<p>A moment from Britney's 'Work B**ch'</p>

A moment from Britney's 'Work B**ch'

Credit: RCA Records

5 Ways Britney Spears' 'Britney Jean' went awry

How did the album go south so quickly?

Only two weeks after its Dec. 3 release, Britney Spears’ eighth studio album, “Britney Jean,” will fall out of the Top 15 of the Billboard 200 this week. The only person who could possibly be happy about this is Lady Gaga, since Spears’ disaster took the media’s eyes off of Momma Monster’s own poor performance with “Artpop.”

“Britney Jean” debuted at No. 4 on last week’s Billboard 200 with the lowest sales tally in the pop star’s career, barely skimming past the six figure mark at 107,000. Her last album, 2011’s “Femme Fatale,” sold 276,000 copies in its opening frame.

Here are five things that went wrong with “Britney Jean”:

*Too much build up: For months in advance of the album, Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph, insisted that “Britney Jean”  was her most personal album ever, but first single, “Work Bitch” couldn’t have been more impersonal, leading fans to question the premise. Though there were hints of her life in the lyrics, they were so veiled as to be indecipherable.

*Too Many Cooks: You can’t blame Spears for wanting to switch things up in an effort to grow: She throws aside her usual collaborators such as Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Shellback, for a new bunch of contributors overseen by Will.i.am, the album’s executive producer; David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia’s Ingrosso and Anthony Preston. Their credentials are, of course, impeccable, but if it wasn’t broke...?

*Too little Britney: Yes, she is listed as co-writer on all 10 of songs, but that means precious little in this day and age when a superstar can demand a co-write credit for contributing a phrase or for telling the writers how she feels sad that day and then they go craft a song around that. She shouldn’t sound like a guest artist on a record that is supposed to be her most personal.

*No promotion: Other than a middle-of-the-night conclave in the desert, which was more to tout her upcoming Planet Hollywood Las Vegas residency than the new album and a few other things, there was little promotion for “Britney Jean.” E! News will air a two-hour “documentary” called “I Am Britney Jean” on Dec. 22 that covers the “Piece of Me” Vegas show and the making of the album, but that will more likely boost ticket sales than album sales.

*Britney herself: Though she seems much more stable —thankfully— than she did following her 2007 breakdown, there seems to be no there there. Yes, she gives good face and works the camera well in videos, but it just seems like she’s a facade now, kept going by a phalanx of producers, songwriters, etc... all of whom have a financial stake in continuing to prop her up. Maybe she really loves recording and performing, but it feels more like a puppet being told which way to turn and bend and sing and which camera to look into, despite the protestations from everyone that “Britney calls all the shots.”

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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: AP Photo

Can Beyonce's Thursday night surprise bump Garth Brooks' box set out of No. 1?

Will Bey's new set sell enough in four days to start at the top?

Garth Brooks’ comeback continues as his boxed set, “Blame It All On My Roots,” remains at No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200.

The Walmart-only exclusive picks up speed as it sells up to 175,000 copies in its third week of release, increasing from its first and second week numbers, according to Hits Daily Double.

However, Hits Daily Double put up its predictions before Beyonce surprised the world by dropping a 14-track album on iTunes Thursday night, so if Bey has her way she will outsell Brooks. But for now, we’ll to look at the top 10 without Beyonce in the picture.

Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped In Red” remains the hit Christmas album of the season, boasting 140,000 in sales for No. 2. One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” is No. 3 (110,000-120,000). The Robertsons’ “Duck The Halls” is No. 4 (115,000).

The week’s two debuts (other than Beyonce) take the next two spots as R. Kelly’s “Black Panties” bows at No. 5 (110,000) and Childish Gambino’s “Because The Internet” will launch at No. 6 (95,000).

Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” is No. 6 (75,000) and Katy Perry’s “Prism,” at No. 7 (60,000). Two more holiday titles —Mary J. Blige’s “A Mary Christmas” and Susan Boyle’s “Home For Christmas” are at No. 8 (55,000) and No. 9 (50,000) respectively. The soundtrack to “Frozen” heats up the No. 10 spot (50,000).

In continuing bad news for Britney Spears, her new album, “Britney Jean,” which came on the chart at No. 4 this week, falls out of the top 15.

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<p>Ed&nbsp;Sheeran</p>

Ed Sheeran

Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Ed Sheeran on being a 'massive geek' and working on 'The Hobbit'

Highlight of the year was working with Peter Jackson

Ed Sheeran, who received a best new artist nod during Friday night’s Grammy Nominations Live! Concert, said the highlight of the year (before the nod, of course) was doing the end credit song, "I See Fire,"  for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

“I’m just a massive geek  and being involved in that was fun,” he said backstage. “I got to hang out with [director] Peter Jackson and go to the premiere.”  Jackson called him while Sheeran was at a wedding in Ibiza.

Sheeran also received a nomination for album of the year for his work with Taylor Swift on her album, “Red.”

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<p>Miguel</p>

Miguel

Credit: AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Darrin Bush

Miguel has country crossover dreams

'They write songs about cars and they sound incredible,' he says

Things are going pretty well for Miguel in the R&B and pop worlds, but that doesn’t mean he wants to stop there. It turns out that the singer has a goal that extends beyond both of those genres.

When asked what it was like to play with country superstar  Keith Urban during the Grammy Nominations Live! Concert Friday night, Miguel revealed that his interest in country is much more than fleeting.

“One of my goals, it still is, is to write  a song that crosses over from whatever genre you want to put my music in, into country music,” Miguel said. “I feel like country music is that genre for the greatest written songs so if I’ve ever written a song that kind of even made it country radio, it would be a huge testament to my abilities.”

Miguel, who received two Grammy nominations Friday night, went on to talk about how healthy the country genre is: “The artists thrive and the music thrives because of the community and because of the honesty,” he said. “They write songs about cars and they sound incredible. There’s not too many people who can do that, you know what I’m saying?”

Yes, we do, Miguel. Yes, we do.
 

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<p>Lorde backstage at the Grammy Nominations concert</p>

Lorde backstage at the Grammy Nominations concert

Credit: AP Photo

Lorde on her Grammy nods: 'This doesn't happen to people from New Zealand'

And yes, folks from down under know about the Grammys

LOS ANGELES - Declaring that “this isn’t the kind of thing that happens to people from New Zealand,” a slightly overwhelmed Lorde was at a loss for words when it came to describing how receiving four Grammy nominations made the 17-year old feel.

Her song, “Royals,” which spent 9 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, garnered both record of the year and song of the year nods, while the singer also got a best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album nomination.

Though new to the game, Lorde has proven herself to be fairly savvy with a certain take-no-prisoners attitude. When asked if people in New Zealand understood the significance of Grammys, she tartly added, in that way that only a teenager can, “we’ve got the internet so everyone’s covered. It’s all good."

The Grammy Awards take place Jan. 26, 2014.

Check out all the nominations here.

Read a summary of the other biggest nominees here.

Here are our thoughts on the surprises and snubs of the nominations.
 

 

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<p>Miguel backstage at the Grammy nominations</p>

Miguel backstage at the Grammy nominations

Credit: AP Photo

7 things you didn't see during the Grammy Nominations Live broadcast

What did Ed Sheeran say about working with Taylor Swift?

While much of the action took place on stage tonight at the “Grammy Nominations Concert Live,” there was plenty going on backstage beyond the cameras’ reach.

Here are a few moments you didn’t see on TV:

ED SHEERAN, who received a best new artist nomination, said he and Taylor Swift, with whom he co-wrote on her Grammy-nominated “Red” album, “definitely” have plans to work together again,  but it may be a bit of a wait. “Yeah,  not any time soon. I’m going to go off and do my own thing for awhile,” he said.

MIGUEL, who performed with Keith Urban, and received two nominations, says fans can start getting ready for a new album from the Grammy winner, his first since 2012’s “Kaleidoscope Dreams.”  “I’ve been on the road for the past 3 years pretty much, but I feel like I finally got in a rhythm of recording and playing,” he said. “We’re well into a rhythm on the road... so it’s coming, it’s coming.”

MARY LAMBERT, who sings with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
on Song of the year nominee, “Same Love,” says the reaction she’s gotten from the song has made her realize that its success is far beyond anything she or the duo have created and that it has taken on a life of its own. “Same Love” “reflects where we are culturally,” says Lambert. Her favorite response to the song? “There’s a woman that came up to me, I have a solo version of the song and I’d just performed that, and she said, ‘I decided I’m going to come out to my church.’ She was a minister and she knew that they were going to kick her out, but she was like, ‘I’m not going to apologize for that anymore’,” Lambert recalled, choking up. “It’s incredible.” Lambert, who has signed with Capitol Record, will release her debut EP on the label on Dec. 17.

PRESENTER MELISSA ETHERIDGE was positively giddy over the nomination of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s same-sex marriage anthem, “Same Love,” for Song of the year. She considers its success a watershed moment.  “I’d really like to sing that one with them on the Grammys,” she admitted. The song struck a chord with her from the start: My daughter came to me and said...‘Oh, you’ll like this song mom.‘  We’re in the car, driving, and she played ‘Same Love’ and I had to pull over. To hear that from that genre, from a straight kid like that from Seattle to my daughter... it just, it’s happened, it’s here. We’ve crossed over. So that song holds a super amazing place in my life.”

RAPPER T.I. was gracious and humble when it came to his role on “Blurred Lines,” the Robin Thicke hit that received a number of nominations. “I’m just glad Pharrell and Rob invited me to the party, I just showed up,” he said. “There wasn’t really any pressure on me. Congratulations, really, for Rob and Pharrell.” However,  he admitted it was a little bittersweet that he and Pharrell were also competing against each other for  both the record of the year and best pop duo/group performance since Pharrell’s other major collaboration, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” was also up in both categories. As for the huge success of “Blurred Lines,” T.I. said, “It was just this cool idea. We feel like everybody brought their A-game and found a way to make something different work in a big way. Once they presented it to me, it was just let me not mess this thing up.”

ALEX DA KID, who signed Imagine Dragons
to his Interscope-distributed imprint, fully understands the reasons why the rock band, who received a best new artist nod, are striking such a chord with their fans. “I was definitely drawn first to the songwriting, I thought the songwriting was consistent, and certainly to their live show,” he said. “Their live show was theatrical, it’s a real show. And they were doing that when they weren’t playing arenas, they were doing that when they were playing to 50 people in a club.”

RECORDING ACADEMY CHAIRMAN NEIL PORTNOW
said there are no hard feelings over Drake’s decision to pull out of performing on tonight’s show at the 11th hour... even if he’s still not exactly sure why the rapper, who received five nominations, had to cancel. “They had some changes in their plans,” he said. “It was just one of those things,  it was kind of last minute....[but]  everybody’s big boys and girls. It was very amicable and we hope that we might see him in January,” he said, leaving an opening for Drake to perform on the Jan. 26 Grammy Awards.

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

Will Britney Spears or Garth Brooks have the No. 1 album next week?

How is 'Britney Jean' looking as we go into the weekend?

Garth Brooks will have his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 in 12 years next week as his box set, “Blame It All On My Roots,” is slated to climb 3-1 (155,000).

The Walmart exclusive notched third place this week after only 3 1/2 days of availability this week, selling 164,000. In addition to being available only at the big box retailer, fans can only purchase the physical set, no download is available.

Christmas titles continue to deck the charts as The Robertsons’ “Duck The Halls” takes the Duck Dynasty clan’s first holiday album to No. 2. (120,000). It is projected to narrowly top Britney Spears’ new album, “Britney Jean,” which will bow at No. 3 with slightly lower numbers. If "Britney Jean' comes in at No. 3, it will be her lowest debuting album, as all her previous sets have entered at No. 1 or No. 2.

Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas set, “Wrapped In Red” continues to sell well, at No. 4 (115,000.)
This week’s No. 1, One Direction’s “Midnight Memories,” sees a massive drop from 546,000 to around 20% of that, but will still likely top the 100,000 mark for the No. 5 spot, according to Hits Daily Double.

The bottom five looks like it will be Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP2” at No. 6 (80,000), a capella quintet Pentatonix’s “PTX, Vol 11) at a new high of No. 7 (65,000), Michael Buble’s “Christmas” at No. 8 (60000), the “Frozen” Soundtrack at No. 9 (50,000) and Katy Perry’s “Prism” at No. 10 (45,000).

In a further sign that Lady Gaga’s “Artpop” is in serious trouble, the title falls out of the top 20 only four weeks after release.

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Love burns brightly in Daft Punk's 'Instant Crush' video

Love burns brightly in Daft Punk's 'Instant Crush' video

HitFix
A
Readers
A+
The Strokes' Julian Casablancas does the heavy lifting here

Can a video be romantic and deeply creepy at the same time? Yes it can, especially if it’s Daft Punk’s new clip for “Instant Crush,” featuring Julian Casablancas. You’ll never look at museum dioramas the same way.

Taking a cue from “Night At the Museum,” the video “stars” two figures: a Napoleonic War soldier and the beautiful maiden he just happens to be positioned across from. Their tragic love story plays out in different parts of the museum and it’s a tribute to the video makers that even though the mannequins' expressions never change, the viewer totally feels the intense love between the two and the indignation the soldier feels for her during one pivotal scene.

In addition to singing the song, Casablancas does the heavy lifting here as the the helmeted duo are nowhere to be seen. Instead, it’s The Strokes lead singer performing on a podium while the  life and death drama plays out.

I think it's one of the best videos of the year. What do you think of "Instant Crush?"
 

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Lorde creates her own universe in new 'Team' video: Watch
Credit: Universal Music Group

Lorde creates her own universe in new 'Team' video: Watch

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
Join her world of ferns, puritan outfits and motorbikes

In Lorde’s world, it’s not always the most popular kid who wins. She embraces the misfits, as “Royals” taught us. In “Team,” a band of high school kids in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world are looking for a new ruler. And they pick the new king in a decidedly Mad Max way as two kids don helmets, hop on bikes and joust with table legs.

Because it’s Lorde’s world, the unpopular kid —the one with the stringy hair, acne and a limp, is victorious.

Despite the bombed-out building (which is the perfect metaphor for how most of us feel about high school), Lorde is in a lush setting, full of greenery. With her hair pulled back, her sullen expression, and her dark lipstick, she looks more like a post-goth vampire than your typical high school kid.

Though she sings “we live in cities you’ll never see onscreen,” in an effort to heighten the sense of disenfranchisement and the distance between Auckland and the rest of the world and the kids in the song, the video for “Team” was actually shot in Brooklyn.

Lorde has said that the video came out of a dream she had about "teenagers in their own world, a world with hierarchies and initiations....I dreamt about this world being so different to anything anyone had ever seen." 

“Team” is the second single from “Pure Heroine,” following “Royals,” which has spent nine weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

What do you think of "Team?" 
 

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<p>Lorde</p>

Lorde

Credit: Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Six predictions for Dec. 6's Grammy Nominations

Who will come away with the most nods?

The Grammy nominations for the Jan. 26 Grammy Awards will be announced Friday (6) during the enthusiastically titled CBS television special, “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!—Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night.”  

In addition to announcing the nominees in a smattering of the 80 or so categories, the hour-long program, which will air Live!! at 10 p.m., will feature performances from Lorde, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke with Earth Wind & Fire and Keith Urban with Miguel.

Here are six predictions for tomorrow night:

*Justin Timberlake will come away with nominations in three of the big four: album, song and record of the year, as well as a number of collaboration nods.

*Best new artist nominees will likely be Lorde, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ellie Goulding and Kendrick Lamar...although Ariana Grande could also sneak in there. (Depending upon how vigilant the Grammys are, Kacey Musgraves may not be eligible for best new artist: nominees can not have put out more than three albums and “Same Trailer Different Park” is her fourth album, following three indie and/or self-released sets.)

*Regardless of whether she gets
a best new artist nod, Kacey Musgraves will be the leading country nominee. The Grammys have gotten better by getting in step with country’s populist taste, but the voters still love to support acts that get no or scant country radio play like past nominees Ryan Adams and Lyle Lovett. And who can forget 2007 when the Dixie Chicks won album of the year after the country music industry had shunned them? Musgraves has been embraced by the press of all stripes and will show up on lots of Top 10 lists, yet she’s struggling at radio and has only eked out one Top 10.

*Both Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Lorde
could achieve the holy grail: nominations in all of the major four categories, album, song, record of the year and best new artist. Both are likely, but the nod goes to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis since most voters still know Lorde for one song not for the depth of  her album, “Pure Heroine.”

*Even though Robin Thicke is performing “Blurred Lines” at the nominations concert, and that’s usually a good sign, the backlash against “Blurred Lines” may result in the song getting blanked when it comes to record of the year. It was the biggest song of the year, spending 12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, but the tide turned on the song for some. It could still eke out a nomination, but it’s far from a sure bet....although it will likely get some nods in collaboration categories.

*Kanye West, who has been a Grammy magnet
, may pay the price for some of his antics. It shouldn’t matter, but West’s belligerence has turned some of his most ardent supporters against him. He was legitimately robbed of an album of the year nomination for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” three years ago after three previous albums getting nods, and he’s probably not returning to the category with “Yeezus.” Don’t feel too back for him, however, West already has 21 Grammys, the sixth highest among any male artist.

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