasingly active network of Def-Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons. This includes a “March on New York” set for the first day of the Republican National Convention. In addition, hip-hop impresario and now Broadway actor Sean “P. Diddy/Puff Daddy” Combs is developing a new MTV show that aims to “grill President Bush and likely Democratic nominee John Kerry.” The New York Post reported on Combs' plans to “make Kerry and Bush squirm” by asking them unscripted questions from unscreened “real people” plucked off the streets. Whether he succeeds, his laudable goal is to encourage a record number of young people and minorities to vote…

JC Chasez

DAMMIT JANET UPDATE… It's been months since we've heard about Janet Jackson, her music or her right boob. Don't expect that to change. First comes word that the video for her latest single, "All Nite (Don't Stop)," was edited for the U.S., stripping out lesbian kisses and other provocations that Europeans can handle but apparently we can't. Despite having arguably the worst year of her career, at least Jackson has managed to eek out some sales and limited airplay. JC Chasez, on the other hand, has been stripped of every opportunity. After his *NSync cohort Justin Timberlake exposed Janet's boob on the SuperBowl, Chasez's performance at the following week's NFL Pro Bowl was canceled for fear he might not be at his most wholesome performing first single “Some Girls (Dance With Women).” Now he can't get radio stations to play his ode-to-adolescence second single, “All Day Long I Dream About Sex.” And MTV is reluctant to air the video, which tamely parodies porno movies. Jackson and Timberlake are again the culprits, since the Federal Communications Commission has so “terrified” broadcast outlets through fines for indecency. “It's getting out of hand if you can't even talk about sex,” Chasez told Rolling Stone

BACKSTREET'S BACK… *NSync is officially still together and will reportedly release a group album in the next year, but its boy band nemesis looks likely to beat them to the punch. Whether any one beats down doors trying to get the next Backstreet Boys album, due out this summer after a three-year hiatus, is another matter altogether. A tour will follow release in the fall. Unlike *NSync, only one Backstreeter has released a solo album, and Nick Carter achieved about the same level of success that Chasez is finding -- which is to say, very limited. And he didn't even have the “nipplegate” scandal as a legitimate excuse…

PRIMETIME POP… It may be suffering from poor ratings, but the second season of the WB's Pepsi Smash shows marked improvement over the first. What, you haven't heard about the primetime live music show? Well, last year's performers where pretty much exclusively from the rap or heavy metal categories of music, and only Beyonce was much of a draw. This year, it's a more diverse lot, taking in alt-rock and even straightforward pop, most notably from up-and-coming acts that deserve wider attention. Tonight sees performances from Maroon 5, Alanis Morissette, Blink 182 and Joss Stone. Coming up: the Swedish rockers The Hives (June 24), Maria Mena (July 8) and John Mayer (July 15). Even Morrissey is scheduled to perform in a later episode. If all that's not compelling enough, this season also features a hottie host, Nick Zano… Next summer will see yet another primetime music show -- and not just any primetime music show, but a return of American Bandstand, complete with an apparently ageless Dick Clark as host. Details are still being worked out on how the revival will differ from the original 30-year ABC series, including whether it will even air on ABC. But American Idol's Simon Fuller is partnering with Dick Clark Productions for the effort, so it could be promising...


Dixie Chicks

Alanis Morissette

JC Chasez

Call 202-638-6830 to advertise here in Marketplace