Celebrity Entertaiment

Elton John to Host ‘Living Room’ Coronavirus Benefit Concert

Coming together. Elton John is set to host a benefit concert to pay tribute to medical professionals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America will feature performances by Alicia Keys, the Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw and more. In order to ensure the health and safety of those involved, the artists will perform live from their homes and film themselves with their personal cellphones, cameras and audio equipment.

Elton John to Host Star-Studded Coronavirus Benefit Concert with Alicia Keys Billie Eilish and Mariah Carey
Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish and Mariah Carey. Broadimage/Shutterstock; David Fisher/Shutterstock; Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

The hourlong special will be broadcast commercial-free on Fox Sunday, March 29, at 9 p.m. ET — the same time that the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards had been set to air before being postponed due to the crisis. It will also stream on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide as well as via the iHeartRadio app.

The highly anticipated music event will “provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic,” according to a press release.

Viewers and listeners are encouraged to donate to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation, both of which have been helping victims and first responders around the clock in recent months.

Elton John to Host Star-Studded Coronavirus Benefit Concert
Elton John in concert at the Bismarck Civic Center in Bismarck, North Dakota on April 6, 2011. Shutterstock

The announcement was made on Wednesday, March 25, which is John’s 73rd birthday.

The first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization classified it as a pandemic earlier this month. More than 20,000 people worldwide have died from the virus, which has had major outbreaks in China, Italy, the United States, Spain, Germany, Iran and France. More than 60,000 cases have been reported in the U.S. alone, with over 800 deaths.

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, Colton Underwood and Prince Charles are among the celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19. Other stars, including Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande, have used their platforms to urge fans to self-quarantine at home in order to help prevent the disease from spreading further.

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDCWHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Oscars 2020 performers announced: Idina Menzel, Elton John

And the performers for the 2020 Oscars are: Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Randy Newman.

The musicians, many of them actors in their own rights, will perform their Oscar-nominated songs at the 2020 ceremony, which takes place Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Menzel, 48, notably returns to the Oscars stage after fellow actor John Travolta absolutely butchered her name in 2014, calling her Adele Dazeem. But the “Uncut Gems” actress and “Frozen” singer got back at him the following year by calling him “Glom Gazingo.” This year, she’ll perform “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen 2” — one of this year’s Oscars snubs.

“We’re excited to have an incredible group of nominees and performers who will deliver one-of-a-kind music moments you will only see on the Oscars,” show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain told Deadline.

The awards, which are going hostless again this year, will also feature Questlove and guest conductor Eímear Noone, presumably to lead the orchestra in their “wrap it up” harmonies.

The performers are all up for awards this year. Erivo, 33, is nominated for Best Actress for her role in “Harriet,” in which she sang “Stand Up.”

Newman, 76, will perform “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4.” The piece is nominated for a Best Original Song award. Metz, 39, will perform “I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough,” also nominated for Best Original Song.

And John, 72, will sing “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from his biopic “Rocketman.” John wrote the lyrics and music with his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin. The song is the only nomination the film received this year.

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Maxine Taupin tells story behind Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’

Maxine Taupin remembers the first time she heard the Elton John song “Tiny Dancer.” But, then again, the moment would be impossible for her to forget.

“I knew it was about me,” she told The Post. “I had been into ballet as a little girl and sewed patches on Elton’s jackets and jeans” — both references in the song.

“I had goosebumps,” she recalled of that first listen, at London’s Trident Studios in 1971.

“Elton was on one side of me and Bernie was on the other. That song was like having your really good friends give you the best gift you could ever receive.”

”Bernie” is her ex-husband, Bernie Taupin, who has written most of John’s best lyrics.

Hand-written Elton John lyrics for “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road”.Bonhams

On Monday, Maxine, who is 67 and resides in Los Angeles, is auctioning off handwritten lyrics to some of Taupin and John’s most iconic collaborations, including “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” and “Your Song.” The sale, held at Bonhams in LA, comprises six lyric sheets — some annotated by John — with estimates as high as $250,000 each.

Taupin and John have long shared an unusual collaborative relationship, with the singer only composing the music after he’d read the lyrics.

“I just go to the studio and there are lyrics waiting for me and I look through them and see which one I want to start with, and then I try and write a song,” John told Jimmy Kimmel in 2016. “I never, ever know what the lyrics are gonna be up-front.”

Maxine recalled being at Château d’Hérouville in northwestern France, in 1973, while Taupin and John were working on the album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

“We all stayed in one building,” Maxine remembered. “Bernie would be up in our bedroom, writing lyrics. When finished, he would show them to me. Next morning, he’d walk downstairs to the dining room to see Elton for breakfast. There was a piano there and that is where Elton composed the music. Then Elton would give the lyrics back to Bernie and I would put them into folders for safe keeping. Over the years, I [started keeping] them in a temperature-controlled vault.”

Maxine even came up with one of the team’s most memorable song titles: “Elton had just come back from one of his tours. He was talking about how tired he was and about how difficult the long hours on stage had been . . . In the midst of all that, I rolled my eyes and said, ‘Oh, the bitch is back.’”

“We all started laughing and Bernie thought it would make a great song title.”

Released in 1974, “The Bitch is Back” became a top-10 chart-topper and garnered gold-record status.

The Taupins, who never had children, divorced in 1976. Maxine last saw John 10 years ago at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills where she congratulated him on his engagement to David Furnish.

She said that while Taupin received most of his lyrical booty in their split she still came out on top. “He had a lot of the originals. But I had the hits!”

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Alfre Woodard Reacts to Elton John Slamming ‘Lion King’ Remake

Alfre Woodard Reacts to Elton John Calling the ‘Lion King’ Remake a ‘Disappointment’
Alfre Woodard and Elton John. Andrew H. Walker/Shutterstock; Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Hakuna matata. Alfre Woodard has no worries after Elton John criticized the remake of The Lion King.

“I don’t traffic in any of those things,” the Oscar nominee, 67, told Us Weekly exclusively at the 29th annual IFP Gotham Awards sponsored by Fiji at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Monday, December 2. “I didn’t even read reviews. Don’t tell anybody. It’s like, you do your work and you go on and that’s it.”

The legendary singer, 72, made headlines in October when he called the Jon Favreau-directed photorealistic remake “a huge disappointment.”

“I believe they messed the music up,” he told GQ U.K. at the time. “Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost. The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success.”

John continued, “I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”

Alfre Woodard Reacts to Elton John Calling the ‘Lion King’ Remake a ‘Disappointment’
Alfre Woodard at the 29th annual IFP Gotham Awards in New York on December 2, 2019. Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

The pianist famously composed and sang several songs in the original 1994 animated Disney movie, including the Oscar-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” The 2019 soundtrack includes songs by Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen.

Despite John’s criticism, Woodard told Us on Monday that she thinks Beyoncé, 38, is “a brilliant performer,” adding, “Sometimes people can be good and even really wonderful and great, but there’s times when there’s people that nobody is like them or has been or can be like them, and we cherish them.”

The 2019 remake of The Lion King became the hugest-grossing animated film of all time, surpassing Frozen. Woodard voiced Sarabi, the wife of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and mother of Simba (Glover).

With reporting by Marc Lupo

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Elton John wore a diaper and ‘pissed’ himself at Vegas gig

Elton John has peed on stage in front of his fans.

The musical legend revealed this and other lurid trivia about his life on “Elton John: Uncensored,” a 57-minute long interview between John, 72, and Irish television personality Graham Norton, 56, published exclusively by BBC1.

In 2017, John performed a show in Las Vegas just two weeks after having a prostate cancer operation that impacted his bladder control. As a result, he wore a diaper on stage, he says in the interview.

“If only they knew,” he says of his audience during that gig, “at that moment I was pissing myself.”

The singer was diagnosed with the cancer in 2017 and had surgery shortly after, instead of undergoing chemotherapy. The operation was successful, but an infection days later nearly killed him, he says in his memoir, “Me.”

John also lent insight into his decision to wear a toupee, The Guardian writes in a review.

“I don’t like being bald. I look like Shrek,” the pop icon explains.

Elton John, wearing a white suit, black shirt with flower motif and multicolored sunglasses, London, November 1973
Elton John, London, November 1973.Getty Images

And while he doesn’t enjoy appearing like an ogre, he’s okay with being a cyborg. “I’m like the bionic woman,” he laughs, in regards to having a pacemaker but no tonsils, prostate, appendix or hair.

But for all John’s admissions, critics weren’t convinced he had really opened up: “The rocket man looks back but doesn’t stop to think, and deep below the surface, Elton John’s censor is working as hard as ever,” the Guardian’s Ed Cumming wrote.

The interview comes just a few months after the release of the musical “Rocketman,” biopic, with Taron Egerton playing John. Egerton will also be reading John’s memoir audiobook, it was announced in August.

Last month, John postponed a concert following his mother-in-law’s death.

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