Lawsuit Filed Says Sony Music Cheated American Idol Winners Including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed in New York charges that Sony Music Entertainment cheated “American Idol” contestants including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood out of at least $10 million in royalties.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by 19 Recordings, a music company founded by “Idol” creator Simon Fuller.

The lawsuit says 19 discovered the royalty issue from two separate audits of Sony’s records.

Other artists named in the suit include Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Jordin Sparks.

Attorney Richard Busch, of the Nashville firm King & Ballow, says the legal action was necessary to protect the rights of 19’s artists.

A Sony spokeswoman said she had no comment on the lawsuit.

Kelly Clarkson Books TV Christmas Special

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-redThe presents are already coming to Kelly Clarkson this holiday season. In addition to eloping with her fiance any day now, Clarkson just announced via social media that she will have her very own TV Christmas special this season! Given the allusions to a special in the past few weeks, the announcement doesn’t come as a major surprise. What does come as a surprise, however, is that it will be padded with NBC’s The Voice.

On December 10, NBC will air Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale immediately following The Voice! Being friends with Blake Shelton sure has its perks. This special will help promote Kelly’s first Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, which is set to be released October 25!

Kelly isn’t the first American Idol champ to have their own Christmas special. Carrie Underwood hosted her own special on Fox shortly after being crowned the season 4 champ and featured special guests from Dolly Parton to Kristen Chenoweth to Christina Applegate and more.

The special will tape at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Oct 30. Tickets are on sale now!

Billboards Announces Top Selling Albums and Songs of 2012

21-AdeleDepending on where your heart aligns with music, 2012 was either an excellent year or a terrible year musically for you. That’s the beauty of music. Billboard, early Thursday, announced the top selling albums and songs of 2012, based on their records and compilation of sales. Longevity is all that matters in the eyes of Adele fans, as “21,” although released in 2011, was the top selling album of 2012 with 4.41 million records sold. She took home the honor in 2011, as well. Rounding out the Top 10 was Jason Aldean’s, “Night Train.”

Related | YakkityYaks Best of 2012 in Television, Movies, Music, & More

Sales were compiled from Jan 2, 2012 and ended on December 30, 2012. Billboard notes that “21” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart way back on the list March, 21, 2011. It has yet to leave the tally and has never been absent from the weekly top 40. Trailing behind Adele, in the No. 2 spot, was “Red” by Taylor Swift (3.11 million sold), which is pretty significant seeing that the album was released in October 2012. It’s the fourth time Swift has had an album ranked among a year’s top three sellers. Also making the list were One Direction, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Lionel Richie and Mumford and Sons. One Direction marks the first time, since SoundScan began keeping track in 1991, that an act has two albums that debuted in the same year taking two of the top five spots. Swift and Garth Brooks have come close to such an honor. 2012 also marks the first year that more than four country albums hold a place in the top ten, as 5 of the Top 10 albums of 2012 are country albums.

In 2012, overall album and physical CD sales decreased a little bit, while digital downloads expectantly increased. The top selling digital album of 2012? “21” by Adele, as well. Also of note, Billboard notes that for the fifth consecutive year, more vinyl albums were sold than in any other year since SoundScan launched in 1991. Finally, 2012 was a record year for digital downloads where a record 1.336 billion tracks were sold digitally, an increase of 5% from 2011. Check out the full list of the top album and song sales of 2012 below!

Top 10 Album Sales of 2012

“21” – Adele, 4.41 Million
“Red” – Taylor Swift, 3.11 Million
“Up All Night” – One Direction, 1.62 Million
“Babel” – Mumford & Sons, 1.46 Million
“Take Me Home” – One Direction, 1.34 Million
“Believe” – Justin Bieber, 1.34 Million
“Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood, 1.20 Million
“Tailgates & Tanlines” – Luke Bryan, 1.10 Million
“Tuskegee” – Lionel Richie, 1.07 Million
“Night Train” – Jason Aldean, 1.02 Million

Top 10 Song Sales of 2012

“Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye (feat. Kimbra), 6.80 Million
“Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen, 6.47 Million
“We Are Young” – fun. (feat. Janelle Monae), 5.95 Million
“Payphone” – Maroon 5 (feat. Wiz Khalifa), 4.76 Million
“Starships” – Nicki Minaj, 3.98 Million
“What Makes You Beautiful” – One Direction, 3.89 Million
“Some Nights” – fun., 3.84 Million
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson, 3.82 Million
“Gangnam Style” – Psy, 3.59 Million
“One More Night” – Maroon 5, 3.46 Million

The Votes Are In: The Best of 2012 Are …

best_2012_smOther sites have been making lists based on their preference, telling you what they believe made up 2012. We here at the Yak like to do it another way … put you in command. You nominated, you voted, and now it’s time to reveal who YOU chose as the Best of 2012. 2013 just got underway, so we figured it’s time to take you down memory lane as we reminisce about what made these people, TV shows, songs, albums, and celebrities the best (or in some cases the worst) of 2012. There were some EXTREMELY tight races this year, but fans came out in full force to make sure their favorites got to the top. No more yakking, let’s just get right to it. What are we waiting for? Check out the gallery below and see who and what made YOUR list of favorites in television, music, movies and more in 2012. Check out the honorable mentions below … some of these races were just too tight, so we had to throw them in!

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Song of the Year:

Favorite Live Performance of the Year:

Most Viral Video of the Year:

Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, & The Killers Bolster THE VOICE Finale

UPDATE: NBC just announced the artists the Top 3 will perform special duets with Tuesday night during The Voice finale. Cassadee Pope will perform side by side with Avril Lavigne, while Team Blake teammate Terry McDermott sings alongside Peter Frampton. Nicholas David of Team Cee Lo will perform with Smokey Robinson.

We’re just under a week away from the third finale of NBC’s hit singing competition, The Voice, and NBC announced some of the headlining megastars that will be taking center stage for the finale. Bolstering the popular competitions finalists – Cassadee Pope, Terry McDermott, and Nicholas David – the show is bringing about a diverse group of artists to keep you entertained throughout the night.

American Idol champ, Kelly Clarkson, will take the stage to perform her single “Catch My Breath” from her Greatest Hits Album, which is in stores now. Joining Clarkson will be R&B star Rihanna performing her hit single “Diamonds.” On the heels of his new album release, Bruno Mars will be on deck to perform his new single “When I Was Your Man” for the first time on television. Finally, rockers The Killers are set to appear and perform.

It’s likely the show’s coaches – Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, and Cee Lo Green – will in some way participate in the show’s festivities and NBC is promising a few more surprise performers along the way. The finale will surely have appearances and group performances featuring contestants who have been a part of the season, as well. The Voice airs it’s performance finale Monday at 8/7c, with a two-hour results finale on Tuesday night!

Who are you most excited to see? Which other artists would you like to see added to the lineup?

American Music Awards: And the Nominees Are…

Oddly enough, Christina Aguilera (coach of NBC’s The Voice) joined producers of the American Music Awards (airing on ABC) to announce the nominations earlier today in Los Angeles. Aguilera is also the first performer announced for the 40th annual AMAs. Last years big winners, Taylor Swift and Adele, ended up with only one nomination each. Big time Idol success stories Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood nabbed two nominations each, while Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Usher, Chris Brown, One Direction and Maroon 5 snagged some nods their way. Minaj and Rihanna lead the nomination tally with 4 a piece. Newcomer Gotye got into the mix with a couple nominations. In addition to Artist of the Year, Justin Bieber snagged 2 more nominations in the Pop Album and Male Artist department.

The AMAs are determined through fan voting, which starts today. (Click here to cast your votes) Check out the full list of nominations below and let us know what you think!

The AMAs are set to air LIVE from Los Angeles on November 18th at 8/7c on ABC!

Justin Bieber
Maroon 5
Katy Perry

J. Cole
Carly Rae Jepsen
One Direction

Justin Bieber
Flo Rida

Kelly Clarkson
Nicki Minaj
Katy Perry

Maroon 5
One Direction
The Wanted

Justin Bieber, “Believe”
Maroon 5, “Overexposed”
Nicki Minaj, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”
One Direction, “Up All Night”

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church

Miranda Lambert
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Zac Brown Band
Lady Antebellum
Rascal Flatts

Luke Bryan, “Tailgates & Tanlines”
Lionel Richie, “Tuskegee”
Carrie Underwood, “Blown Away”

Nicki Minaj

J. Cole, “Cole World: The Sideline Story”
Drake, “Take Care”
Nicki Minaj, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”

Chris Brown
Trey Songz

Mary J. Blige

Chris Brown, “Fortune”
Rihanna, “Talk That Talk”
Usher, “Looking 4 Myself”

The Black Keys
Linkin Park

Kelly Clarkson

Don Omar

Jeremy Camp

David Guetta
Calvin Harris

The Best Selling American Idol Single Is ….

On July 4, an American Idol alum made history since the show’s inception 11 seasons ago. Kelly Clarkson, the show’s inaugural winner, now holds the title of the alum with the best selling single. On the Fourth of July, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” surpassed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” as the best selling single from an Idol alum, according to Nielsen Sound Scan. “Stronger” has sold 3,510,000 singles as of today, while “Before He Cheats” has sold 3,509,000 copies since its release in 2006.

“Stronger” is also Clarkson’s longest #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. According to Billboard, “Before He Cheats” peaked at No. 8 on the Hot 100 and was on the chart for 64 weeks. Only five songs in the 54-year history of this survey have had longer runs. On Hot Country Songs, “Before He Cheats” was No. 1 for five weeks in November-December 2006. Before “Stronger” surpassed “Before He Cheats,” it had to first pass “No Air” by Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown, which has now sold 3,437,000 copies to date.

Underwood, however, is still ahead in total domestic album sales. Proving Simon Cowell’s prediction back in Season 4, Underwood has sold 13,205,000 albums to date and Clarkson is close behind with 11,664,000. Any Idol fan might remember his bold prediction during Billboard week. Cowell said, “Not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.”

Billboard points out that if you count digital downloads of singles, Clarkson wins the race with 24,100,000 copies sold, while Underwood’s sales total 22,535,000 digital songs. If this proves anything, it only furthers the notion that these two beautiful and talented ladies are the competition’s most successful and possibly best alums. At least these two give credibility to winning the show and taking on the crown. There is room for both of these women in the industry and we predict that this isn’t the end of their successes!

Clarkson can be seen on ABC’s Duets, which airs Thursday night at 8/7c. She is also touring select cities this summer with The Fray. Underwood just returned to the US after taking her Blown Away hits to the UK and Australia. She’s gearing for her Blown Away tour which kicks off this fall!

Melodic Monday: White Stripes, Grey and Idols

Here is your ‘readers digest’ version of some breaking music news this past week. Hopefully this will help get you all caught up!

Original ‘Love the Way You Lie’

If you haven’t heard this version of the song by the original writer, it’s a must listen. It’s kinda like acoustic candy for your ears. Skylar Grey, (formerly Holly Brook) the original writer of the tune is currently making a big splash on the music scene, piping up on some big artist records, from Dr. Dre to Lupe Fiasco. Skylar states that she never really was a writer for others, but an artist in her own right. The song was originally written for her to perform, but once Rihanna and her team heard the track, they asked her for the hit. Skylar agreed to let it go, but thought it would be great if people could still hear her version of it. So, here you go, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

The White Stripes are No More, Sales Rise Substantially

The White Stripes are calling it quits, according to a statement made by Jack and Meg White on their site last Thursday, the band “has officially ended and will make no further records or perform live.” According to the statement, both Jack and Meg are “feeling fine and in good health,” and the decision comes instead from a desire to “preserve what is beautiful and special about the band.” There were no creative differences, no lack of wanting to continue, no health issues, no in-fighting. They added that they want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of The White Stripes’ intense and incredible career. “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”
In the time after the news broke, the sales of their music had a massive boost. The band’s live album and documentary ‘Under Great White Northern Lightsactually had a  2,644% increase, according to Amazon’s UK site. Their older albums also saw large increases in sales. Question is, will they change their minds in the future? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Mick Jagger to Hit the Grammy Stage for the First Time

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones is finally giving in to the Grammy’s for the first time in his long, long career. Jagger will perform on the stage February 13th with soul singer Raphael Saadiq as part of a tribute to soul singer Solomon Burke who died last year. Burke opened several times in his late career for the band, and Jagger feels a strong connection to him.
“We’re thrilled, delighted, excited and very much looking forward to Mick doing his debut on the Grammy stage,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy. “It’s extraordinary to many of us that the fact is, this will be the first time; he has never performed on the Grammy stage.”
This is not really the first time Jagger has performed for the Grammy’s, but the previous performance was over satellite, when the band received the lifetime achievment award presented by Eric Clapton.
This won’t be Jagger’s first appearance on a Grammy telecast. In 1986, the Rolling Stones were given a lifetime achievement award by Eric Clapton, and they performed on the show by satellite. “I think they had been celebrating a little time before we went on camera,” Ken Ehrlich said. “It was quite a moment.”
Ehrlich has produced the show for 31 years and has always wanted Jagger and the Stones to perform, but it didn’t work out until this year.Jagger will join a performers list that includes Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eminem, Arcade Fire, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Usher, Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Justin Bieber.

American Idol Releases ‘Greatest Hits’ Album

Scheduled to be released on March 15th, American Idol is releases their first ‘Greatest Hits’ album. Named “American Idol 10th Anniversary – The Hits”, the album will feature songs by Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Fantasia and David Cook.
This will mark the first album that American Idol releases including all of their seasons winners. They have previously released “Greatest Hits” albums, but they only encompassed the hits from their respective seasons. The new album will include all the winners from the past 10 seasons, with additional tracks from runner-ups Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken.
See the full track listing below:

1. Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone”
2. Ruben Studdard – “Superstar”
3. Clay Aiken – “Invisible”
4. Fantasia – “When I See U”
5. Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats”
6. Taylor Hicks – “Takin’ It To The Streets”
7. Daughtry – “Home”
8. Jordin Sparks (duet with Chris Brown) – “No Air”
9. David Cook – “Light On”
10. Kris Allen – “Live Like We’re Dying”
11. Adam Lambert – “Whataya Want From Me”
12. Lee DeWyze – “Sweet Serendipity”

Will you buy it? I’m not sure if I will… I haven’t liked every American Idol that has won the show, and the ones I did like I already purchased either as an album, or as a single (more often than not.)

American Idol Rewind: Kelly, America’s Original Idol

As American Idol celebrates it’s 10th anniversary (season premiere TONIGHT 8EST/7CST on Fox with live-blogging threads for each show here at YakkityYaks!), the Yak thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and look back and the previous nine contestants America voted as their Idol. Of course, we’ll begin with our look at America’s original Idol beauty, Kelly Clarkson. Don’t forget to check out the Yak’s Top 10 Idol Auditions as we gear for yet another wacky (and surprising) audition season.

One question before we begin…Brian Dunkelman who? Good decision by the Idol gods to not invite him back, no? OK, back to Kelly. Compared to the other 9 Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson is usually held on a higher pedestal alongside another Idol alum, Carrie Underwood. Many fans argue that Clarkson is still Idol’s best and most loved winner. To each his/her own. That’s not what we’re here to debate. There is no doubt that Kelly Clarkson paved the way for future Idol seasons giving us contestants that will eventually take the music industry by storm. Kelly graced the Idol stage in 2002 and defeated lady favorite Justin Guarini for the top spot. Afterwards, she went on the represent the United States on the international stage, at World Idol in 2003. To date, Clarkson has released four studio albums: double-platinum debut album Thankful (2003), multi-platinum Breakaway (2004), My December (2007), and All I Ever Wanted (2009). Clarkson is working on her 5th album, titled May, likely scheduled for a May 2011 release (or a rumored March release). Selling over 10.5 million copies in the United States, Clarkson proved she would be a force to be reckoned with and that Idol could be a viable springboard for hopefuls in years to come. Based on downloads alone, Kelly Clarkson is the only American Idol to have reached number one in the UK with her single “My Life Would Suck Without You.” She has sold 36 million singles and 23 million albums worldwide.

Earning 58% of the vote (to Guarini’s 42%), Clarkson won the hearts of America with her Texas charm. Her first released single, “A Moment Like This,” rose from 52 to 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The single, subsequently tacked on to her debut album, helped propel Thankful to sell more than 236,000 copies in its first week alone. Some of her biggest performances on Idol have been tapped over and over again on YouTube and around the internet. Wowing America and the judge’s with her rendition of “RESPECT” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, Clarkson showed she was here to stay, even with no audience to feed off of. “A Natural Woman” propelled Kelly to runner-up at the World Idol competition a year after her Idol victory, placing second behind Norway’s best, Kurt Nilsen.

But Kelly’s success wasn’t without it’s drama. Shortly after winning the competition, Kelly was accused of working with a record company, against Idol’s rules. She was eventually cleared of any allegations, as she she only had a contract in order to conduct demonstration work. Her debut album, Thankful, premiered at number one on Billboard’s 200 and reached double-platinum by the end of 2003. Critics were quick to say this would be Kelly’s only success, living off of her recent Idol victory, and that her album was missing the personality she showed on screen. Clarkson earned her first Grammy nomination in 2004 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance with the album’s second, and arguably biggest, single, “Miss Independent.” But Kelly wasn’t going to stop there.

Moving a bit away from the Idol springboard, Kelly wanted to take a little more creative control with her second album, Breakaway, as the title alludes to. She took on a more rock-oriented image, which was actually very well received by her fans. Initially the sales were low, but fans came out in droves when singles from the album were released. The album eventually became the fourth album in Billboard history to stay on the Billboard 200 top 20 for a consecutive year. The first single, “Breakaway,” used for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, achieved considerable success. However, it was “Since U Been Gone” that propelled Kelly’s second album to fame. Leading to Kelly’s first Grammy Award (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance), the single also helped the album pick up a win for Best Pop Vocal Album. Breakaway propelled Clarkson to participate in a number of festivities including NBA games, the Torino Olympics, NCAA Final Four and the MTV Video Music Awards, where she picked up Best Female Video for “Because of You.”

Clarkson then went on to part ways with her management after low airplay for singles from her third album, My December. The same month, word went around that her first nationwide arena tour was cancelled due to underwhelming ticket sales and that she will rather be performing at smaller, more intimate venues. My December still sold enough and reached platinum in December 2007. In early 2007 when Clarkson appeared at the charity event Idol Gives Back, she refused to follow her label’s demands in performing her own single, “Never Again.” “My label wanted me to sing ‘Never Again,’ and I was like, to promote yourself on a charity event is beyond crass. People are starving and dying and I’m up there singing some bitter pop song? And believe me, everyone wanted me to sing it. Because they are jaded and they have no soul. Imagine sitting in a room full of people totally against you. Can’t they hear themselves speaking? Capitalize on AIDS? Are you kidding? Insulting an entire nation of people? I just refused.” Clarkson is still widely respected in the Idol circles, with Cowell commenting everyone around her still seems amateur when she returns to the Idol stage.

Clarkson’s 4th album, All I Ever Wanted, earned her another Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2009. Her first single, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” also featured on Glee, climbed from #97 to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in just one week, breaking the record for largest leap to the top previously held by Britney’s “Womanizer.” And that brings us to today…Clarkson’s latest single from her 5th studio album is expected to drop sometime in January, perfectly coinciding with the premiere of Idol during it’s 10th anniversary. In addition to her pop days, Kelly has done collaborations with Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire and most recently, Jason Aldean, diving into the country music realm. And she’s been more than welcome, receiving top nod nominations with the Country Music Association.

One little point in Clarkson’s career I’m almost certain she’s trying to forget was her film debut in From Justin to Kelly. As part of her contractual obligations after winning American Idol, Clarkson starred in this musical film with Guarini. It was poorly received by critics, fans, and even Kelly herself. “I knew when I read the script it was going to be real, real bad, but when I won, I signed that piece of paper and I could not get out of it.”

Even in the midst of all of this, Kelly Clarkson is still one of the show’s most memorable superstars. Dabbling on the small screen, the big screen, the radio, internet and even from genre to genre, Kelly is still arguably one of the mega-hit’s biggest and best mega stars. Rivaling the likes of other Idol winners and should-have-been winners (cough*Daughtry*cough), Kelly hasn’t given any indication she’s ready to leave the music business. In fact, breaking away from the main stream seems to be her mainstay and a successful one at that. We’re not expecting anything different with her upcoming album and her future ventures.

Kelly Clarkson, your original American Idol, crowned just 8 years ago. Relive Kelly’s winning performance of “A Moment Like This” below to relive her biggest Idol moment. And don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on Kelly Clarkson by commenting below or joining our FORUMS for free to discuss her success (or lack thereof if you’re not a fan)! Also, be sure to check out our feature on Season 2 winner, Ruben Studdard, tomorrow!

American Idol: Top 10 Best Auditions

American Idol hits it’s 10th season on the airwaves tomorrow night with it’s much anticipated winter premiere (8EST/7CST on Fox). Lots has changed with the show following Simon Cowell’s departure. Ellen Degeneres left the judge’s table, soon followed by Kara DioGuardi. Randy Jackson is the only original judge left and welcomed Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler to the panel. A few more changes will be made to the show’s format this season, which you can read all about HERE! As we prepare to begin a new season with the audition stage, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the best Idol auditions of the past. We’ve narrowed it down to our Top 10, but we know you’ll have a different list. So check ours out and be sure to comment below and share your very own Top 10 list here in our forums! Didn’t like ours? Well let us know below! Here we go…

#10. Clay Aiken, “Always and Forever”

Love him or hate him, Clay was the original Idol surprise, if you will. Walking in, not looking like a pop star, only to surprise the judges and America with his powerful and soothing voice, Clay gave them reason to believe he had what it takes to follow Clarkson and become the next American Idol. And he got pretty close…Until he released “Invisible” and I think people’s opinion on Clay started to change.