<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga makes it 6 weeks atop Hot 100, but big winners are BEP and 'Glee'

Read how Lady Gaga hold of Katy Perry's 'E.T.' for the top spot

It’s good to be Lady Gaga as “Born This Way” spends its sixth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it has a seeming relic from the past to thank.

With all eyes focused on digital downloads, Lady Gaga went old school, releasing a four-song CD single for “Born.” That title sold 24,000 copies last week, according to Billboard, which was enough to hold off a charge from Katy Perry’s “E.T.,” which lands at No. 2.

That means Cee Lo’s “F**k You” finally loses its long hold at No. 2, dropping to No. 4, replacing Rihanna’s “S&M,” which rises to No. 3.

There are two other big stories in this week’s Top 10: The Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Get Enough” soars 22-5 on the back of the group’s appearance on “American Idol.”  It is the Peas’ 10th Top 10 hit.  Even more remarkably, “Loser Like Me,” the Max Martin-penned original tune from “Glee” debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 6. Its success comes primarily from its 210,000 downloads. That tally is the second highest for a “Glee” cover, barely missing the 214,000 mark set with “Glee’s” cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

In the rest of the Top 10, Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect” moves 6-7, Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, climbs 12-8 (read our open letter to Brown here), Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” celebrates its 25th week on the Hot 100 at No. 9, while Jeremih’s “Down On Me” featuring 50 Cent makes it into the Top 10 rising 13-10.

As for the internet sensation Rebecca Black, “Friday” may have garnered 30 million YouTube views (a phenomenon we discuss here), but actual sales and airplay are only enough for her to debut at No. 72. By Sunday, the title had sold 37,000 digital copies. Radio has been staying away from the track: it has only received 12 plays.

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<p>Duran Duran with My Chemical Romance</p>

Duran Duran with My Chemical Romance

Credit: AP Photo

Concert Review: What do you get when you cross Duran Duran with David Lynch?

Band is joined by some very special guest for March 23 Los Angeles show

When I was an editor at  Billboard, I was guaranteed to get hate mail if I wrote remotely negative things about two acts: Kiss and Duran Duran. Long after both hit their radio heyday, both groups had fervent fans that revered them with an unabated loyalty.

The Durannies were out in full force last night (March 23) for Duran Duran’s concert at Los Angeles’ beautiful Mayan Theater. The show kicked off the second season of “American Express Unstaged,” a concert series beamed around the world live. Director David Lynch directed the performance. Since we were in the audience, we didn’t see what those watching on the internet saw, but from what we’ve read, they were treated to the full-on Lynchian experience, complete with such images as naked Barbies and stuff animals,floating around the band members.

Duran Duran is on the comeback trail. As my colleague Katie Hasty mentioned, the band played a well-received show at SXSW last week, and released its new Mark Ronson-produced  album, “All You Need is Now,” its first in four years, on Tuesday (March 22) on S-Curve Records.  (A shorter version of the album came out via iTunes three months ago). Also on its U.S. schedule are headlining dates at Coachella and Ultra Music Festival.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris Brown</p>

Chris Brown

Credit: AP Photo

An open letter to Chris Brown

Why we can't let his 'GMA' outburst go

Oh Chris Brown, what are we going to do with you? So many of us were willing to forgive--but not forget-- your horrible 2009 act of domestic violence against Rihanna, but you showed why we shouldn’t on “Good Morning America” yesterday.

You took what was a prime opportunity to graciously answer Robin Roberts’ questions--no matter how much they understandably roiled you--and let “GMA’s” soccer mom audience see that you weren’t the Big Bad. It was an opportunity to prove that you were no longer scary—despite the massive, tattooed biceps and blond hair— and if they wanted to buy their kids your brand new album, why not?

Instead, you acted like an arrogant jerk. Were you not media coached? Yes, Roberts wouldn’t let it go, but she pitched those questions to you as total softballs, as if she was embarrassed to even bring up that unpleasant stuff. “GMA,” as fluffy as it can be, comes under the ABC News banner, so they aren’t going to ignore it. Plus, you know she was going to ask about it, so she didn’t spring it on you. In Roberts’ 2009 interview with you after the incident, you seemed honestly contrite and gave great answers. All you had to do was parrot those responses again and tell people that you’d learned from the experience.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Josh Kelley</p>

Josh Kelley

Hitfix Interview: Josh Kelley talks music, wife Katherine Heigl, Lady A

What song did he write for his wife on new album, 'Georgia Clay?'

In recent years, the country music highway has been littered with the remains of former pop stars who have found themselves edged out of mainstream pop music. They usually declare that they have kept their love of country hidden all these years, but country is secretly where their heart has always been.

Josh Kelley would like you to know he is not one of those carpetbaggers. “When I was 21, I tried to get a record deal in Nashville before I signed with Hollywood Records and I got turned down,” the Augusta, Ga., native tells Hitfix, adding that he rejected by the very label, MCA Nashville, that he now finds himself signed to. “Hollywood took my bluegrass songs and made them pop and I was fine with that, but I grew up on country music.”

The country club has been far more welcoming the second time around: “Georgia Clay,” the catchy first single and title track to his MCA Nashville debut, out today (March 22) is No. 18 on Billboard’s Country Songs chart and climbing.

Up until now, Kelley was best known for top 10 adult contemporary hits such as 2003’s  “Amazing” and 2005‘s “Only You.” It was on the video shoot for the latter that he met his wife, actress Katherine Heigl—whom he endearingly refers to as “Katie” during our interview. He also co-wrote the theme song for the CBS comedy “Mike & Molly” with Keb’ Mo’.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jennifer Hudson</p>

Jennifer Hudson

Credit: AP

Album review: Jennifer Hudson's 'I Remember Me'

Go to church with the Oscar winner as she soars above it all

We’re not an “American Idol” fan, but if all it ever did was introduce us to Jennifer Hudson (even though she was voted off in the seventh round),  then it’s all been worth it.

Hudson, whose second album, "I Remember Me" is out today, has one of the best voices to come around in years. Some folks compare her to Aretha. No one matches the queen of soul in our book. For us, she’s more like Chaka Khan: her voice has a fluidity and vulnerability, but also a strength and heft.

First single, “Where You At,” written and produced by R. Kelly showcases all those abilities as we can almost feel her pain as she stands there in the freezing cold for someone who never shows, yet we know her indominable spirit will see her through. Unlike other divas, Hudson never resorts to cheap vocal tricks because she doesn’t need to.

The terrain here is a familiar one for R&B divas: tunes about heartbreak and love interspersed with inspirational songs about faith. It’s like going through the worst heartbreak and getting taken to church at the same time. On “I Got This,” Hudson knows that her troubles and worries will be taken care of by a higher power.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon </p>

Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon

Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon added to ACM lineup

'Water For Elephants' stars presenting together at April 3 country awards show

Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson have a new movie to push, “Water for Elephants,” so that’s all the reason they need to be added to the list of presenters at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

Witherspoon and Pattinson will present together on the show, which airs April 3 at 8 p.m. in CBS. Their new movie (based on Sara Gruen’s beautiful book) is about a traveling circus, which is kind of like a carnival, which is kind of like a county fair and country artists often perform at county fairs. It all makes perfect sense. Who doesn’t enjoy a good Funnel Cake, by the way. And, of course, Witherspoon won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in 2005’s “Walk the Line.” We thought Pattinson was off shooting the 59th "Twilight" movie, but he must be getting the night off.

There will also be plenty of country artists at the ACMs, including Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, who will perform. Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire will host.





 

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<p>Jennifer Hudson</p>

Jennifer Hudson

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

Green Day, Adam Lambert, The Strokes and Jennifer Hudson lead March 22 releases

Heavy release slate also brings fresh Chris Brown, Kirk Franklin and Panic!At the Disco

Spring has sprung and so has the bounty of new releases. March 22 features a wellspring of new titles including fresh sets from The Strokes, Chris Brown, Green Day and Jennifer Hudson.

Richard Ashcroft, “United Nations of Sound” (Razor & Tie): The Verve frontman’s first solo album in four years, and first since the band officially parted ways in 2009, has a little bit of everything from live orchestration to major beats, but probably no Rolling Stones samples. We kid.

Chris Brown, “F.A.M.E.” (Jive): Latest from Brown includes “Deuces,” which was originally from his mixtape with Tyga, as well as first official single, “Yeah 3X.” Justin Bieber (everybody SCREAM!) and Lil Wayne also show up.

Solomon Burke, “Hold On Tight” (Verve): 
“Hold on Tight” is the iconic R&B singer’s last album recorded prior to his October passing. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer recorded here with Dutch band De Dijk.

Kirk Frankin, “Hello Fear” (Gospo Centric): Gospel superstar’s latest is a sure thing to come in at No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel chart, as have his last  nine albums. The burning question is how high can it go on the Billboard 200.

Green Day, “Awesome as Fuck” (Reprise): New live album and DVD capture the best of the trio’s 2009-2010 world tour. See review here.

Gucci Mane, “The Return of Mr. Zone 6” (Warner):
The rapper has called this album a return to “the streets,” hence the title. It features collaborations with Wale, Master P, Birdman and Waka Flocka Flame, as well as Rocko and Webbie, who appear in the video for first single, “I Don’t Love Her.”

Jennifer Hudson, “I Remember Me” (Arista):
Oscar winner and weight loser shows why she could be the next Whitney Houston (without the crazy) on her gorgeous sophomore set.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Green Day</p>

Green Day

Credit: Bruce Gilbert/AP

Album Review: Green Day's 'Awesome as F**k'

Is the live set the next best thing to being there?

If I were to write a Twitter review of Green Day’s live album/DVD “Awesome as Fuck” and keep it within the 140-character limit, it would simply read, “Go buy ‘Awesome as Fuck’ on March 22. It’s great.”

Live albums seldom work as anything other than audio scrapbooks for already existing fans, but if any concert set has the potential to convert new fans, “Awesome as Fuck” stands a darn good chance. 

From the opening salvo of “21st Century Breakdown,” the title track from the trio’s last studio album, to the closing notes of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” (which, for better or worse, has become Green Day’s equivalent of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance”: a benediction to send attendees off into the good night), “Awesome As Fuck”  will delight listeners. The band’s energy, and lead singer Billie Joe Armstong’s manic stage presence, is palpable.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Cher </p>

Cher

Exclusive: Hold your horses - Cher is not making a country album

What will the superstar's next project be?

You know that story about Cher recording a country album that’s making the rounds today? It was true, but is no longer the case.

As often happens once artists get into the studio, the direction shifts. Cher is now making a full-on dance record, according to her representative.

We contacted Cher’s spokeswoman today to see if there were more details about Cher’s country album with Nashville producer Mark Bright. Bright told the website Silk And Denim that he and Cher met each other through songwriter Desmond Child, who has written songs for Cher and who now spends much of his time in Nashville.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Eddie Vedder</p>

Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder sets release date for 'Ukulele Songs'

Solo set includes guests Glen Hansard and Cat Power

Sometimes an album title tells you everything you need to know about a project.  Such is the case with Eddie Vedder’s new set, “Ukulele Songs.”

Out May 31 on Pearl Jam’s own Monkeywrench Records, PJ’s frontman will release a collection of originals and covers performed by him on the ukulele. First single, “Longing to Belong” proves these are hardly cheesy uke tracks like “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” (Although how awesome would that have been to hear?)

The covers include “Dream a Little Dream” and guests include Glen Hansard on “Sleepless Nights” and Cat Power on “Tonight You Belong To Me.”  Hear “Longing to Belong,” which is available for purchase starting March 22, here.

[More after the jump...]

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