Arts and Entertainment Elton John will duet with Gary Barlow on the final show of The X Factor

The star will duet with Gary Barlow despite attacking the show in the past

Album: Hard-Fi, Killer Sounds (Necessary/Atlantic)

Hard-Fi's third album certainly talks a good fight, with tracks titled "Feels Good", "Excitement" and, of course, "Killer Sounds", which perhaps reveals their ambition to become the British equivalent of The Killers.

Album: Big Talk, Big Talk (Epitaph)

Big Talk is the side project of Ronnie Vannucci, eccentric drummer with, and everyone's favourite member of, The Killers.

John Walsh: Is university going to be worth it?

The Coalition is going degree-tastic. They're expanding the number of university places available to students with fewer than three As at A-level; they're going to allow universities which charge less than £7,500 per annum to attract more students – up to 20,000 more. Not only that. Students, according to this week's Government White Paper, will soon be giddy with empowerment. New measures will "allow" them to rate their lecturers as part of a students' charter or review; and "allow" them to complain about their courses.

Hard Rock Calling, Hyde Park, London

Despite Glastonbury's moves ever further mainstream, London's mud-free alternative remains distinctive. Who could imagine Somerset hosting a tent-full of fans crooning "Lifted" by Nineties soul-poppers Lighthouse Family?

The Killers, Scala, London

It's a treat to see a multi platinum-selling band in such a small venue. Tonight, the intimacy of the Scala's modest space is magnified by the presence of the world-famous musicians who take to the stage with a smile.

America's first Mormon president?

The Church of the Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest-growing and wealthiest religions in the world. But can the Mormons convince America to vote one of their number into the White House?

The ski season starts here: Three more months

After a promising start at the end of 2010, the ski season in the Alps and Pyrenees stalled for two months with little fresh snow. That's changed now, with big falls – up to a metre in 48 hours – in recent weeks. So the last two months of the season are looking excellent. Snow depths at Engelberg ( engelberg.ch) in the Swiss Alps are above 3.3 metres and touching 2.5 metres at the snowiest resorts in the French Alps, such as Flaine ( flaine.com).

Kuyt ensures reward for Liverpool’s effort

Liverpool 1 Sparta Prague 0 (Liverpool win 1-0 on aggregate)

Ski news: Hot topics on the slopes

Elton's Heroes: No. 4 - Brandon Flowers

The unlikely idol with the killer tunes

Amy Macdonald, Hammersmith Apollo, London

"Ordinary Life" is a somewhat ironic choice of opener for Amy Macdonald. The Glaswegian sings: "I don't care about the spotlight" in a voice that matches Dolores O'Riordan for stridency and adds KT Tunstall's huskiness. Amy, there is a spotlight 40 feet above your head, pointing right at you. It is not the only odd moment in a slick but ultimately underwhelming set.

Album: Mt. Desolation, Mt. Desolation (Island)

Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley has shown a commendable desire to break new ground in recent months, with the African and Japanese elements of Night Train now followed by this debut album from the country-rock project he's hatched with Jesse Quin and members of The Killers, Mumford & Sons and Noah And The Whale.

Mt Desolation, Scala, London

The fantasy of starting again made Paul McCartney turn up on college campuses asking if his new band Wings could get a gig, and Stephen King publish books as Richard Bachman. Keane's songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley hasn't quite gone that far with his new country band Mt Desolation. Still, he is stretching himself beyond Keane's stadium confines.

Brandon Flowers, The Garage, London

It is a strange thing, watching one of the very biggest pop stars in the world mere metres from the stage at one of London's smallest venues. And yet, it is happening: Brandon Flowers, sometime of the Killers, is performing his new solo album for the very first time to at most 500 people.

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