The Melanie Amaro Factor:

Simon Cowell’s post-American Idol American export The X-Factor closed its first season last Thursday, December 22nd before the holiday, awarding 19-year-old underdog Melanie Amaro from Sunrise, Florida a $5 million recording contract to be jumpstarted during February 5th’s Super Bowl commercial assault via Pepsi-Cola. Originally cut by Cowell early on in the show, he later went to the young Mariah Carey-esque protégée’s home to admit his “massive mistake,” re-inviting her back to the competition, ultimately leading up to her victory, Cowell trumpeting after the celebration, “We came to America to find a superstar and we found a superstar” (via the Chicago Tribune).

Janet Jackson vs. PETA:

Controversial animal rights group PETA is back with a cute little holiday bundle of kindling to light up the press with, featuring Janet Jackson as “Grinch of the Year” for her exploitation of animals with the fur-related fashion line she launched in late 2011, Blackglama (via NME). PETA’s Wendy Wegner quotes: “When Janet Jackson had her infamous wardrobe malfunction during Super Bowl XXXVIII, at least what popped into the view of 170 million onlookers belonged to her, unlike the animal skins she drapes herself in, which are as dead as her fashion taste and her career.” Fully aware of the irony in writing about this, still PETA, you catch more bees with honey. But we suppose you wouldn’t want to catch any bees anyhow. Thank you for reminding us of the nipple, though. Never forget the nipple! Otherwise to PETA’s credit, we’re still waiting for Jackson’s follow up to 2008’s Discipline, since her management last told Billboard in July that she’s still shopping around for producers.

A GaGa X-Mas Message: 

Those looking for a filthy holiday companion piece to her bump-and-grind “White Christmas” parody at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, Lady GaGa dug into her vault over the holiday weekend and gifted the world with an unreleased Born This Way cut eloquently titled, “Stuck On Fuckin’ You.” Explaining via tweet, GaGa said, “We recorded it in one shot. Fernando [Geribay] Garibay on guitar, Paul [Blair] on drum machine. I wrote, sang and freestyle the last minute + a half of the song.” Snarling like early PJ Harvey with a smidgen of the R&B backbone she always falls back on, fun with delay on this one – Gaga emoting, “Don’t forget me when I leave and go on tour/’Cause I know your life will be a snore/You’d be stuck on fucking this hooker whore.”

A Cat Power X-Mas Message:

Nine days before Christmas, Chan Marshall, a.k.a. Cat Power, promised a new tune both as a tease leading up to the companion news of a new album in the works and as a charity drive for the Festival of Children Foundation and The Ali Forney Centre. The new tune, dropped on Christmas Eve on her website is a stark reworking of 1996’s What Would the Community Think cut, “King Rides By,” of which she teamed up with director Giovanni Ribisi and boxer Manny Pacquiao to package everything in a meditative punching bag video of sorts. It’s hypnotizing, Marshall billowing about, “Oh love, my love, for someone else’s hand/Needing love more than you’ll ever know,” as Pacquiao beats the hell out of a speed bag in slow motion.


We could latch on to some blues standard by Robert Johnson or Cat Stevens‘ harmonious “Peace Train,” but there’s no finer bat-eating balls-to-the-wall way to salute the U.S. government’s operational takeover of the nation’s railroads on this day in 1917 than Ozzy‘s first hit single after leaving Black Sabbath, “Crazy Train,” Ozzy shrilling, “I’m gong off the rails on a crazy train.”