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Kendrick Lamar performs new ‘Black Panther’ song during national championship halftime show

While the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide battled for college football supremacy under the closed roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, rap luminary Kendrick Lamar combated damp, chilly weather at nearby Centennial Olympic Park.

Expectations were high for Lamar’s appearance, which will be footnoted as the first-ever halftime performance at the College Football Playoff National Championship. The musical showcase aired live on ESPN, but not inside the stadium, where the university bands received the spotlight. 

The 30-year-old native of Compton, Calif., took to the massive stage and catwalk as the game tilted in Georgia’s favor with a 13-0 lead. 

A few thousand fans led a chant of “Ken-drick La-mar” until the cerebral rapper was illuminated in white light, crouched at the back of the stage. 

Pops of pyro and a haze of smoke blanketed the background as Lamar, clad in a black coat with fur-ringed hood and gloves, blasted through favorites including “DNA” and “Humble.” 

The vivacious audience sang along heartily and pumped their fists to the choruses as Lamar stalked the stage alone

Lamar nimbly spit his rhymes, leading the crowd in a hand bounce, but kept the focus solely on his music. 

With his nine-minute performance completed, he strode to each end of the stage, saluting the audience, which waved its smartphones (despite the pre-performance announcement that phones were not permitted) in a desperate attempt to coax him into one more song. 

Lamar’s presence was a notable draw. A few minutes before kickoff, music and football devotees filled about half of half of the park – most of them crowded toward the massive video screen broadcasting the game, with many others hanging back, clearly not interested in anything to do with pigskin. 

“Chappie” Chapman was waiting with a beer in her hand and one at her feet for Lamar’s performance. When asked if she had any interest in the game, she smiled. 

“Not. At. All,” she said. 

Chapman lives near the park and said when she heard at work today that Lamar was playing, she knew how her night would be spent. 

“When you have Kendrick Lamar for free…,” she said, her voice implying the “no-brainer”-ness of the opportunity.

Likewise 19-year-old Decatur resident Branden Smith, who came to the park with his football fan brother. Smith, however, was only there for the halftime show. 

“I’ve never seen (Lamar) live, and I like his music,” Smith said, citing “Damn” as a favorite. 

Lamar, who performed in Atlanta last summer with a sold-out show at Infinite Energy Arena, is poised to have a big night at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 28 in New York. 

He is nominated for seven awards, including album of the year and best rap album for “Damn” and record of the year for “Humble.” He’s already received seven Grammy awards in his career

Lamar’s prestige factor also received a boost last week with the announcement that he and his Top Dawg Entertainment record label chief Anthony Tiffith will curate and produce the soundtrack to Marvel’s “Black Panther.” 

The film arrives Feb. 16; the soundtrack will feature the newly released Lamar single with labelmate SZA, “All the Stars.”

Moody Blues co-founder Ray Thomas dead at 76

Ray Thomas, flutist, vocalist and a founding member of the Moody Blues, died Thursday, Rolling Stone reported Sunday. He was 76.

>> Read more trending news

Thomas' label, Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records, confirmed on Facebook that Thomas died suddenly at his home in Surrey, England. No cause of death was announced, but Thomas disclosed in 2014 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, Billboard reported.

In a statement four years ago, Thomas said “My cancer was inoperable but I have a fantastic doctor who immediately started me on a new treatment that has had 90% success rate,” The Daily Mail reported.

"We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humor and kindness," the label wrote. "It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife Lee at this sad time."

Thomas's flute solo was a key ingredient on one of the band’s biggest hits, “Nights in White Satin,” and he sang lead vocals on several songs, including “Legend of a Mind,” a tribute to LSD guru Timothy Leary.

The band is scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in April, Billboard reported.

Moody Blues bassist John Lodge tweeted Sunday that, "Ray and I have been on this magical journey through life together since we were 14. ... two young kids from Birmingham who reached for the stars...and we made it together. El Riot you will always be by my side." Thomas and Lodge played together in their band El Riot and the Rebels in the early Sixties, Rolling Stone reported. 

In 1964, Thomas and keyboardist Michael Pinder formed the Moody Blues with drummer Graeme Edge, bassist Clint Warwick and guitarist Denny Laine. That lineup would release the hit “Go Now” and the 1965 LP “The Magnificent Moodies,” which featured Thomas on lead vocals for "It Ain't Necessarily So."

The Moody Blues replaced Laine with Justin Hayward and Warwick with Lodge to form the band's classic lineup. Thomas played on all of the Moody Blues’ albums until his retirement in 2002.

Kelly Clarkson says she's 'not above' spanking her children

Kelly Clarkson has never been one to put too much value on the judgment of others, and she’s the same way when it comes to raising her two small children, daughter River Rose and son Remy.

>> On RareCountry.com: Kelly Clarkson shares a brand-new pic of her sweater-loving son

In an interview posted on Radio.com, the singer-songwriter recently said, “I’m not above a spanking, which people aren’t necessarily into. And I don’t mean, like, hitting her hard; I just mean a spanking.”

Clarkson, who has never shied away from being open with fans, also said, “So my parents spanked me, and I did fine in life and I feel fine about it.”

The Texas native explained about disciplining her 3-year-old daughter, “I warn her. I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m going to spank you on your bottom if you don’t stop right now. Like, this is ridiculous.’”

>> Read more trending news 

Clarkson also noted that, despite receiving the same sort of discipline as a youngster, “I’m a well-rounded individual with a lot of character, so I think it’s fine.”

Read more at RareCountry.com.

>> Click here to listen

Justin Timberlake's newest single getting 'Filthy' reaction

Justin Timberlake released “Filthy,” the first single from his upcoming album, to mixed reviews, Billboard reported Friday. Twitter was buzzing when the song was released early Friday, and while some fans enjoyed it, some “haters gon’ say it’s fake,” to quote a line from the song.

>> Read more trending news

The track is from “Man of Woods,” Timberlake’s fifth solo album, which is scheduled to be released Feb. 2, Billboard reported. It is the first album for the 36-year-old singer since “The 20/20 Experience -- 2 of 2,” which was released in September 2013.

Timberlake advised his fans to play “Filthy” very loud, and the electro track is much different than his 2016 song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

Here is some of the reaction by Twitter fans:

Country singing legend Mickey Gilley injured in crash

Country singer Mickey Gilley was in high spirits despite being involved in an automobile accident Wednesday in east Texas, KTRK reported.

>> Read more trending news

“The airbags didn't deploy,” the 81-year-old singer said. “I don't know if that was a blessing or a curse.”

Gilley suffered a broken ankle and fractured shoulder after the car he and his son were in flipped at an intersection to avoid another car, KTRK reported.

Gilley said his son was driving a Toyota Scion northbound on U.S. 59 as they headed toward the singer’s home in Branson, Missouri. When another car crossed in front of them at an intersection, Gilley’s son swerved to avoid it and their car flipped, KTRK reported.

“It was like slow motion,” Gilley told KTRK. “The unbelievable feeling you get when you know you're going to hit something and there's nothing you can do about it.”

He remembers his son cutting him out of his seat belt. He was photographed in a red jacket after he was rescued.

“At 81, I'm very lucky. When I open my shows now, I tell the people I just turned 81, I hope I look like I'm 50. I walk like I'm 90,” Gilley said. "So I'm gonna be walking like I'm 100 now, with this boot on my left leg.”

Carrie Underwood photo taken after fall surfaces on social media

It came as a shock to fans when Carrie Underwood revealed that there was more to the story of the news surrounding her broken wrist.

>> Carrie Underwood tells fan club that she injured face in fall, needed 40-50 stitches

The “Heartbeat” songstress suffered a nasty fall outside her Nashville home in November just a few days after the 2017 CMA Awards. Since the tumble, it seemed that she hadn't posed for any pictures.

>> On RareCountry.com: Carrie Underwood admits she wasn’t prepared for this frigid adventure

In a letter to her fan club members on New Year’s Day, Underwood shared why she has kept such a low profile.

She wrote: “In addition to breaking my wrist, I somehow managed to injure my face as well. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but when I came out of surgery the night of my fall, the doctor told Mike that he had put between 40 and 50 stitches in.”

>> Read more trending news 

Carrie also told fans that she’s still “healing and not quite looking the same,” but when she’s ready to get in front of a camera, “I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different. I’m hoping that, by then, the differences are minimal, but, again, I just don’t know how it’s all going to end up.”

Despite Underwood's update, it looks like a new photo of her post-fall has already surfaced on social media.

Adrienne Gang, a reality star from the first season of Bravo’s “Below Deck," shared a photo on Twitter of her posing next to Carrie after a Dec. 12 workout class.

>> See the photo here

“Just worked out next to @carrieunderwood NBD,” Gang captioned the photo of the two new workout buddies. “She is adorable and so gracious… LOVE HER! #BelowDeck.”

Later, Gang also revealed that she “had no idea” the “Church Bells” hit-maker had ever been hurt.

“She had a wrist brace on, but I didn’t think much of it until I saw the headlines after I posted our picture together,” Gang told US Weekly on Tuesday. “I didn’t notice anything amiss on her face. Simply, she looked lovely. She was extremely friendly and gracious.”

Carrie Underwood tells fan club that she injured face in fall, needed 40-50 stitches

Sometimes, things aren’t what they seem.

Carrie Underwood fans were concerned when the country star took a spill on her front steps in November, causing her to cancel an appearance at a benefit show in Nashville and husband Mike Fisher to come home from a hunting trip. Underwood revealed that she had broken her wrist significantly enough that it required surgery, which is why Fisher came back to Nashville.

>> Carrie Underwood breaks wrist, sustains other injuries in fall

But a few days after her surgery, Fisher shared a poignant post on his Instagram that made it seem as if that tumble down her steps may have been something worse. Still, no other details were shared by either Underwood or Fisher. And since then, the couple has been relatively quiet.

In a letter to members of her fan club, Underwood has shared more details of the injuries she sustained in that fall.

Underwood explained that she is still receiving physical therapy for her wrist, then added: "There is also another part of the story that I haven’t been ready to talk about since I have still been living it and there has been much uncertainty as to how things will end up. It’s crazy how a freak random accident can change your life.”

>> Carrie Underwood goes in for surgery after breaking wrist

She continued: “In addition to breaking my wrist, I somehow managed to injure my face as well. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but when I came out of surgery the night of my fall, the doctor told Mike that he had put between 40 and 50 stitches in.”

She also wrote: “Now … 7 weeks later and, even though I’ve had the best people helping me, I’m still healing and not quite looking the same. I honestly don’t know how things are going to end up but I do know this: I am grateful. I am grateful that it wasn’t much, much worse. And I am grateful for the people in my life that have been there every step of the way.”

Underwood said she has a long way to go in the recovery process but is also hopeful.

>> Read more trending news 

“I am determined to make 2018 amazing and I want to share things with you along the way," she wrote. "And when I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different.”

The Rare Country Awards Female Artist of the Year expressed her gratitude to her fans and also revealed that she is heading into the studio in early January.

Mariah Carey finds her New Year's tea, takes Twitter by storm

Mariah Carey got another chance to perform during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” after bombing last year, but she didn’t just slay her performances — she became an internet sensation in the process, and it was all thanks to her love of tea.

>> PHOTOS: New Year's celebrations around the world

At Sunday evening’s event, after she had finished performing her first song, Carey noticed that there was no tea on hand to warm her up in the tundra-esque New York climate.

>> PHOTOS: Freezing temps don’t deter crowds at Times Square for New Year’s Eve

“I was told there would be tea. Oh, it’s a disaster!” she told the audience. “OK, well, we’ll just have to rough it. I’m gonna be like everybody else with no hot tea.”

Given Carey's diva reputation, the request was fairly mundane. But social media users had plenty to say:

But of course, Carey always gets her own way, and in the end, she found her tea.

The pop icon announced the news that she would be performing at the televised celebration in a joint statement with Dick Clark Productions, saying, “We can all agree that last year didn’t go exactly as planned and we are thrilled to move forward together to provide America with an incredible night of music and celebration on ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018.’ See you in Times Square!”

>> Read more trending news 

In a public spat, the singer blamed her disastrous performance last year on ear piece issues and later accused the production company of purposely attempting to sabotage her. Dick Clark Productions denied involvement in Carey’s meltdown in a statement:

"In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that Dick Clark Productions 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."

“It is difficult to perform in Times Square,” Seacrest followed up on his "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" radio show last January, “[Carey] knows what Times Square is about. It’s complicated. Imagine every single TV outlet in the world was there. So, there’s all kinds of technical things going on."

Beyoncé rocks chic 'mom haircut' in new photo

When it comes to hair, Beyoncé has done it all, but now, she’s bringing back a classic look.

>> Read more trending news 

Fans have seen her in everything from the long ponytail she sported at Serena Williams’ wedding to the signature cornrows she had on the album cover of “Lemonade.” In her latest hair debut, Queen Bey is bringing back a fan favorite — the affectionately known “mom” haircut. The chic look — a short, chin length wavy bob in golden blonde — re-emerged in a series of photos on her website. The look first appeared soon after the Grammy winner wrapped up her self-titled album’s world tour.

>> See the photo here

The look was shown off in a series of photos snapped by her husband, Jay-Z. As mother of infant twins Rumi and Sir Carter, and 5-year-old Blue Ivy, the “mom” look is very fitting.

>> Destiny’s Child might reunite when Beyoncé performs at Coachella

The pop star’s hair stylist recently revealed her natural hair look a few weeks back, sending fans into a frenzy. A dismayed Neal Farinah, however, found himself calling out people who couldn’t believe the singer’s flowing tresses were real.

“Sometimes women make choices, and black women are not the only ones who wear wigs, weaves and pieces. Remember that!” he said in an Instagram video.

>> Year in review: The 7 most controversial figures from 2017

“And underneath wigs and weaves? Black women have some of the most beautiful, curly hair. It’s a choice a woman makes — and that’s the choice a black woman makes to wear wigs or weaves. If she wants to, ain’t nothing wrong with it!” he added.

“So, the myth about Black women not having hair … y’all think again 'cause they have some of the most beautiful textured hair. Recognize!”

Jon Bon Jovi dines at South Florida restaurant

Wanted …. tuna tostada?

>> Read more trending news

That was on the  menu for celebrity rocker Jon Bon Jovi during his visit to a South Florida restaurant Wednesday afternoon. Bon Jovi and a party of nearly 20 adults and children dined at Benny’s on the Beach in Lake Worth.

His visit was not a surprise, Benny’s manager Justin McCall said.

Bon Jovi is a friend of Benny’s owner Lee Lipton and it was known that he would be stopping in. His appearance was not promoted out of concern that it might attract a larger-than-capacity crowd, McCall said.

“He was super chill,” McCall said of Bon Jovi, who ordered the seared Tuna Tostada, one of the restaurant’s best sellers. “He came and he ate and on his way out out, he stopped and took pictures with anybody who asked him.”

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