Grapevine: Ann Arbor musician a hit on ‘the Voice’

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Adam Levine picks Ann Arbor musician on ‘The Voice’

Ann Arbor singer and guitarist Laith Al-Saadi was one of the performers in the blind audition rounds of “The Voice” Tuesday night on NBC. He sang and played a Fender telecaster to the Box Tops’ hit “The Letter,” which Joe Cocker also recorded. At first it looked like coach Christina Aguliera was going to hit her buzzer to indicate she’d like to work with him, but in the end it was Blake Shelton and then Adam Levine who spun their chairs around. Both musicians described Al-Saadi’s performance as “awesome” and Levine said Al-Saadi plays guitar “like a maniac ... and I love that.” All the coaches were particularly impressed with Al-Saadi’s guitar playing, and Pharrell Williams even went on stage and shook the guitarists’ hand and gave him a little bow. Al-Saadi, who said he has a degree in guitar playing from the University of Michigan and has played 300 dates a year for 20 years, chose to work with Levine. “There are singers who play guitar and there are guitar players who sing,” Levine told him. “And I’ve always considered myself to be a guitar player who sings, and I think that you’re unbelievable and you should be on my team, (it) makes the most sense.” “The Voice” airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye more to be inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

The 2016 roster of the Songwriters Hall of Fame includes Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards and Chip Taylor. Gaye and Edwards will be inducted posthumously. The ceremony is June 9 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

Jodie Sweetin in ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Jodie Sweetin, who plays Stephanie Tanner on “Fuller House,” a Netflix reboot of the classic family show “Full House,” is officially in for the upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars.” She’ll be partnered with Keo Motsepe, who danced with Chaka Khan last season. Sweetin is the first star to be confirmed for season 22 of “Dancing.” It was announced recently that professional dancer Derek Hough will not be part of the upcoming season, which starts March 21. In related news, “Fuller House” has been picked up for a second season on Netflix.

Big Freedia charged with theft of government funds

Hip-hop artist and designer Big Freedia has been charged with theft of government funds for falsely reporting income and illegally taking money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Associated Press reports. The bounce music artist told Pitchfork that the issue is “an oversight.” “I was on subsidized housing for many years before my financial situation changed,” she said in a statement. “I quickly found myself in a new economic structure and, frankly, knew little about how to handle my money.” Big Freedia says she takes “full responsibility.”

Also ...

“American Gladiators” star Lee Reherman, who was known as “Hawk” on the show, has died. TMZ reports that the 49-year-old was recovering from hip replacement surgery and complained of not feeling well. His girlfriend found him dead Tuesday in their Manhattan Beach, California, home.

Thursday’s birthdays

Julie Bowen, 46

Jessica Biel, 34

Shraddha Kapoor, 27