Feature Focus

2013-04-18T00:00:00Z Feature Focus nwitimes.com
April 18, 2013 12:00 am

McCartney lends voice to anti-gun violence effort

Paul McCartney is adding his voice to Tony Bennett's campaign against gun violence. The former Beatle recorded a voice message that was part of a text-to-call operation Wednesday for Bennett's Voices Against Violence campaign. McCartney and others encouraged Americans to send a text, which lead to the singer's message and connected the caller to their local Senate office after providing their zip code. The Senate was scheduled to vote Wednesday on a proposal to expand background checks, the linchpin of the effort to curb gun violence. In December, 20 children and six aides were shot and killed at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, propelling gun violence into a national issue. Families of the Newtown victims have been lobbying lawmakers. Other celebrities supporting include Alec Baldwin, Gloria Estefan, Josh Groban and Juanes. AP

Tracy Morgan to host Billboard Music Awards

Musicians beware: Tracy Morgan will host the Billboard Music Awards. Billboard announced Wednesday that the 44-year-old will host the awards show on May 19 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member says in a statement that he's honored to host the show. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars and Miguel will perform at the awards show. Prince will receive the icon award and will also hit the stage. Morgan adds in his statement: "And how can you say no when Prince is going to be there!" The Billboard Music Awards will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern. AP

Arbos says stutter didn't get him votes on 'Idol'

"American Idol" contestant Lazaro Arbos won the hearts of viewers not just because of his singing, but because of his personal story. The 22-year-old from Florida suffers from a severe stutter that disappears while he's performing. Though the Cuban-born performer acknowledges that his speech impediment got him attention, he doesn't think it won him votes. "I think that I had really good songs. I had bad songs, but I had really good ones (too) and when I messed up, they stopped voting for me," he said in an interview Monday. He went on to say that if he didn't stutter, he thinks he would have lasted longer on the show. Abros placed sixth on "Idol," which airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox. He was voted off last week and was the last male competitor this season. He said he bonded closely with the remaining girls on the show and he's interested in tuning in this week to see who gets sent home. "I'm excited to see what songs they pick and how they do and who goes home next, as bad as that sounds," he said, smiling. Abros will hit the road when the "Idol" contestants launch a tour this summer. AP

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