Elton John, Christina Aguilera among performers joining Justin Timberlake for benefit concert

When we think of good causes, we think of really worthwhile stuff like providing CPR to asthmatic sea otters, safely disposing of your beer in our bellies and the public flogging of all music critics.

Apparently, Justin Timberlake has other things in mind.

This is why he annually hosts "Timberlake & Friends, A Special Evening Benefiting Shriners Hospital For Children."

Now in its third year, the concert routinely features some of the biggest names in music.

Now let’s take a look at who will be joining Timberlake this go-round.

Sir Elton John. His new record sounds like an old classic: On "The Union," John’s latest release, he teams up with man-of-many-instruments Leon Russell and less-is-more producer T. Bone Burnett for a spare, beatific, occasionally biting album that both stings and soars in equal measure.

It almost makes up for "Victim of Love."


Christina Aguilera. Her voice is as big as the venue she’ll be playing this weekend.

Aguilera doesn’t just hit the high notes, she knocks them into the cheap seats. Sure, it can be a bit much at times, as her wailing occasionally approximates the screech of an alley cat being fed tail-first into a paper shredder.

But it’s hard to argue with the glass-shattering, cochlea-liquefying, I-just-swallowed-a-bullhorn power of her voice.

Actually, you can go ahead and argue if you want.

Aguilera has the pipes to drown out your protests with ease.

Lady Antebellum. They don’t really sound like a country act, and so naturally, they’re one of country’s biggest acts.

But that’s Nashville in a nutshell these days: a lot of adult contemporary hit makers with a slight twang.

As such, Lady Antebellum fits the bill perfectly with their wistful, ballad-heavy, polished-to-a-sheen pop, as exemplified by their smash single "Need You Now," which has soundtracked approximately 13,839 high school proms since its release earlier this year.

Diddy-Dirty Money. He’s as ubiquitous a presence in mainstream hip-hop as slang you don’t understand.

And now for producer/rapper/industry mogul Diddy’s latest venture, he’s teaming with female vocal duo Dirty Money for his forthcoming disc "Last Train to Paris."

Diddy says that the move is intended to add a feminine perspective to his work.

How did that affect his songwriting?

Who knows.

But we bet Diddy didn’t forget to put the toilet seat down in the studio this time.

Salt-N-Pepa. They’re the biggest selling female rap group of all time, although, really, topping the likes of J.J. Fad and L’Trimm is not like besting Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one, ya know?

But still, give Salt-N-Pepa their props for being pioneers in estrogen-enhanced hip-hop, if only for the breathy poetry of a hit like "Push It."

Everyone, all together now, "Oooh baby baby, baby baby."

But, what exactly were they pushing?

Their luck, maybe?

Selena Gomez and The Scene. You know Selena Gomez as the star of "Wizards of Waverly Place."

Actually, if you’re older than 13, you probably didn’t know that.

So, you’re welcome for the info.

As for Gomez, she comes with chirpy teen pop so damn cute, you just want to pinch its lil’ cheeks, all topped off with a level of effervescence normally only achieved by dropping a couple of Mentos into a two liter of Diet Coke.

T-Pain. He’s the king of Auto-Tune, which is a dubious distinction if ever there were one — it’s kind of like winning a farting contest.

But still, if you’ve tuned into the pop airwaves over the past few years — which is not something we’d wholeheartedly recommend — you’ve undoubtedly heard a T-Pain penned, produced or performed hit with Auto-Tuned vocals suggestive of a stuttering robot or someone gargling with a microchip.

Feel the Pain!

FreeSol. They hail from his hometown of Memphis, and that’s not all that hard-to-pigeonhole quartet FreeSol has in common with Timberlake: They’re both proud hybridists, intermingling pop, R&B, blues and rock.

And so it makes sense that Timberlake would sign the band to his Tenman Records.

They’re not the first up-and-coming act to get a break at Timberlake’s annual Shriners benefit.

We can remember a trio of brothers playing there a few years back.

Their last names were Jonas or something.

Whatever happened to them?

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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