<p>Ciara</p>

Ciara

Watch: Ciara shows off her 'goodies' in new video for 'Ride'

Is it about sex or about going to the gym?

Ciara wants you to know that she can “work it so good.”  But this isn’t empty rhetoric, she has the video to prove her mad sex skillz.  As she demonstrates in “Ride,” her goodies have special talents, she can pleasure her man in a variety of different ways—up and down or circles-- and she’s not shy about letting him know. She will be the smoothest ride he’s ever had, she declares, perched up against a smooth automobile dressed only in a swimsuit made of the same amount of material as used in a seat belt and a fur coat (“What? There’s a car in the video?,” says the average red-blooded male. Yes, she’s so hot, it’s possible to miss out on the automobile.).

Ciara is in ungodly great shape, whether she’s humping the floor on her stomach and on her knees or as she poses up against the car nearly naked. Don’t get us started with her on the mechanical bull in the see-through white top. Cliches are us. But as s jealous as I am of her remarkable body, her abs and the fact that she has someone whisper “Ciara” at the beginning of her videos, lest we forget her name,  there’s also something depressing about the video. First off, it’s a bad song that even Ludacris’s appearance can’t improve (and what’s with his slowed down vocals?), so if this is the best she’s got from her forthcoming album, “Basic Instinct,” we could be in trouble.

Plus, Ciara started off as a fun, sexy singer. This is a crass, crude song that feels like she’s almost selling herself since people aren’t interested in her music anymore. Yes, “Love, Sex, Magic” was a bit hit, but it was the only hit off of last year’s “Fantasy Ride,” and, remember, it had Justin Timberlake on it. The other singles stiffed. Has she reached the stage where she feels like she has to resort to near soft-core porn to get people’s attention? If so, we salute her, because it works.

On the other hand, you can look at the video as a woman owning her sexuality and being damn proud of how she can satisfy her man and how smoking she looks. Plus, as my colleague Katie Hasty noted, her moves are so awesome, this video could be used as a work-out video. If we thought we could look like her by working out like that three times a week, we’d be first in line to buy it.

 

 

 

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<p>Sarah McLachlan</p>

Sarah McLachlan

Listen: Sarah McLachlan's new single, 'Loving You is Easy'

She's in love with the boy

Sarah McLachlan is in love and she doesn’t care who knows it. In fact, she wants to shout it from the rooftops. On “Loving You is Easy,” the new single from her new album, “The Laws of Illusion,” out June 15.

“The Law of Illusion” is McLachlan’s first full studio album of new material in seven years and if “Loving You Is Easy” is any indication, McLachlan is in a shiny, good place.

The tune is a toe-tapping paean to falling in love again after a fallow period and feeling as if you can leap off buildings in a single bound. It’s that dewy period when it feels like even five minutes apart is four minutes too many.

The song is reminiscent of Sara Bareilles’ breakthrough hit, “Love Song” with its poppy, easy-going lyrics and pounding piano intro, but we certainly know which Sarah came first in this case.

“Loving You is Easy” also features  Brian Wilson-type backing vocals at the 2:30 mark that give the song a poppy sheen seldom found in her material. She sounds remarkably relaxed and happy. Judge for yourself below.

 

 

 

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<p>Paul McCartney</p>

Paul McCartney

Credit: AP Photo

Paul McCartney breaks ties with EMI, moves catalog over to Concord

"Band on the Run" will be reissued with bonus material on August, followed by other solo and Wings sets

After nearly 50 years with EMI, Paul McCartney has severed ties with the embattled record company as a solo artist.

While the Beatles catalog remains with EMI, McCartney has inked a licensing deal with independent label, Concord Music Group to reissue his solo and Wings content. The roll-out begins with the August re-release of 1973’s “Band on the Run,” with new packaging and bonus content.
McCartney has been prolific since the Fab Four’s break up in 1970. The Concord deal includes 14 solo sets and eight Wings albums, as well as such one-off projects as The Fireman, his 2008 release with producer Youth.

As a recording artist, McCartney had already cast his lot with Concord. He left EMI in 2007 and released the Grammy-nominated “Memory Almost Full,” as well as 2009’s “Good Evening, New York City” CD/DVD. His regained the rights of his catalog in February, according to the Wall Street Journal. Over the last few years, McCartney had discussed his dismay with EMI and the feeling that EMI treated acts like "furniture."

The Concord deal includes both digital and physical distribution. While the Beatles remain unavailable via digital download, McCartney’s material is available, but will be more widely so as a result of this deal as the individual projects are reissued. For example, today, fans can download Wings’ greatest hits set, “Wingspan” on iTunes, but not all of the individual Wings albums.

As EMI continues to fall apart, the loss of McCartney’s catalog is just the latest blow.  Radiohead left the record company as a recording artist, although its catalog remains with EMI, according to the WSJ. EMI’s owner, private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners, has until June to raise roughly $600 million before it defaults on its Citi loan. EMI has been talking to such competitors as Sony and Universal about licensing the rights to distribute its catalog, but the talks have stalled.

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<p>Muse</p>

Muse

'Resistance' is futile: Muse sets fall tour dates

Outing kicks off in San Diego on Sept. 22

Hot on the heels of its successful Coachella headlining gig, Muse has set the dates for the next North American leg of it “Resistance” tour.  The tour, which follows the band’s major spring arena tour—and it first headlining Madison Square Garden gig, starts Sept. 22 in San Diego and ends Nov. 6 in Cincinnati. Fan pre-sales start Wednesday, April 1, with tickets going on sale to the general public on April 24.
Below are the new dates:

9/22    San Diego, CA          Viejas Arena
9/23    Anaheim, CA             Honda Center
9/25    Los Angeles, CA       Staples Center
10/1    Rio Rancho, NM        Santa Ana Star Center
10/2    Denver, CO                Pepsi Center
10/5    Minneapolis, MN       Target Center
10/6    Milwaukee, WI           Bradley Center
10/8    Oklahoma City, OK   Ford Center
10/21  Quebec City, QC       Pepsi Coliseum
10/27  Charlottesville, VA    John Paul Jones Arena
11/2    Kansas City, MO       Sprint Center
11/3    St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
11/5    Columbus, OH           Schottenstein Center
11/6    Cincinnati, OH           US Bank Arena
 

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: AP Photo

Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Carrie Underwood help salute Brooks & Dunn

CBS tribute honoring duo airs May 23

Here’s what we learned at Monday’s taping for the Academy of Country Music’s salute to Brooks & Dunn at Las Vegas’  MGM Grand Garden Arena: seemingly everyone who ever sung a country song has toured with the duo, the most successful in the history of country music. The pair starts its final tour, “The Last Rodeo, later this week and will hang up their collective spurs in August.

The tribute won’t air on CBS until May 23, but we were at the taping and can reveal some of the more exciting moments.

Taylor Swift, who was still in diapers when Brooks & Dunn scored their first chart topper in 1991, introduced the duo, setting a pattern for many of the artists to follow: she told a hilarious story about being on tour with them. She was summoned to their dressing room and feared she’d done something wrong, only for Ronnie Dunn to tell her he wanted to show her his imitation of her.

Virtually every artist who followed, whether it was Keith Urban,  Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert. Sugarland or Brad Paisley, has entertaining road tales to share about touring with Brooks & Dunn. One even involved Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.”

While plenty of artists, including Carrie Underwood, Lambert and Swift talked about growing with Brooks & Dunn, they meant it figuratively. Only Lady Antebellum’s Hilary Scott could make the same claim literally.  Her parents were in McEntire’s band during the four years that McEntire and Brooks & Dunn toured together. “So if you saw a little girl sitting on a road case by the side of the stage, that was me,” she said.  She and band mate Charles Kelley sang a beautiful duet of “If You See Him, If You See Her,” originally recorded by the pair with McEntire. They were joined by some special guest.

We want to keep some of the surprises intact for those who plan to watch the special, but among our favorites were Urban’s rollicking “Brand New Man,” George Strait’s playful “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” Darius Rucker’s “Hard Workin’ Man,” in which he channeled Bob Seger as much as B&D, Underwood’s soulful “Neon Moon,” and Tim McGraw’s “That Ain’t Now Way to Go.” He sounded better than we’ve ever heard him.
However, the performance that will have everyone buzzing the morning after the special airs is Jennifer Hudson’s take-us-to-church take on “Believe,” a meditation on faith.

Not every song seemed a good match: Swift’s take on “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” seemed a strange fit perhaps because at 20, she seems a little young to be singing, “In my life, I’ve been hammered by some heavy blows.” Similarly, McEntire’s choice of a lesser B&D song, “Indian Summer,” about a school girl’s misguided relationship with the quarterback, felt like an awkward choice.

Brooks & Dunn announced their decision “to call it a day” last April and are doing the Last Rodeo tour in order to give fans a chance to see them together for the last time.  While the days of their touring together may be gone shortly, Dunn has no plan to fade away: his first single as a solo artist comes out late Spring and as he told the audience at the taping’s close: “I’m gonna find me a beer joint and keep singing.”
 

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<p>Cypress Hill, out on 4/20. Duh.</p>

Cypress Hill, out on 4/20. Duh.

Cypress Hill, Willie Nelson, 'Glee' cast lead diverse April 20 release slate

Madonna gets an overhaul in one new release

Cypress Hill leads the list of artists with new releases out April 20 with its first set in several years. The Latin rappers are joined by fresh sets from hot British newcomer V.V. Brown, Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and country legends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

AC/DC: “Iron Man 2” (Columbia): “Iron Man 2” open May 7, but you can get this CD/DVD set comes out tomorrow and features 15 classic AC/DC tunes, many of which are featured in the Robert Downey Jr. blockbuster.

Aqualung, “Magnetic North” (Verve Forecast): British singer/songwriter Matt Hales, who leads the band Aqualung, returns with a sparkly set of layered pop songs about romantic relationships and their various phases.

V.V. Brown, “Travelling Like the Light” (Capitol): Soulful British singer mines a failed relationship on this blend of retro pop and rock.

Cypress Hill, “Rise Up” (Priority/EMI); Latin rappers Sen Dog and B-Real get a little help from such friends as Tom Morello, Mike Shinoda, Cheech & Chong, Pete Rock, Mark Anthony and Pitbull on their first set in four years.

Roky Erickson and the Okkervil River
, “True Love Cast Out All Evil” (Anti-Epitaph): Eccentric founder of 13th Floor Elevators releases first album in 14 years. Okkervil leader Will Sheff produced the set.

Merle Haggard, “I Am What I Am” (Vanguard); Country legend, dubbed “the poet of the common man,” releases his first album for Vanguard and his 76th overall.

Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders, “Red Light Fever” (Shanabelle/RCA): Foo Fighters drummer Hawkins releases his latest set with the Coattail Riders. FF bandmate Dave Grohl guests on the rock set, as do the Cars’ Elliot Easton and Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Willie Nelson, “Country Music” (Rounder): Nelson and producer T Bone Burnett take on a number of classic country songs most from decade ago.

Various Artists, “Glee: The Music—The Power of Madonna” (Columbia): The cast of “Glee” takes on Madge in this set of seven Madonna songs, including “Express Yourself,” “4 Minutes,” “Like a Prayer” and the instant classic, “Vogue.”

Rufus Wainwright, “All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu” (Decca): No, this isn’t a salute to the “To Sir with Love” singer. It’s inspired by a Shakespearean sonnet, with some of the songs using the Bard’s words.
 

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<p>Bon Jovi</p>

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi delivers special editions for fans of its first 10 albums

Sets will be reissued with live tracks from the same era

Bon Jovi is going back to its beginnings. The band synonymous with New Jersey will re-release its first 10 albums on May 11. Each will include live recordings taken from the same time the albums were originally made.

For example, the group’s debut, “Bon Jovi,” will include bonus tracks taken from club dates.
The releases, which go through 2007’s “Lost Highway,” will feature new artwork, liner notes, and photos from each era. Purchase of the special editions will also allow fans to access a website that includes exclusive content, including more live tracks.

Back to the present:  Bon Jovi is on a world tour in support of its 2009 album, “The Circle.”

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<p>Courtney Love</p>

Courtney Love

Credit: Katie Hasty

Courtney Love takes to the road to promote 'Nobody's Daughter'

Four mid-Atlantic dates revealed

We’re guessing that “Courtney Love sets headlining Mid-Atlantic tour” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Courtney Love sets headlining North American summer tour.” Or there’s a lot more coming from Love’s pr team. Today, her label announced a “North American” tour by Love and the re-configured Hole with only four dates on it. We don’t know if that’s the tour in toto or if the plan is to annoyingly roll out dates every week or so  a la Lilith 2010.

Regardless, Hole’s first album in a decade, “Nobody’s Daughter,” comes out April 27.  We have to qualify that Love is the only remaining member in Hole, but since it was always her band, we guess she still has the right to use the name. In addition to dates in L.A. and N.Y. around the release of the album,  below are the announced dates in Hole’s “North American” tour. Maybe we’re being too harsh. These cities are all in North America, after all.

Hole's tour:

June 22  Electric Factory  Philadelphia
June 23  House of Blues    Boston
June 25  Welmont Theater  Montclair, N.J.
June 27  930 Club, Washington, D.C.
 

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<p>Lady Antebellum at the Academy of Country Music Awards</p>

Lady Antebellum at the Academy of Country Music Awards

Credit: Dan Steinberg/AP

Live Blogging the Academy of Country Music Awards from Las Vegas

Is Taylor Swift the sure bet or is Lady Antebellum the odds-on favorite?

Welcome to  Hitfix's live blog of the Academy of Country Music  Awards, live from Las Vegas. We're sitting backstage with lots of other reporters, crammed into a room watching the show feed on two monitors and waiting for artists to come backstage. The blog will be a hybrid of watching the show and backstage comments as they happen.

8 p.m. Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood open the show with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Traveling Band," and, as rumored, are joined by the song's author, John Fogerty. Both women instantly start trying to mimic Fogerty's strange inflection.

Reba McEntire is back to host for the 12th time and for good reason. She gets it. She is funny, fast on her feet and can get away by saying mean things with a smile that others couldn't do --such as a zinger about Kirstie Alley. The dress she wore on the red carpet was much prettier than the one she's wearing now.

8:10: Cher just came out to present. What? She says her bonafides are real: her mom played with Bob Wills and the first song she learned to sing was "Hey Good Lookin'," plus she's been talking to Merle Haggard about a duet. Now that we'd love to hear.

8:13: Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins are singing "Hillbilly Bone." I know it's a hit, but it's the kind of country song that 95% of the fans can't relate to. I am quite sure, as much as I love country, I do not have a "Hillbilly Bone" down deep inside. Okay, the ending was funny when Adkins said he couldn't believe they'd won the award, presented earlier, for best vocal event and Shelton looked at him and said, "What do you mean you can't believe we won?" Now so sure that was scripted.. or meant to be on camera.

8:27: Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins are now on stage, busting on the other nominees in their best vocal event, including Dave Matthews, who recorded a duet with Kenny Chesney. Chesney just performed "Ain't Back Yet," and his sound is so much clearer than everyone else's. How did he manage that.  Shelton is now talking about "doing a lot of drinking" with his girlfriend Miranda Lambert, but how jazzed he is that Cher said his name when she introduced them. Watch out, Miranda...Blake just said this was the first time he'd been nominated for an award, and thanked Trace for helping make it happen. Trace just said, "You lose a lot more than you win."

8:32: Lady Antebellum wins song of the year, but I'm focused on Blake and Trace backstage. Oh my. Laura Bell Bundy, who's best known as a Broadway star is strutting her stuff with "Giddy On Up." It's horrible, which means it's headed to the top of the chart...  Brad Paisley can barely manage a polite golf clap when they pan to him.

8:41: Toby Keith is playing "Cryin'  for Me," the song he wrote about his friend, pro basketball player and jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale. He's joined by saxophonist Dave Koz, who was also very close to Tisdale. Full disclosure: I knew Wayman through Dave and he was one of the gentlest, sweetest men ever. Very worthy tribute. Plus they got in a plug for a cancer charity so hopefully this performance will raise some funds--if you buy the song on iTunes...goes to Stand Up For Cancer.  Nice shot of Tisdale's family. Toby seems genuinely choked up. When we first talked to him after he wrote the song, he told us he had a tough time recording it, he was crying so hard.

8:52: Toby Keith is backstage talking about a cancer charity he started. Like Ronald McDonald's house, he's now building housing for families who have a member going through treatment, so they can be near their loved ones. he's talking about writing the song after Wayman passed, but he was too emotional to sing it at his funeral. "It was a month before I could sing it and get through it," he says. Wayman came with Toby to the awards last year and three weeks later he was dead. Toby is getting ready to go overseas to play for his troops, his 142nd show for them. Say what you will about Toby, he walks the walk when it comes to his support of the troops in the way that few artists do.

8:55 Lady Antebellum just won single record of the year for "Need You Now." They're having a good night.

9:00: LL Cool J introduced Taylor Swift. I'm pretty sure this is her first televised performance since the Grammy debacle.  She's in a cage flying over the audience---shades of Garth Brooks flying over the audience during his televised Texas Stadium special, but he didn't use a cage... but Garth also didn't seemingly change outfits mid-air, as she just did. Swift is singing "Change." No horrible missteps. Her voice sounds stronger than it did that night. She still has trouble staying on key. We'll called it a qualified redemptive performance. She knows how to make each performance an event and for that, we salute her.

9:05 Julianne Hough on Taylor's performance: "Was that not so amazing?" What about just saying "Wasn't that amazing." Hough stumbles a few more times. There's a reason presenters are supposed to show up at rehearsal... She introduces the acts who are up for best new artist: Gloriana,  Luke Bryan (who's singing "Do I," written by Charles and Dave from Lady Antebellum-- they are everywhere!--and Joey and Rory singing their hilarious romp, "Cheater Cheater."  They're god-fearing Christians who talk about their faith a lot. You would not know it from listening to this song. Bryan is the winner, who thanks his brother, "up in heaven." 

9:12: Lady Antebellum is performing "American Honey," the second single from "Need You Now." I saw Lady A at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles Thursday night--it was one of their few headlining dates off from the Tim McGraw tour. They are the real deal. I'm not crazy about this song or this performance though, it seems too slow.

9:22: Like Bryan is backstage. Good God, he lost both his brother AND sister. He's talking about how when something good happens, he and his family feel the closeness of his departed siblings. "We say, 'Life is good tonight, life is good tonight.'"  Rascal Flatts are performing. They got tough news this week when their label, Disney's  country imprint Lyric Street, was shut down. They'll shuttle to another Disney-owned label, but Disney doesn't have another label in Music City.

9:28: Miranda Lambert just won album of the year for "Revolution." The ACMs love Miranda. Her last album, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" won this award two years ago. She gives a very short speech in order to save some time for the album's producer, whom the show's producers promptly play off. That was uncomfortable to watch.

9:31: Jason Aldean is performing "Crazy Town." He helped lead a revolution in Nashville. He's signed to an independent label, Broken Bow. Only just a few years ago, the majors had such a stranglehold on the charts, it would have been tough for an indie label to have the resources to compete when it comes to radio promotion, but Aldean has scored four No. 1s.

9:38: Ten minutes after her best-album win, Miranda Lambert is performing one of the best songs from "Revolution": the gorgeous "The House that Built Me."  Hard not to tear up every time i hear that one.

9:44: Montgomery Gentry is receiving the award for their humanitarian efforts. Troy Gentry is tearing up and Eddie Montgomery uses his speech as an opportunity to tell us this is the greatest country in the world.

9:54: Carrie Underwood is singing "Temporary Home" in a dress with a skirt so flaired--it's practically a hoop skirt-- that a family of four could live underneath it; but that's not the kind of temporary home she's singing about, we imagine. Vocally, she's delivering one of the best performances of the night. Man, she loves these weepers that pull at your heartstrings no matter how you try to resist.

10:00: Eddie Cibrian presents Top Vocal Group to Lady Antebellum. He is Le Ann Rimes' other half after their affair busted up his marriage last year. Someone in the press room started singing Miranda's "White Liar" when he came on. Nice. .Tim McGraw is now performing "Still." Clearly he and the ACMs made up after he walked out during rehearsal on last year's show and left producers with a hole to fill.

10:03: Word of Reba's cutting comment about Kirstie Alley's weight got back to Alley pretty quickly. She tweeted to Reba: "Wow... thought we girls would stick together... next time you need a fat joke about me, just ask. Mine are funny." We bet you within 24 hours, Reba tweets an apology to Kirstie.

10:12: Brad Paisley's new single, "Water," reminds us of Alabama's "Dixieland Delight." Are we crazy? Paisley does a backward plunge into a pool of water.

10:16: TMI: Matthew McConaughey reveals that he and his wife conceived their second child last year after the ACM awards, but says they probably won't get lucky tonight since two kids is enough.  Top male vocalist winner Brad Paisley, still soaking wet from his pool dive, decides to do a stand-up routine. "Can I borrow your shirt? You're used to not wearing one," he asked Matthew. He then jokes about how his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley loved playing McConaughey's wife in  'We Are Marshall," but "She said I'm a better kisser. You had no kissing scenes, so I don't know how she knows that." Paisley is the first artist to thank Sony Music Nashville's head Joe Galante, who's a legend in Nashville, who stepped down as chairman last week sending shock waves through Music Row.

10:24: McEntire chokes up while introducing her friends, Brooks & Dunn, who are hanging up their spurs after 20 years following their "Last Rodeo" tour. The fans picked "My Maria" for B&D's last ACM performance--that is until they inevitably reunite. Although they haven't liked each other for 20 years, so I'm not so sure a reunion will ever come to pass. B&D's cover runs rings around  the original version by B.W. Stevenson, primarily because Ronnie Dunn has such a great, great voice. If we could only do something about that hair..  People are actually singing along in the press room. Can't wait to hear his solo stuff and we won't have a long wait. Dunn drops his first single later this Spring.

10:30: Brooks & Dunn win top vocal duo, stealing it from Sugarland. B&D won this award an unprecedented 14 times in a row or something like that. Kix Brooks says "we're in therapy with Brett Favre on how to waffle on this." So not true... They're so ready to be done, you can tell.

10:38; The preternaturally tanned Montgomery Gentry arrive backstage as Reba started her performance. We can't hear her, but she looks lovely and we like that it's a tribute of some sort to Brooks & Dunn (or so we think... the sound is down). There's a strong charity component to the show tonight. That's nice. The duo is talking about how even before they made it big, they'd play money to raise music for families in their neighborhoods who needed help paying bills. They haven't stopped helping folks since. Montgomery Gentry fans: new single, "While You're Still Young,"  goes to radio on Monday with a new album coming out in September. Montgomery says the new material is "in your face."

Miranda Lambert just won top female vocalist and seems pretty shocked about it, as is Taylor Swift, who would appear to be going home empty handed tonight.

10:44: Lady Antebellum just came in the press room. When we wrote "Need You Now," I don't think we knew what we had on our hands," says Charles Kelley.  "It wasn't until [producer] Paul Worley interpreted it. You never know where a song can take you...It almost didn't make the record." Lead singer Hilary Scott looks breathtakingly gorgeous in a magenta dress with her green eyes sparkling. "We want to be doing what Brooks & Dunn are doing, 20 years from now saying 'we need to take a break'," Charles says.  Asked if it's shocking to hear "Need You Now" played alongside  Lady GaGa  on pop radio, he says, although Hilary notes they both write songs about phones.

10:51: Brooks & Dunn are backstage. Kix says the tribute that's taping tomorrow night honoring them is one of the most "humbling" things for them since they know how busy people are. (The tribute to Brooks & Dunn airs on CBS May 23). Ronnie says that a friend of his, a therapist, "Not that I need one," he hastens to add, has told him to feel his feelings. Don't just rush through this and remember the ride. He recounted opening for Reba in '92 when he and Brooks were still on the way up and marveling at her production, planes and limos, "and now we're friends with her. I played black jack with George Strait awhile ago."  "And lost," added Brooks.

 11:00: While Brooks & Dunn were backstage, it appears Carrie Underwood won entertainer of the year, marking her second year in a row and she is the only female to ever win it twice... that's a dubious honor to hold. This also means that Taylor Swift was shut out tonight. Entertainer of the year is voted on the fans, which makes Swift's loss in this category all the more surprising. At her show on Friday night in Los Angeles, she was still shilling for votes.

11:07: The show is over, closing with a performance by Darius Rucker, but backstage continues to hop as Miranda Lambert comes in. "Are you freaking kidding me," she says about winning top female vocalist, tearing up backstage, recalling the moment. 'I'd just watched Reba perform. She's everything we want to be in country music. I looked over at Carrie and she hugged me and said, 'Long time coming.'" As far as winning  album of the year, she see leaned over to boyfriend Blake Shelton and said, "I really want this one" as the nominees were announced tonight. She's feeling the love of her peers. "I never cry, but I'm crying tonight. You cracked me, people."  A little preview: she's performing "Hillbilly Deluxe" at the Brooks & Dunn tribute.

11:19: Brad Paisley set a record for fourth consecutive award for best male vocalist. he says tonight feels like a dream. "Before the show, they said, you're going to fall in. Don't bend your knees, you'll hit your head," of falling back into the pool. He notes this is a strong time for women in country music, "which is something I'm very happy about," noting how pleased he is that his buddy Carrie Underwood won entertainer of the year and that Taylor Swift took home the same award from the Country Music Assn. last fall. Paisley's tour this summer is a blockbuster with two stages of acts-- six artists every night--including Easton Corbin on the second stage, or as Paisley called him, "Aston Martin." "I really hope that people leave there feeling they got 10 times what they bargained for." Paisley is singing "Working on my Next Broken Heart" at the Brooks & Dunn tribute. He also expanded on his comments from the stage about departing exec Joe Galante: "I'm optimistic about the future, but I'll miss him. He's the greatest partner. He listens to my vision and he talks me out of stupid ideas."  What more could you ask for.

11:32: Our last artist backstage: Carrie Underwood, who looks amazing. "I got to sing with John Fogerty. Oh my gosh," she says of the show opener.  She doesn't want to reveal her Brooks & Dunn selection, but she says it came out when she was eight years old. "They've been part of raising me in country music. They're my neighbors. I see them all over Nashville.  I'm sad they are leaving." Man, she's come far from a girl who just admitted, "When I was on 'American Idol,' I just hoped I'd get to stay on another week."

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<p>MGMT</p>

MGMT

Is it 'Congratulations' or condolences to MGMT on next week's album chart?

Will Justin Bieber keep the rockers out of the top spot?

We’ve got a horse race for the No. 1 album spot next week. Will teen moppet Justin Bieber stay at No. 1 or will “Congratulations” be in order for psychedelic rockers MGMT forge ahead to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200? It’s too soon to tell with three more days of sales.

Right now, Hits Daily Double gives a slight edge to Bieber’s “My World 2.0,” in part because of the boost the title received from Bieber’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live”  on April 10, but only 5,000 or so copies split the two right now.  After weeks of 100,000+ titles at No. 1, it also looks like the threshold for the top spot will be around 85,000 copies.

In all likelihood, Usher will be at No. 3, Lady Antebellum will hang at No. 4 and we’ll see the new title from Coheed & Cambria  come in at No. 5 with sales of around 60,000. No other acts debut in the Top 10, although Jeff Beck’s first set in seven years will debut around No. 14, with Natalie Merchant’s new set is poised to bow at No. 16.
 

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