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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Music

Wanna see a WWE superstar steal the spotlight from Shania Twain ... at a Shania Twain concert!?!?! Well, that's exactly what happened on Tuesday night in Canada when Twain pulled Kevin Owens out of the stands and brought him onstage. Owens is a huge Twain fan -- "When" is his favorite song -- and he brought a sign to the show hoping to get Shania's attention. The plan worked -- he got onstage ... and when Shania asked if he was "pro wrestler Kevin Owens" ... he grabbed the mic and took over. "I hate to correct you, but it's actually HUGE WWE SUPERSTAR KEVIN OWENS!" The crowd loved it! NOTE: If you're a huge singer, don't hand your microphone to a WWE star or you might just become 2nd fiddle at your own show. (TMZ)

Pop Shop Podcast: Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds on Speaking His 'Truth' With 'Believer' Documentary & Being an LGBTQ Ally. Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop-shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson, every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. On the latest show, we're joined by Dan Reynolds of the chart-topping rock band Imagine Dragons. The group's front man called in to discuss his new documentary film Believer, which follows his journey to, as he describes it, "speak my truth" and "ignite conversation around what our LGBTQ youth are facing in the Mormon religion, on a daily basis, and on a wider note, within orthodox religion and how certain teachings are hurting our youth and even killing our youth." The film -- from Live Nation Productions -- made its TV premiere on HBO on June 25 and was directed by Don Argott. The movie chronicles a number of months in Reynolds life in 2017 where he explores how the Mormon church treats its LGBTQ members, including that of fellow rock star -- and former Mormon -- Tyler Glennof Neon Trees. The film also gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at Reynolds' efforts to stage the first LoveLoud music and spoken-word festival, designed to help spark that a conversation between the church and the LGBTQ community. The 30-year-old Reynolds himself is Mormon and says that his "goal is to try to fix a broken culture" and to "put out the fire from within instead of just walking away" from the church. (Reynolds grew up in Utah, where more than half of the population is Mormon. He now lives in Las Vegas.) "If we just look at the facts," Reynolds says, "we know now why the suicide rate is eight times higher for our LGBTQ youth when they're not accepted in their home or community. And then we look at Utah, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, and is predominantly Mormon, and the suicide rate has gone up four times now, which that's not happening anywhere else in the U.S. ... I think religious guilt plays a huge role in it." Religious guilt has been with Reynolds since he was a teenager. "Basically every single Imagine Dragons song, to date, for the most part, has been about it -- has been about religious guilt. From our first song, you know? Probably most people don't know that because I really bury it within metaphors because that's how I've written since I was young, even when I was 13, when I was writing about feeling like, 'ah man, I don't know if this religion is right for me.' I mean my mom and dad were going to listen to the song so I didn't want them to know what it was about, so kind of buried it within metaphors." He recalls a story about when he was 13 and one of best friends was gay and Mormon. "I watched the struggle that he had with trying to live... you know, a faith that he believed, but that was also telling him that his innate sense of being that was unchangeable and perfect was flawed. And it was the first time that my heart didn't align with what I was being taught every Sunday. You know, the other things I was being taught was, be a good person, serve other people, families are forever, you're gonna die and be with your family in heaven. All those things sounded great, but this was the first time that I had a conflict about... it didn't seem like it was right that my friend wasn't allowed to love in the way that he wanted, but I was. In fact, my heterosexuality was celebrated." "The documentary follows the process of me realizing that I need to wake up and stand for something," Reynolds says. "And being quiet for all these years about things that I was feeling in my heart... I was really standing for bigotry, as a pacifist. I think in this day and age, if you're a silent voice, especially when you've been given a platform, I don't think you deserve a platform then. Because we need people to take stands. And so for me, this is a community that I'm part of that's broken and that's hurting. I want to make a change. I want to help. I want to do something with my platform." But, did Reynolds fear any backlash or stigma he might receive from staking a stand on LGBTQ issues, specifically, as a heterosexual man? "I knew that this is something that I needed to do, and a journey that I needed to take," he says. "Even selfishly for myself, to speak my truth, and to just feel free to be myself. But, absolutely I knew this is something that... there will be people on the far right that will say this is too left for them, and they're upset with me. I've gotten so many emails and met with parents who are furious with me. They say, 'you're not gonna to go to heaven, you're gonna see God and God's gonna tell you, 'shame on you Dan Reynolds, you made more kids gay.' I've literally gotten emails from people who've said just that. That's what they believe. They think I'm on this journey that I've been liberalized by the world of music and shame on me. And then I've gotten emails from the far left saying, 'you're a heterosexual white man and you're capitalizing on LGBTQ issues to try to make your band more famous.' "And I think I knew already going into this there would be people on both ends that would be upset, because I'm trying to bridge a gap in the middle. And I get it. I get it. But at the end of the day, I know the journey that I'm on. And I know that I can make a change in a culture that is broken. It takes a Mormon, sadly, to speak to Mormons, because otherwise they just close their doors. Because they've been hurt by 'The Book of Mormon' musical, and they're angry. So, when people yell at them, they just close their door. They just don't listen. "But for me, I think it's an important story to say you know what? I'm Mormon. A white male whose been super privileged and I have been living silently in not helping my community and that sucks. And so I wanna try to be better and be educated on how to be an ally. And this is what it looks like to become an ally... And I think that hopefully there will be other, you know, white orthodox males and females from religious worlds that views this (documentary) and say, 'you know what? I can become an ally to and this is what it looks like.'" In addition to the interview with Reynolds, the latest episode of the Pop Shop Podcast includes chart chat about 5 Seconds of Summer, Beyonce and JAY-Z, Nas, Christina Aguilera and XXXTentacion. (Billboard)

Paramore Brought Out 'Stranger Things' Star Gaten Matarazzo at Barclays Center. Stranger things happened when Paramore played Barclays Center on Tuesday night. The alt-rock outfit brought out Gaten Matarazzo, the child star who plays Dustin in the smash Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things, and his sister Sabrina for a performance of 2007's "Misery Business." Matarazzo, whose own band Work in Progress is known to cover the song at shows, joined in on harmonies in Brooklyn. According to sources on the scene, his vocals were on point. The collaboration was months in the making. Back in January, Paramore singer Hayley Williams spotted Matarazzo's rendition of "Miz Biz" and extended an open invitation for him to "crash the Paramore stage and thrash those luscious locks around." That finally happened. "Thank you so much for letting us jam out with you guys," he later tweeted. Paramore are on the road in support of their latest album After Laughter, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. Next up: Express Live in Columbus this Thursday night (June 28). (Billboard)

Harry Styles Serenades Expecting Couple With Round of 'Happy Birthday' at Detroit Concert. An expecting couple in Detroit will have a great Harry Styles story to tell their first child. Taking a chatty break between "Anna" and One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" on Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena, Styles shouted out to a pair of friends, Taylor and Lauren, who were sitting in the crowd, pointing to their location. He acknowledged Lauren's pregnancy, then noticed Taylor was not in his seat. Told he had gone to the bathroom, Styles opted to wait for him, talking to other sides of the arena until he returned. He then asked Lauren how many concerts she had attended since becoming pregnant; Told it was just one, he exulted, "Baby's first concert" before rubbing his un-pregnant stomach in solidarity. Once everyone was where they should be, Styles led the Detroit crowd in singing congratulations to the couple, to the tune of "Happy Birthday." He also asked the expectant mother, "Need a seat? Want water? Need to eat some chalk? I hear people do that when they're pregnant." The bit ended with Styles announcing, "I'm gonna sing a song now, 'cause that's the point of coming to a concert." Harry Styles: Live On Tour has been going since last September and currently runs through July 13-14 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The trek is supporting his self-titled 2017 solo album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified gold. (Billboard)

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