x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Madonna's album off the charts

Plus: Dustin Hoffman saves the life of a London man, Jermain Paul is crowned the winner of The Voice and much more.

Jay Sean. Courtesy MBC Group
Jay Sean. Courtesy MBC Group

Such timing - barely a month before she begins her much-hyped international concert tour, Madonna's latest album MDNA has dropped from the top 50 music charts this week. On Amazon.com, the album is at number 63, while on iTunes it's a dismal number 250. "The tour will go on without a promotional tool or a song on the radio. It's not the best way to do things," says Forbes magazine. Perhaps this calls for a rethink of the set list for her sold-out shows, making sure it's not heavy with tracks from the new album.

Dustin Hoffman saves London jogger

A man who had a heart attack while jogging in London's Hyde Park says his life was saved by a famous passer-by - Dustin Hoffman. Sam Dempster says the actor called an ambulance and waited with him after he collapsed on April 27. On his recovery blog, Dempster thanked "my new found favourite celebrity Dustin Hoffman who called 999 and waited by my side until paramedics arrived". Hoffman, who has a home in London, did not respond to requests for comment. * AP

American Idol down to final four

In tonight's episode of American Idol, to be broadcast at 9pm on OSN First, the final four contestants will each perform two songs: one originally sung by a Californian musician, and one they wish they had written. The remaining singers are Phillip Phillips, a 21-year-old bluesy rocker; Hollie Cavanagh, an 18-year-old balladeer; Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old student; and Joshua Ledet, a 20-year-old gospel singer. Last week saw the surprising elimination of the country singer Skylar Laine, who had been tipped to win the competition. Performing on Friday's results show are the former Idol winner David Cook and the judge Jennifer Lopez.

Jay Sean, Hamaky on Coke Studio

The fifth episode of Coke Studio, which was broadcast last night on MBC1, saw the remaking of one of Egypt's classic tunes, Mustafa Ya Mustafa, with a modern hip-hop and R&B twist. Mohammed Hamaky, one of Egypt's renowned singers, performed the new tune with the British R&B singer Jay Sean. The show's producer, Michel Elefteriades, even incorporated Spanish music into the mix, courtesy of Latin beats from an in-house band. Coke Studio is broadcast on Wednesdays at 10.30pm on MBC1.

The Voice crowns champion

A former backing singer for Alicia Keys moved up to the centre stage on Tuesday when he emerged the winner of the viewer-voted talent show The Voice. Jermaine Paul, a 33-year-old vocalist, was coached during the series by the country star Blake Shelton. He bested the indie rocker Juliet Simms, the former Disney Mouseketeer Tony Lucca and the classical singer Chris Mann. Paul wins the show's grand prize of US$100,000 (Dh367,000) and a record deal with Universal Republic. * AP

Maurice Sendak's legacy remembered

Maurice Sendak, who died on Tuesday at age 83, revolutionised children's books simply by leaving in what many writers before had excluded. His kids misbehaved and didn't regret it, and in their dreams and nightmares they fled to the most unimaginable places.

Upon receiving the Caldecott Medal in 1964 for Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak said: "It is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming wild things."

No one granted the privilege could forget his snarly smile, his adorable dismissals of such modern piffle as e-books, his misleading insistence that his life didn't matter. "It's a common story: Brooklyn boy grows up and succeeds in his profession, period," he said.

In recent months, he had said he was working on a project about noses. He endorsed Stephen Colbert's I am a Pole (And So Can You!) which, in a remarkable coincidence, was published on Tuesday (with Sendak's blurb: "The sad thing is, I like it."). "We are all honoured to have been briefly invited into his world," Colbert said in a statement. In an appearance on The Colbert Report in January, Sendak argued he doesn't write for children: "I write, and somebody says, 'That's for children'." * AP