<p>Julianne Hough with Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin in &quot;Rock of Ages&quot;</p>

Julianne Hough with Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin in "Rock of Ages"

Julianne Hough on her favorite scenes in 'Rock of Ages' and Mary J. Blige

What does she find 'nerve wracking' about her next movie?

Julianne Hough wasn’t born until 1988, a year after “Rock of Ages” takes place, but she seems the perfect choice to play the naive, hopeful Sherrie Christian in the movie, which opens today.

With her all-American looks and her sweet voice, Hough personifies the girl who arrives on a bus from the midwest and with a gee-whiz, can-do attitude chases her dreams along the Sunset Strip.

The movie, unlike the play, tells its story through Sherrie’s eyes as she experiences all of Hollywood’s excesses for the first time. Though Hough, who was introduced to audiences through “Dancing With the Stars,” has appeared in other movies, such as “Burlesque” and “Footloose,” “Rock Of Ages” was the first to pair her with such megastars as Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta Jones and Alec Baldwin.

Playing the ingenue who temporarily captures the attentions of Stacee Jaxx (played by Cruise) was a blast, Hough says, who jokes that she didn’t have to act when her character is starstruck by Jaxx.  However, as much as she loved playing opposite Cruise, her favorite scenes took place in the strip club, and with her love interest, Drew, played by Diego Boneta. “We had so many fun scenes,” she says. “All the strip club stuff was fun. I really love the love montage we did because that was Drew and Sherrie falling in love. They were all these short little scenes and they were setting the tone of the movie. That was the most fun for me.”

Though she is an extraordinary dancer, Hough says she was in awe of the talents displayed by the “pole specialists” in the movie. “ They’ve got some ripped bodies, that’s for sure,” she says.  

Hough also enjoyed developing a friendship with Blige, who plays the strip club proprietor who takes Sherrie under her wing.  She was struck by Blige’s humility as the Grammy-winning singer continues, like Hough, to develop her acting skills. “She’s one of the most influential women in music and yet she doesn’t know it,” Hough says. “I’d be like, ‘That’s amazing!,” and she’d be like, ‘Really? You really thought that was okay? I’m not sure about it.’  The fact that she’s that humble and she’s who she is is just a testament how there are so many people in this world we put in pedestals and they’re just human beings, you know.”

With each new movie, Hough, who is also signed to Mercury Nashville as a recording artist,  says her faith in her abilities grows. “I just keep getting more confident and more secure,” she says. “Also, because I learn so much from each movie and a lot of technical things: how a movie is made and the process, so I know how to use my stamina, you know what I mean, and be top energy all day long. That’s a hard part.”

Hough went straight from promoting “Rock of Ages” to filming “Safe Haven,” a romantic drama starring Josh Duhamel based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. It will be one of Hough’s first non-singing roles. She admits she’s nervous about not having singing and dancing to fall back on, but also excited. “I love having a challenge and I think that’s what makes me better as a performer, as an actress, or whatever I may be pursuing, but I think the most nerve wracking part is I’m literally having to leave the press tour of ‘Rock of Ages’ to start shooting right away. I’ve always had a lot of prep time for movies so... that will be a little different, but I love different. I get bored if I’m doing the same thing long.”

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<p>&nbsp;Glen Campbell</p>

 Glen Campbell

Watch: Josh Homme helps Glen Campbell say goodbye in 'A Better Place' video

The Queens of the Stone Age singer plays a bartender in farewell clip

Queens of the Stone Age singer/guitarist Josh Homme helps pay tribute to Glen Campbell in the legend’s farewell video, “A Better Place.”

The song, featured on Campbell’s final album, last year’s excellent “Ghost on the Canvas” (and my album of the year), addresses his Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis on the song, singing “Some days I’m so confused, Lord/My past gets in the way/I need the ones I love, Lord/More and more each day.” The album also includes contributions from Jakob Dylan and Paul Westerberg.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Green Day unveils album cover for '¡Uno!'

Watch: Green Day unveils album cover for '¡Uno!'

First album in trilogy comes out in September

As you know, Green Day plans to drop three albums between September and January. Today, we got the cover art for “Uno,”  the first release in the trilogy.

The below trailer doesn’t give away much, but at least we get to hear a little music, which is more than we got to hear in this other teaser when the trio talked about the trio of sets and run down their past album titles.  Green Day has also announced that one of its few 2012 live dates will be at New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience in October.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen

Credit: AP Photo

Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' reaches No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 definitely

Katy Perry also has reason to celebrate

After hanging out at No. 2 behind Goyte’s long-running “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” hits No. 1 definitely on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week.

In doing so, Jepsen becomes the first solo female to send her first Hot 100 entry to No. 1 since Ke$ha did so with  “Tik Tok” in January 2010, according to Billboard. The song, which has been on the Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks, has already sold more than 3.3 million downloads.

There’s only one new entry into the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 and that also belongs to a solo female: Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” zooms 19-9 to become Perry’s 11th career top 10.

The rest of the Top 10 remains fairly static:  “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra slips to No. 2 after eight weeks at No. 1, while Maroon 5’s “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa and fun’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae stay at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.

One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” swap places with “Beautiful” rising one to No. 5 and “Starships” dropping one to No. 6. Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia remains at No. 7.

Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been,” the singer’s 22nd Hot 100 Top 10 hit, rises one spot to No. 8 this week, while Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” drops two spaces to No. 10. However, the news isn’t all bad for Bieber:  “All Around The World”  featuring Ludacris, another track from “Believe,” bows at No. 22, earning it Hot Shot Debut honors.

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<p>Usher in &quot;Scream&quot;</p>

Usher in "Scream"

Five things we like about Usher's new music video for 'Scream'

R&B superstar runs through the clip... literally

For the video for “Scream,” the second single from Usher’s excellent new album, “Looking 4 Myself,” the singer joined the cast of “Fuerza Bruta: Look Up,” a multimedia off-Broadway production that combines music, aerial imagery and other non-linear theatrical elements.

Usher played the part of the Running Man for two April performances and used the occasion to debut some of the new material. The result is a video that is far more interesting in conception and for the creativity of the pairing than in the actual watching.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Kenny Chesney</p>

 Kenny Chesney

Credit: AP Photo

Kenny Chesney and Jonathan Demme pair for AMEX's 'Unstaged' series

Show will stream live on June 20 from Wildwood, N.J.

Kenny Chesney will perform a free concert on June 20  at the beach in Wildwood, N.J. The show, directed by Jonathan Demme, will live stream over Vevo, and YouTube, as well as other sites.

Chesney, whose latest album, “Welcome to the Fishbowl,” comes out June 19, is the tenth artist to be part of the American Express “Unstaged” series, which pairs acts with well-known directors/actors for the 75-minute concert. For example, Jack White recently paired with Gary Oldman for an “Unstaged” episode.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Ne-Yo and his abs revel in new video for 'Lazy Love'

Watch: Ne-Yo and his abs revel in new video for 'Lazy Love'

His love interest gets third billing behind the singer and his stomach

Can you blame Ne-Yo? Who on earth would want to take on his other responsibilities when he’s got a lovely lady at the ready at home, who’s eager to wrap her legs around him, making him “fall victim to that lazy love.”

[More after the jump...]

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Credit: AP Photo

Album Review: Usher's 'Looking 4 Myself' shines

The singer shows off a diverse musical palette

Usher may be “Looking 4 Myself,” as his new album’s title indicates, but he certainly isn’t at a loss when he’s searching for musical styles. On his most adventurous album yet, Usher takes styles that have worked for him in the past, whether it was his smooth swagger or his dance leanings and turns them on their head.  “Looking 4 Myself” is not so much a reinvention as an exploration of different styles by a confident artist secure enough to abandon past formulas.

The result is an inventive, stylish album, out June 12, that could be heavily rewarded come Grammy time.

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<p>Justin Bieber's &quot;As Long as You Love Me&quot;</p>

Justin Bieber's "As Long as You Love Me"

Listen: Justin Bieber stays true on new song 'As Long As You Love Me'

Fourth tune from 'Believe' surfaces before album drops next week

All the Beliebers are watching their calendars, holding their collective breaths, for June 19: the date when “Believe,” the new album from Justin Bieber comes out.

As has occurred the past two weeks, today we get a new song from the album in advance of its release. This time, it’s “As Long As You Love Me,” featuring Big Sean, and it has nothing to do with the Backstreet Boys song of the same name. A 90-second snippet appeared on iTunes on Monday. Listen to it here.

No, on this one, which features a slow, stuttering, electro-clash chorus, Bieber seems to be in an Olympic frame of mind, as he warbles: As long as you love me, I’ll be your platinum, I’ll be your silver, I’ll be your gold.” He’s so crazy for the girl, that it doesn’t matter if they’re homeless or broke. Please he manages to work in Destiny’s Child into the lyrics.

Big Sean comes in with a rap that further backs up the “love is all that matters theme,” and he’s got it bad for his lady, who’s his “hallelujah.”

As with the three songs we’ve heard previously, Bieber is all about the love on this album. Each song, whether it’s “Boyfriend,” “Die in Your Arms,” or “All Around the World” featuring Ludacris, has celebrated love of some kind, whether it be romantic or universal.  What’s been missing, and we’ll know better when we hear the rest of the album next week, is something that feels like a stone-cold radio smash. As Billboard reported last week, after “Boyfriend’s” stellar start, it slipped back down the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, but Bieber’s label fought and pushed that rock back uphill to get radio to give it another chance.

As we’ve previously written, for all his success—including recently selling out his forthcoming arena tour—Bieber has not become a radio star. We’ll see if it happens with the tracks from “Believe.”

We’re holding off grading “As Long As You Love Me” until we get the full song on Tuesday.

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<p>Matchbox Twenty</p>

Matchbox Twenty

Credit: Atlantic

Listen: Matchbox Twenty's new single 'She's So Mean' hits a pop bullseye

Hits the spot

The members of Matchbox 20 has always been lovers of power pop, but their music didn’t always reflect that bent. Too often, they tried to exist in both pop and rock simultaneously. While they’ve certainly been successful, sometimes they sounded a bit unfocused.

However, with new single “She’s So Mean,”  MB20 has shot an arrow straight at a power pop target and hit a bullseye. With its handclap intro and catchy guitar refrain, “She’s So Mean” is an ear worm waiting to invade your brain and not let go for the rest of the year. The song is redolent of ‘70s power pop—that territory that Fountains of Wayne has mined so successfully— yet it never sounds overly retro. Listen to it here.

The production is deceptively simple, but each drumbeat, every little yelp by Rob Thomas, only makes the song more seductive. Plus, hasn’t everyone had the one person who you can’t let go no matter what he or she does? “Every now and then she makes you a little bit crazy/she’ll insert a knife in your back and then she’s calling you baby.” Who’s the crazy one?

It’s been 10 years since Matchbox 20 has put out an album of all new material (2007’s “Exile on Mainstream” combined old and new tunes) and it seems like the time away has done them good. The Matt Serletic-produced song, the first single from “North,” sounds deliberate in the band’s  commitment to pop. There’s no line straddling, no trying to be something they aren’t.

“North” comes out in September.


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