Is Katy Perry going country? Not full time, she says, but “the heart of America is amazing”

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Between crowning the country-leaning Kentucky native Noah Thompson as this season’s American Idol champ and performing “Where We Started,” her current duet with Thomas Rhett, on the show’s season finale, pop superstar Katy Perry is feeling the twang these days.

“You know, it was my first time stepping in, dipping my toe into that water,” Katy tells E! News, speaking about her foray into country collaborations with “Where We Started.” “I love it because it’s all about songwriting. It’s all about telling a story.”

She’s picking up some of the country lifestyle, too, thanks to her fiancé, actor Orlando Bloom.

“Orlando has been shooting a movie in Kentucky, and I’ve been in and out of there for a month now,” she says. “… And I just love that heartland. There is definitely something in the water in Kentucky.”

As the newest Idol winner, Noah’s following in the footsteps of an impressive line of Kentucky legends, Katy adds. “The heart of America is amazing.”

However, Katy quickly clarified to Extra that, as much as she enjoyed soaking up the country culture, she’s not planning a full-time move to Kentucky anytime soon. “You’ve got to hear it from the source, and the source is telling you ‘no,’” she added.

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35 years ago today, Richard Marx released the “most important song” of his career: “I cherish it”

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Thirty-five years ago today — May 26, 1987 — Richard Marx released his debut single, “Don’t Mean Nothing.” It hit #3, earned him a Grammy nomination and launched a career that’s still going today. Richard tells ABC Audio that while he’d never say the song is his favorite, it does occupy a very special place in his heart.

“It’s the most important song. Because the question I’ve been getting for 30, however many years that I’ve been doing this, [is] ‘What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written?’ And there’s no answer to that,” he says.

As Richard notes, “I could never pick a favorite song I’ve written. But I did realize in the last couple of years, performing night after night after night, that if I hadn’t written ‘Don’t Mean Nothing’ … [I] probably wouldn’t be standing on that stage.”

As Richard details in his 2021 memoir Stories to Tell, “Don’t Mean Nothing” was inspired by his struggles in the music industry and by Hollywood in general. It also featured harmonies and guitar work from three members of The Eagles: Randy Meisner, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh.

“I cherish it. I also still love it,” Richard says of the song. “I mean, all humility aside, I just love ‘Don’t Mean Nothing’ and I love singing it. It still holds up for me, is a really good song.” 

He laughs as he remembers, “I wrote this very cynical, biting lyric about frustration and being led down horrible paths and being lied to and this song that just drips of cynicism … and I wrote it when I was 22!”

And today, it’s still a centerpiece of his concerts.

“I’ve never done a show where I haven’t played it,” he says. “And I’ve never done that song where I didn’t see people smiling and dancing and into it.” 

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Returning All Starr Band member Edgar Winter says new tour with Ringo Starr will be “a beautiful reunion”

Edgar Winter and Ringo Starr in 2010; David Livingston/Getty Images

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band launch their 2022 North American tour this Friday, May 27, in Rama, Canada.

The lineup of the former Beatles drummer’s group is slightly different than when they last hit the road in 2019, with veteran rocker Edgar Winter rejoining the All Starrs after a 2006-2011 stint with the band.

Interestingly, Winter released a star-studded tribute album in April called Brother Johnny — an homage to his late sibling, Johnny Winter — that features contributions from Ringo and two other All Starr Band members — Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and veteran session drummer Gregg Bissonette.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Edgar tells ABC Audio about touring with the All Starrs again. “And it’s perfect in that the album [has] just been released, and I get to see all my friends again…So it’s gonna be a beautiful reunion. I can’t wait!”

Winter, who is best known for his 1970s hits “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride,” says he’ll definitely play those songs on the new tour, and possibly a tune from Brother Johnny.

“Ringo…always wants your biggest hits. That’s the whole idea. And it’s a great model,” Edgar notes. “I love the All Starr Band. It’s unlike any tour. You know, I think of it as the ‘peace and love’ tour, because there’s just so much positive energy.”

Winter, who idolizes The Beatles, says it’s an honor to play with Starr.

“I have such respect for him, not only as a drummer, but…as a human being,” he declares. “He’s such a heartfelt advocate and spokesman for peace and love. And, you know, having played Woodstock and being an old hippie myself…peace and love is something the world can always use more of.”

Visit RingoStarr.com to check out the full tour schedule.

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Def Leppard to rock ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ tonight; band’s new “Fire It Up” video premieres Thursday

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

As Def Leppard prepares to release its latest studio album, Diamond Star Halos, on Friday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers will be featured as the musical guests on tonight’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

The band will also perform additional songs that won’t air on the Kimmel show but will be streamed on the program’s YouTube channel. According to information on the YouTube page, performances of four classic Def Leppard tunes will be shown online — “Rock of Ages,” “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Hysteria.”

Meanwhile, as previously reported, Def Leppard will premiere the music video for the new song “Fire It Up,” the latest single from Diamond Star Halos, on Thursday, May 26, at 9 a.m. ET on the group’s YouTube channel. Following the clip’s debut, the band members will take part in an exclusive YouTube Premieres afterparty, during which they will discuss the new album. For more information on how to join the afterparty, visit YouTube.

After the premiere, the “Fire It Up” video will be available to view at Facebook Watch. You can check out a snippet of the clip now on Def Leppard’s Facebook page.

Diamond Star Halos is Def Leppard’s first album of new, original tunes since 2015’s self-titled effort. It can be preordered now and will be available as a deluxe package, on CD, as a two-LP set and digitally, among other configurations.

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Don McLean pulls out of NRA-organized concert in Houston on Saturday following Texas school massacre

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Don McLean had been scheduled to perform at a concert event in Houston this Saturday celebrating the 150th anniversary of the National Rifle Association, aka the NRA, but the “America Pie” singer/songwriter has pulled out of the event in the wake of the recent mass shooting at a grade school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday.

Variety reports that McLean has issued a statement that reads, “In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week. I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans. I share the sorrow for this terrible, cruel loss with the rest of the nation.”

The show, dubbed NRA’s Grand Ole Night of Freedom Concert, takes place on the second day of the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, a three-day convention that’s also scheduled to feature speeches by former President Donald Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and “over 14 acres of guns and gear and 800 exhibitors.”

Performers still apparently on the bill for the concert include Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin, T. Graham Brown and Restless Heart singer Larry Stewart. Gatlin and Stewart both confirmed that they still planned to perform at the event.

Nineteen children and two adults were shot to death by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Ramos was then killed by police.

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Cherelle Griner opens up about wife Brittney Griner’s detainment

ABC/Todd Wawrychuk

Speaking out for the first time since Brittney Griner‘s detainment, Cherelle Griner sat down with GMA‘s Robin Roberts to speak on behalf of her wife, who, after nearly 100 days, is still being held in a Russian prison.

Recalling the moment she found out about the WNBA star’s imprisonment, Cherelle said it was a 2 a.m. text message she received from Brittney that left her with so many questions. 

“‘Babe. babe. babe. Wake up,'” Cherelle said, repeating some of the messages her wife sent her while she was held up by customs in “this room,” as Brittney referred to it.  

Cherelle says her wife explained that her phone was being taken away and alerted her “not to text anymore” before she was “grabbed” and held on February 17. 

Cherelle told Roberts that during the first week away from her wife, she cried her eyes out and couldn’t get up from her couch. 

“I was numb, I couldn’t move,” she said. Attempting to find the strength to continue each day without her other half, Cherelle said she told herself, “You gotta get up now.”

She said the support Brittney has gotten from the league has brought her wife “comfort” amid her detention in Russia. The WNBA, which kicked off its 2022 season on May 6, is honoring Brittney with a floor decal bearing her initials and jersey number, 42, on the sideline of all 12 WNBA team courts.

“Things like that matter, like, it has her hopeful,” Cherelle said. “It lets her know she’s not forgotten.”

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Pink, Britney Spears, Adam Levine & more react to Texas school shootings: “My heart is shattered”

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Musicians continued to express their feelings, both explicitly and subtly, via social media following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead.

Britney Spears posted a graphic on Instagram in which she wrote, “My heart is shattered. I’m lost for words.”  She continued, “My prayers are with the victims of Robb Elementary and their families. Our sympathies and condolences are just not enough. We need to take action. We need change. Enough is enough. We will keep our prayers coming even if it’s not enough to heal the loss.”

Pink let a photo do the talking for her. On Instagram, she posted a picture of someone holding up a sign that reads, “Let’s take a moment to honor the sacrifice of our brave school children who lay down their lives to protect our right to bear arms.”

She captioned the post, “I don’t know where this picture is from but it says it better than I can. I have no words of my own right now.

In her Instagram Stories, Pink also posted video of Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy pleading for change on the Senate floor; Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr berating politicians for not doing enough; and a tweet that reads, “It must do something to your psyche, to your soul, to live in a society which pointedly and repeatedly does nothing about the mass murder of children.”

Adam Levine, the father of two young daughters, posted Kerr’s speech on his feed; in his Instagram Story, he posted a graphic that says, “Change the f**king gun laws now.”

Other stars who posted similar messages and videos, as well as links to activist groups and quotes from poet Amanda Gorman‘s reaction to the shooting, include Dua Lipa, Camila Cabello, Dove Cameron and Shawn Mendes.

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My Chemical Romance performs live debut of 2012 song “Tomorrow’s Money” during Ireland show

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Having already given their new song “The Foundations of Decay” its live debut, My Chemical Romance performed another track for the first time during their ongoing reunion tour.

The set list for Tuesday’s show in Dublin, Ireland, included the song “Tomorrow’s Money,” which My Chem had never before played live. “Tomorrow’s Money” originally dropped in 2012 as part of the Conventional Weapons series, which consisted of 10 then-unreleased songs that had been recorded in 2009.

You can watch fan-filmed footage of the “Tomorrow’s Money” performance streaming now on YouTube.

My Chemical Romance’s reunion tour, which had been originally scheduled for 2020 before getting delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finally kicked off last week in the United Kingdom. Its launch was preceded by the premiere of “The Foundations of Decay,” which marked the first new MCR song in eight years.

The U.S. leg of the tour will begin in August.

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Will Katy Perry go country? Maybe, kinda

ABC/Eric McCandless

Katy Perry recently teamed up with country superstar Thomas Rhett for the song “Where We Started,” which they performed on the American Idol finale. While it’s unlikely that she’ll ever make a full-on country album, Katy says she might take inspiration from country music for a future project.

Asked about making a country record, Katy told Extra, “I might get back a little bit more to my roots with that singer-songwriter side. I spent so much time in Nashville just laying my musical foundation, so I’d love to continue on that path.”

Katy also told Extra that over the years she’s been sent “a bajillion country songs,” but didn’t record them, even though some of them, she says, went on to become “massive.”  However, she felt that the Rhett duet is “the one I was meant to start with to cross over into this world.”

Why? Because, she notes, “The story of this song is really beautiful … It talks about a relationship and where you started and if you ever have doubts about it, look at how far you have come. I feel that so much, even in my own relationship — it has been a beautiful journey.”

Katy also clarified to Extra that despite reports that she’s moved to Kentucky permanently, she was only there for a few months because her fiancé, Orlando Bloom, was making a movie there.

“I loved it. It was so beautiful to see the heart of America,” she says. “Also just to be ‘mom’ every day, all day — I love that.”

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Nashville notes: Lainey Wilson, Brett Young + more

In case you missed it, Lainey Wilson made an appearance on TODAY Tuesday, May 24, to perform her new single “Heart Like a Truck.”

Brett Young is headlining the 2022 Wisconsin State Fair on August 13. Tickets go on sale on June 2.

Before his new album arrives on June 17, Brett Eldredge is hosting a special free album premiere event in Nashville on June 10. For details on how to attend, and how to score VIP access by joining his fan club, visit his website.

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