Thanks, America!
Thanks, America!
Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

LMFAO is still sexy on Billboard's Hot 100

Does Katy Perry get any closer to setting the record?

LMFAO is still sexy as “Sexy and I Know It” spends its second week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not only is the duo sexy, it’s hot as “Party Rock Anthem” climbs 9-6 this week on the back of a Christmas sales surge.

Former No. 1, Rihanna’s “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris, remains at No. 2, while Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” stays at No. 3 and Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” holds at No. 4.

Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” ticks up one spot to No. 5, while Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Ni**as In Paris” falls two to No. 7.

Like LMFAO, Adele takes up two slots in the Top 10 as third single “Set Fire to the Rain” is No. 8 and former No. 1 “Someone Like You” is at No. 9.  Both songs are on Adele’s “21,” which was 2011‘s top selling album.

Rounding out the top 10 is Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts” featuring Adam Levine, which sneaks up on from No. 11. 

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The Year in Numbers: Adele leads the album and singles pack
Credit: Columbia Records

The Year in Numbers: Adele leads the album and singles pack

Who else is in the top 5 as industry sees first uptick since 2004?

Unless you’ve been under a rock—and perhaps, even then— it will come as no surprise that Adele’s “21” is the best selling album of the year.

The British singer’s second set sold 5.82 million copies in the U.S. during 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it the best-selling album since Usher’s “Confessions” sold 7.98 million in 2004. The title is in its 14th non-consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week.

Adele is a double winner in that “Rolling In the Deep,” the biggest cross-format smash in two decades, sold  5.2 million copies, making it the top selling single of 2011.

Returning to albums, Michael Buble’s “Christmas,” which came out in mid-October, covered a lot of territory quickly to claim the No. 2 spot with sales of 2.45 million albums. It sprinted past Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which sold 2.1 million.

Rounding out the diverse list of  top five album sellers for 2011 were Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” at 1.92 million units and Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” at 1.58 million.

Overall, album sales were up 1.3% in 2011 over 2010, reported Billboard. Modest as it was, the growth marked the first annual uptick since 2004.  Album sales tallied 330.6 million compared with 2010’s 326.2 million. 

Though much was made of the demise of the physical CD, with many reports claiming that some major labels would quit manufacturing the discs in 2012, it looks like the CD has a little life left in it yet. Yes, digital sales continue to climb, and for the first time, digital album sales and digital track equivalents (when someone purchases 10 tracks from an album) surpassed the 50% mark for the first time this year, yet 49.7% of all album sales are still from physical goods.  The industry isn’t about to walk away from those kinds of numbers any time soon. In fact, when the fan decided to purchase an entire album (excluding track equivalent albums), the physical CD percentage soared to 68.7%.

Digital track sales saw an 8.5% gain over 2010, with total numbers reaching 1.27 billion. Think we aren’t totally living in a singles world? In 2011, 112 tracks scanned more than 1 million units, compared with 80 in 2010. Only 13 albums sold more than 1 million copies last year, the same number as 2010.

Following “Rolling in the Deep,” the top digital single sellers were LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” at No. 2 with 5.47 million copies, Katy Perry’s “E.T.” at 4.83 million, Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” featuring  Christina Aguilera at 4.11 million and Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer at  3.87 million.

Follow me on Twitter @HitfixMelinda

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<p>Melanie Amaro</p>

Melanie Amaro

'The X Factor's' Melanie Amaro and Chris Rene head to Epic Records

Are Astro and Josh Krajcik next?

Can the first crop of “X Factor” finalists strike sales gold (or platinum) for Sony Music? The record company certainly hopes so as it moves into final stages of negotiations with at least four of the contestants.

Both winner Melanie Amaro and finalist Chris Rene are in discussions with Sony’s Epic imprint, which is run by “X Factor” judge Antonio “L.A.” Reid, according to The Hollywood Reporter.   However, Hits Daily Double says that Amaro’s deal is already done and that she will start in a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial in February as well.

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<p>Cobra Starship</p>

Cobra Starship

Credit: AP Photo

Cobra Starship and Mac Miller's 'Middle Finger' gets official release

Will a new dance be born?

“Middle Finger” may be the cheeriest song about flipping the bird ever released.

Fans of Mac Miller and Cobra Starship (and whatever that seemingly small overlapping intersection may be) will surely already be familiar with the downright jaunty, toe-tapper about throwing your middle fingers up, “to the sky-y-y-y” since the promotional track surfaced on the internet months ago.

Now, however, the song will get its proper release as an official single from Cobra Starship’s  2011 album, “Night Shades,” according to The Boombox. Available on iTunes starting yesterday, it goes to radio next week. 

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Kelly&nbsp;Clarkson performs at the Allstate Fan Fest in New Orleans on Monday.</p>

Kelly Clarkson performs at the Allstate Fan Fest in New Orleans on Monday.

Credit: Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for Allstate

Should artists just shut up and sing when it comes to politics?

Was Kelly Clarkson wrong to endorse Ron Paul?

Today’s Iowa Caucus and Kelly Clarkson’s recent dust-up with her fans after she endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul got me thinking about whether artists should talk politics or just keep their mouths shut unless they are singing.

As we posted yesterday, Clarkson, who initially got her feelings hurt by fans’ criticism following her endorsement, saw a slight bump in album sales after her Paul plug, but it’s impossible to know if that’s because pro-Paul people rushed out to buy the record (unlikely) or if the publicity that ensued simply reminded them that she had a new album out there (likely).

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<p>Justin Bieber during &quot;Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve&quot;</p>

Justin Bieber during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve"

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Justin Bieber wants to wish you a Happy New Year

He's brought Jaden Smith along for the countdown

We’re playing catch-up here, but Justin Bieber is so sincere is his desire to wish us a Happy New Year, who are we to let a few days’ delay stop us?

On “Happy New Year,” a slow jam with Jaden Smith which Bieber tweeted on Dec. 31, Bieber counts down “5-4-3-2-1. Kiss Me.”  Then he advises us that 2012 is a year to be “better, stronger and closer to the people around you,” before suggesting we grab someone special and “you know...”  Every nine-year old Bieber fan is undoubtedly kissing her pillow by this point, pretending it’s Bieber.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Katy Perry at the 2011 Grammy Nominations Live! concert</p>

Katy Perry at the 2011 Grammy Nominations Live! concert

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Katy Perry sings about a man 'that breaks me' on 'Bullet'

Do you like her version or Jessie James' version better?

Oh, don’t think for a second that it’s a coincidence that Katy Perry’s version of “Bullet,” a song about falling for a bad boy leaked out today, only days after word of her divorce from Russell Brand went public.  Note that it’s the first we’ve heard of her since the announcement. Also note the song was written long before she met Brand, so don't get any ideas.

“My heart  was like a ghost town baby and now I’ve met a man that breaks me,” she sings on the track, before an autotuned voice chimes in “My mama warned me about boys like you.”   However, as the title indicates, she gives as good as she gets: “I’m a bullet and I’m headed straight for your heart/it’s going to leave a mark.” Ouch.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jason Mraz</p>

Jason Mraz

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Jason Mraz shows his softer side on 'I Won't Give Up'

First track from new album reveals a mellower Mraz

Fans who are familiar with Jason Mraz through his jaunty “The Remedy” or ubiquitous “I’m Yours,” will see a completely different side on “I Won’t Give Up.”

The largely acoustic ballad, which is ripe for a country remake (Rascal Flatts, we are talking to you), is a poignant tale about a lost relationship that Mraz exits with his head held high.

The gentle tone was no doubt influenced by Mraz’s international acoustic tour, which took him through five continents before it wrapped in December.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Dierks Bentley at the 2011 CMAs</p>

Dierks Bentley at the 2011 CMAs

Credit: AP Photo

Dierks Bentley reveals details about going 'Home' on new album

Grammy nominee returns to his country roots after bluegrass set

After flirting with bluegrass on his last album, the Grammy-nominated “Up On the Ridge,”  Dierks Bentley returns to his country roots with “Home,” out Feb. 7.

We’ve already gotten glimpses of the wide range he covers on the set from the party anthem, “Am I The Only One” to the current sentimental single, “Home.”  Bentley has also road tested a number of the songs. We heard the funny, sweet “Diamonds Make Babies” last February and could tell it was a winner (the song, as the title implies, talks about going from engagement to marriage to fatherhood). “Thinking Of You” also addresses Bentley’s role as daddy to two girls.

“I definitely stepped away and explored some things that were more on the fringe of country music for a little while,” said Bentley in a press release. “So, this record feels fresh. It doesn’t feel like a continuation of any other project or series of recordings.  I love being able to try different things musically, and I'm so thankful my fans have followed me to those places.  But, I feel like my real "Home" is in the center of country music."

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Justin Timberlake as Elton John in a still from the music video for John's 2001 song "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
Justin Timberlake as Elton John in a still from the music video for John's 2001 song "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
Credit: Universal Music Group

5 actors who could play Elton John (and none of them are Justin Timberlake)

We respectfully disagree with Sir Elton's choice to portray him in a biopic

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Elton John said that his No. 1 pick to play him in his forthcoming biopic is Justin Timberlake, “because he played me before in a David LaChapelle video of ‘Rocket Man’ and was superb.”

We saw that video, which played behind John’s performance of “Rocket Man” during his multi-year Las Vegas run of his “Red Piano” show, and agree that Timberlake did a great job portraying John in the early ‘70s, but he’s not our first choice.

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