Most summers, it's enough to look forward to baseball pennant races and NFL training camps, but every four years, things are a little bit different. The 2012 Summer Olympics are set to kick off in London on July 27 and run through August 12. As is the case with most Olympic games, this year is full of intriguing storylines that will have millions of viewers across the globe glued to their televisions.
Will Michael Phelps continue his streak?
Phelps made quite a splash at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. After winning six gold medals four years prior, Phelps came to China and put on one of the most impressive performances in Olympic history. He competed in eight events and took home eight gold medals, giving him the record for most golds won in a single games.
While it will be nearly impossible for Phelps to top his performance in Beijing, it will be interesting to see how he competes. He has stated publicly that this will likely be his last Olympics, and he definitely will not be doing eight events like he did in 2008 and 2004. One thing's for sure, however, he will leave it all in the pool.
Can the men's basketball team repeat?
It was not that long ago that taking home a gold medal in men's basketball seemed like a given. Everything changed in 2004 when a talented roster settled for bronze, but after regrouping with a renewed focus the U.S. brought back the gold in 2008. So will they be able to make it two games in a row in London?
Given the amount of talent that the U.S. will be bringing to the Olympics, there's no reason they shouldn't take home to gold. Many of the best players in the NBA will be making the trip including Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Plus, with a Hall of Fame coach in Mike Krzyzewski, the team should come out on top.
All eyes on the track
Although there are usually many compelling storylines on the track, this year is especially interesting. Jamaica's Usain Bolt will earn a lot of focus after the display he put on in Beijing. Four years ago, Bolt set world records in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes en route to three gold medals.
Outside of Bolt, many fans are interested to see how American Lolo Jones fares. Th 29-year-old Jones will be looking for redemption in the 100 meter hurdles. In 2008, she was on her way to a victory when she clipped the penultimate hurdle and settled for seventh.
Justin Bieber is about to hit the road on a 4 month, 44-city monster tour across North America!
Justin Bieber Believe Tour Tickets go on-sale tomorrow morning. The tour is poised to be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, tour of the year.
He kicks it off September 29th in Arizona at the jobing.com arena and finishes 4 months later on January 26th in Miami at the American Airlines arena.
Love him or hate him, it's hard to deny the appeal of Justin Bieber. Few acts have captivated the music world so quickly, and the Canadian-born singer's rise to fame has been something to behold. It's easy to see why he is so beloved. Thanks to his charming personality, great voice and a stage presence like a veteran performer, Justin Bieber tickets are some of the most sought after items on the globe.
Perhaps most interesting about Bieber's rise is that it his discovery happened somewhat by accident. While looking for YouTube videos of a different singer, record producer Scooter Braun saw a video of Bieber and was immediately intrigued. After tracking him down, he flew the then-13 year old singer to record some demo tapes, and it was not long before he signed a record deal with Braun and R&B star Usher.
Success came fast to Bieber. His first single "One Time" was a hit in both the United States and Canada, and although he was just 15 at the time, it was apparent that Bieber was destined for stardom. His popularity was confirmed when his first official release, an EP named My World, started flying off shelves in 2009.
Though My World may have helped make Bieber a household name, his first full-length release, My World 2.0 took things to the next level. By then, Bieber had been making the rounds on talk shows and the performing circuit, so when the lead single "Baby" hit the radio, it became one of the biggest hits of the year, eventually peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. As for the album, it reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200 charts.
Although his music helped make him a star, Bieber's role is a cultural icon helped keep him at the top of the industry. The charismatic singer has left his mark everywhere from Saturday Night Live to an episode of CSI, and his professional savvy is well beyond his years. His popularity also extended to the movie theater where his concert movie "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" was a bit hit.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to catch Bieber fever! Get your Justin Bieber Believe Tour concert tickets now!
From Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza, there are a number of long running music festivals throughout the summer, but few can hold a candle to the Ravinia Festival. The Chicago-based event has hosted talented musicians in Highland Park since the early 1900s, and this year welcomes the likes of Seal, Sarah McLachlan, Duran Duran and Natalie Merchant.
The first moth of the schedule is packed full of great artists. Here are some highlights:
June 9 Earth, Wind & Fire with Orchestra
June 10 Iron & Wine/Dr. John
June 15 Al Green/Chicago Children’s Choir
June 17 Jimmy Cliff
June 24 Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
June 25 Esperanza Spalding
June 28 Glen Campbell “Goodbye Tour”/Ronnie Milsap
June 29 Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw
June 30 Sarah McLachlan
Download PDF of full schedule here.
The oldest music festival in the country, Ravinia runs from June through September, with shows scheduled for most days throughout the summer. Many of today's most popular festivals owe their existence to Ravinia. Here's a look at two of this summer's most anticipated festivals.
Bonnaroo Music Festival
Held in Manchester, Tennessee, Bonnaroo Music Festival began as a celebration dedicated to jam bands and has since expanded to include artists of all different genres. This year, the weekend-long festival is slated for June 7 through 10 and will welcome some of the biggest names in music. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead and Phish are the scheduled headliners, and although they may be the most recognizable acts, there are many other must-see artists making appearances throughout the weekend.
Fresh off his Best New Artist win at the Grammys, Bon Iver, the musical project of Justin Vernon, is another one of the most anticipated acts. Additionally, bluegrass favorites The Avett Brothers are set to be on one of the featured stages along with 2011 breakout stars Foster the People. Music legends The Beach Boys and Alice Cooper will also be taking the stage.
Lollapalooza Music Festival
Much like the Ravinia Festival, Lollapalooza is held in Chicago, but a short distance away in the city's Grant Park. This year, the festival is set for August 3 through 5, and although it features a somewhat different lineup than Bonnaroo, it is no less impressive.
Like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza will feature the Chili Peppers, but the other headlining acts are The Black Keys and Jack White, who is fresh of the release of his first solo album, the critically acclaimed Blunderbuss.
Outside of the three big-name headliners, Lollapalooza is a veritable who's who of breakout stars from the last 18 months. The Alabama Shakes, M83, Childish Gambino and The Head and the Heart will all be making their way to Chicago in early August.
Sometimes referred to as the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500 has certainly lived up to its reputation. For more than 100 years, the annual race has pitted some of the most talented drivers in auto racing and has become one of the most widely-attended events in all of sports. Hundreds of thousands of fans get their hands on Indy 500 tickets each year, and 2012 should be no different.
There are a lot of storylines to consider entering race weekend, but perhaps most interesting is just how wide open this year's event is. It's always hard predicting a winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but few analysts have been able to offer up a clear cut favorite. A lot of attention has been given to Australian driver Ryan Briscoe, who captured the pole position last weekend, but he certainly has a lot of competition right behind him.
There are many big name drivers who will vie for the Indy 500 crown. In particular, Briscoe should be on the lookout for Andretti Autosport drivers - three of whom will be starting right behind him. Among them is Marco Andretti, who is the grandson of racing legend Mario Andretti and has been especially successful in his early career.
Fans should also keep their eye on Brazil's Helio Castroneves. The racing veteran has captured three Indy 500 titles before, with the most recent coming in 2009. With 19 wins in the IndyCar Series, he is one of the most decorated drivers in the sport.
If this year's race is anything like the 2011 incarnation, it will not leave anybody disappointed. Even the most casual of racing fans remember how last year's ended. JR Hildebrand, making his first start in an Indy 500, entered the final lap in first place and seemed destined to claim the title. However, he crashed on the final turn, allowing veteran Dan Wheldon to pass him in the final 200 yards.
Will this year be just as exciting? There's no reason to think it won't be. With no clear cut favorite, the title is anyone's to capture. Will Hildebrand earn redemption for last year's mistake? Will Castrovenes win his fourth title? Or Will Marco be able to break the dreaded Andretti Curse? There's only one way to find out.
Who's your pick to win it?
Photo by Getty Images
First off a big congrats to Phillip Phillips on winning season 11 of American Idol! It was an epic season, filled with some of the most talented singers the show has ever found. Lucky for you that talented group is heading out on tour in a few short weeks! The top 10 Idols are hitting the road in July for the American Idols Live! Tour.
Jump to: American Idols Live! Tour tickets.
The 2012 American Idols Live! Tour will certainly be a big hit. With such a talented lineup of singers, how could it not be? The biggest names are the two finalists, Philip Phillips - a 21-year-old Georgia native - and 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez. Other performers include the likes of Joshua Ledet, Skylar Lane and Colton Dixon.
But the focus of the tour will be squarely on Phillips and Sanchez. Phillips won over the hearts of Americans thanks to his unique singing and dancing style that's earned him comparisons to Dave Matthews.
As for Sanchez, she is one of the most talented singers the show has seen in years. The young contestant has shown her natural flair through her renditions of songs including Whitney Houston "How Will I Know" and Mariah Carey's "My All."
Make sure to catch the American Idols Live Tour when it comes to your town and see these talented performs as they start down the path to stardom.
Were curious: Which Idol do you think will have the best career? Tell us in the comment section below.
About American Idol Live! Tour
Fans of the show who purchased American Idols Live! Tour tickets during its inaugural run were given the opportunity to catch the initial glimpses of first season winner Kelly Clarkson before she went down the path to stardom. Joined by runners up Justin Guarini, Nikki McKibbin and six others, the 30-stop tour was Clarkson's first exposure to concertgoers, and she has since grown into one of the most popular acts in the country thanks to hits like "Miss Independent," "Since U Been Gone" and her most recent single "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)."
The initial American Idols Live! Tour was a hit and has been every year since. The nationwide concert series has introduced the music world to several big names throughout the year including country star Carrie Underwood, who embarked on the tour in 2005 after winning the fourth season. Other stars who have made a name for themselves on the tour include Daughtry lead singer Chris Daughtry, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.
Ask anybody and they'll probably agree with you that Pink Floyd was one of the most innovative and creative bands in music history. The founder and front-man of the band, Roger Waters, was the creative force behind many of Pink Floyd's most famous albums including Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. But perhaps he is best known for The Wall, which is recognized as among the most important albums in rock history.
Given the place that the album and its creator have in the annals of music history, it's no surprise Roger Waters' The Wall Live tour has become one of the most popular in the world. Since it was first launched in North America in 2010, the breathtaking performance has captivated millions. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you’re in luck because another North American leg kicked off on April 27.
True to its source material, The Wall Live tour gives concert-goers quite the unique experience. The album was envisioned as a rock opera, and Waters' performance certainly delivers. Along with a cadre of talented musicians, Waters plays the album in its entirety, touching on fan favorites ranging from "Another Brick in the Wall," "Comfortably Numb," "Run Like Hell" and "Young Lust."
Though reliving one of the most beloved albums of the last 40 years is part of the appeal of The Wall Live tour, the concert also has a compelling visual element that pays homage to the 1982 film based off the album. The set features the iconic white-brick backdrop of the album cover, and throughout the show, eye-grabbing visuals are projected on it.
Some may be curious why Waters has chosen to launch the tour more than 30 years after the album was released, especially without his fellow Pink Floyd band mates. In a post on his website, Waters says he felt the time was right, given the current geopolitical climate, to revisit the themes of abandonment and personal isolation that made the 1979 album resonate with so many people.
"This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years," the songwriter and bassist wrote.
After kicking off the tour in Mexico City in late April, Waters will make stops everywhere from San Diego to Portland, Oregon, to Yankee Stadium in New York City before wrapping up the tour on July 14 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
As exciting as the NBA regular season is, it's nothing compared to the playoffs. The NBA postseason is one of the most exciting in sports, and this year should be no different. There are a plenty of juicy storylines entering this year's playoffs, and if the regular season is any indication, anything can happen.
The question on everyone's mind is whether or not the star-studded Miami Heat can make up for last year's loss in the NBA Finals. Since Chris Bosh and LeBron James joined the heat following the 2010 season, the pressure's been on for them to win a title. It certainly looks like they've got a shot to do it, with one of the best records in the league and James having an MVP caliber season.
In the Western conference, all attention is on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Led by explosive young stars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder has looked like one of the best teams in the NBA all season long. They came close to reaching the Finals last year, could this be the year they break through?
Many basketball fans have also been closely following what they see as a changing of the guard in Los Angeles. The Clippers have long played second fiddle to the Lakers in the City of Angels, but with new stars like Chris Paul and the electric play of Blake Griffin, the Clippers are once again in the conversation.
Speaking of age, that's the big question looming over the heads of the 2008 champion Boston Celtics. The Big Three (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce) are all nearing the end of their respective careers, and while Pierce is still as effective as ever, injuries have hobbled the other two. Will a cadre of untested youngsters be able to carry the storied franchise throughout the playoffs?
There are a number of other interesting questions as we head into the playoffs: Can the aging Spurs win one more? Can the New York Knicks stay hot and beat The Heat? Will Derrick Rose stay healthy enough to lead the Chicago Bulls to their first appearance in the NBA Finals since Jordan left?
The answers will start to emerge tomorrow as the Bulls and 76ers get the playoffs started at Noon on TNT. I think we can all agree that this is going to be one of the most exciting NBA post seasons in a long time.
Who do you think is going to win it all?
Grab some NBA Playoff tickets and see your team battle for a spot in the history books:
Eastern Conference 1st Round (Saturday / Sunday Tickets)
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls tickets
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat tickets
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers tickets
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics tickets
Western Conference 1st Round (Saturday / Sunday Tickets)
Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs tickets
Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder tickets
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers tickets
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies tickets
Spring has sprung! Fans of live entertainment are shaking off the winter blues and heading out to arenas, stadiums, and ballparks across the country. Last month basketball fans were flocking to the final games of the regular season, making the LA Lakers, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks the most popular events in the sports category.
In music, pop icon Madonna and newcomers One Direction led the TicketsNow Entertainment Index concert category. While in theater, comedians Daniel Tosh and Kevin Hart found themselves in good company with two Broadway smash-hits and one sensational Cirque show.
Following are the category leaders according to the TicketsNow Entertainment Index for March 2012:
Top Events Overall for March 2012
Sports Ticket Sales for March 2012
Concert Ticket Sales for March 2012
Top Theater Ticket Sales for March 2012
Ask anyone who was around during the early days of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, and they'll probably tell you that boy bands are dead. They'd be mistaken, however, as One Direction has breathed new life into the pop sub-genre, and have taken the music world by storm.
The five-member group is comprised of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, and has enjoyed a relatively unique path to stardom. Each of the five members applied as solo contestants on the hit UK talent show X-Factor. Though each of them were talented in their own right, judge Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls came up with the idea for the five of them to form a group, and it seems to have paid off.
After coming together, One Direction managed to tear through the competition, and eventually finished third overall. Although they did not come home with the crown, they garnered enough exposure and soon signed a record deal with stardom coming soon afterward.
The quintet released their debut studio album, Up All Night, in September 2011. It turned out to be a big hit in the United Kingdom, where it debuted at number two on the charts and went on to be the fastest-selling album of that year.
The album wasn't just popular among fans, it was somewhat successful in the critical sphere as well. In particular, album's lead single "What Makes You Beautiful," went on to take home the Best British Single crown at the 2012 Brit Awards.
While much of their success has been in the United Kingdom, they are not unheard of in the states. In fact, One Direction landed a spot on the April 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, certainly not a small feat for a band of upstart performers.
Perhaps most impressive is the relatively short time it's taken One Direction to embark on extensive tours. They launched their own headlining tour shortly after the release of Up All Night, and although it started in the UK and Ireland, the group announced North American leg for summer 2012.
The NHL playoffs are set and there are some really intriguing 1st Round matchups! As any Hockey fan will tell you the playoffs are a 2nd season and once you get in anything can happen. The Boston Bruins won last year as a #3 seed and the #7 seed Philadelphia Flyers surprised everyone by making it all the way to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.
This year, one of the biggest storylines entering the playoffs is whether the Boston Bruins will be able to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The B's surprised some people in 2011 by using a late-season surge to bring the cup back to Boston, but they seem talented enough to do it once again. Despite a mid-season slump, the Bruins have many of the same pieces in place from last year's title run.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle standing in the Bruins' way are the New York Rangers. With the top record in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers have experienced a resurgence this year - they're looking to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994.
In the Western Conference, two teams stand above the rest. Last year's conference champ, the Vancouver Canucks, are once again putting a great season together thanks to the production of brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin. They may be challenged by the upstart St. Louis Blues. The Blues have had an excellent season and look primed to make a long run in this year's playoffs.
We still have some great NHL Playoff tickets available so make sure to check 'em out and grab some great seats to see your team skate towards The Cup.
Playoffs start Wednesday night. Check out this week’s full schedule below.
Who do you think is winning it all this year?
Wednesday, April 11 (Times ET)
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 7:30 PM Tickets
Detroit at Nashville, 8 PM Tickets
Los Angeles at Vancouver, 10:30 PM Tickets
Thursday, April 12
Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 7 PM Tickets
San Jose at St. Louis, 7:30 PM Tickets
Washington at Boston, 7:30 PM Tickets
Chicago at Phoenix, 10 PM Tickets
Friday, April 13
New Jersey at Florida, 7 PM Tickets
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 7:30 PM Tickets
Detroit at Nashville, 7:30 PM Tickets
Los Angeles at Vancouver, 10 PM Tickets
Saturday, April 14
Washington at Boston, 3 PM Tickets
Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 7 PM Tickets
San Jose at St. Louis, 7:30 PM Tickets
Chicago at Phoenix, 10 PM Tickets
Sunday, April 15
Nashville at Detroit, Noon Tickets
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 3 PM Tickets
New Jersey at Florida, 7:30 PM Tickets
Vancouver at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM Tickets