Welcome to the inaugural installment of the GRAMMY.com Hot List. Here you'll find a roundup of the hottest, baddest and most talked-about music stories of the year so far … according to us. Our list, of course, is in no way complete, so make sure you let us know what's on your hot list in the comments section below.
The Return Of The Lilith Ladies
Four female singer/songwriters who performed on the original Lilith Fair tour from 1997–1999 are making a comeback. Festival co-founder and GRAMMY winner Sarah McLachlan, who recently released Shine On, her first album in four years, kicks off her tour June 20. Fellow GRAMMY winner Shawn Colvin has teamed with GRAMMY-winning folk singer/songwriter Steve Earle for a set of dates through June. GRAMMY nominee Tori Amos is currently supporting her latest effort, Unrepentant Geraldines, with an international tour, while Natalie Merchant, who released her first set of original material in 13 years on May 6, is currently in the midst of an international tour, with dates scheduled through September. Is a Lilith Fair reunion tour next?
It's possible no other artist has been talked about more than Pharrell Williams this year. He picked up four awards at the 56th GRAMMYs on Jan. 26, including Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Record Of The Year for one of the hottest songs of 2013, Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." He earned a second Record Of The Year nod for Robin Thicke's infectious "Blurred Lines." On March 3 he released his first solo album in eight years, GIRL, which jumped to No. 2 on the Billboard 200. He also scored a No. 1 hit with "Happy" from Despicable Me 2, and people are still talking about the Vivienne Westwood hat he wore to the GRAMMYs, which launched its own Twitter account and was later purchased by fast-food chain Arby's for more than $40,000. And if that isn’t enough, Skateboard P recently signed on as a season seven coach on "The Voice" and will help everyone smell good with a new GIRL fragrance set to hit shelves in the fall.
Jimmy Fallon's Viral Lip-Sync Battles
The first episode of his "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" aired just a little more than three months ago on Feb. 17, but Jimmy Fallon's epic lip-syncing battles have gone viral. Celebrities who have gone lip-to-lip with Fallon include actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paul Rudd and Emma Stone. The latter made arguably the best showing during an April episode when she proved she can handle lightning-fast lyrics by performing DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" and Blues Traveler's "Hook."
Chad Smith And Will Ferrell
During a GRAMMY Week event earlier this year, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith arrived with a sign that read "I'm Not Will Ferrell." The musician's mistaken identity has since become the talk of the town, though some sources claim Ferrell has been posing as Smith since at least the early 2000s. The doppelgänger controversy came to an end on May 22 when Smith and Ferrell went head-to-head in a drum battle on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" to find out "who the real Chad Smith is." Ferrell needed more cowbell to pull off a surprise victory, and the good thing is proceeds from the drum-off went to charity.
June 25 will mark the five-year anniversary of the untimely death of GRAMMY winner Michael Jackson, and the King of Pop is still making headlines. On May 13 Xscape, a collection of eight songs recorded by Jackson from 1983–1999, was released and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Nearly a week later, on May 18 Jackson was immortalized on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards when a virtual "ghost" image of the singer appeared to perform "Slave To The Rhythm." And just last week Jackson made history on the Billboard Hot 100 when "Love Never Felt So Good" featuring Justin Timberlake jumped to No. 9, making the King of Pop the only artist to hit the Top 10 in five consecutive decades.