<p>Lucy Hale in the studio</p>

Lucy Hale in the studio

Lucy Hale from 'Pretty Little Liars' recording country album

What would Aria say?

Pretty Little Liars’” Lucy Hale has a secret of her own: she’s been working on a country album.

Hale, who plays Aria Montgomery on the hit ABC Family series,  grew up listening to Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and Shania Twain, according to press release. Between filming the series and her other duties, such as recently co-hosting the Teen Choice Awards, Hale has been making the trek to Music City to write and record her debut album with producer Mark Bright. Bright has produced albums for artists like Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery and Rascal Flatts.

The first single will come out early next year with the full album to follow on Disney Music Group Nashville/Bigger Picture Group.

Hale will start the all important step of  kissing babies and shaking hands with country programmers this fall as she hits the road to let them know that country music is, really, truly, her first love.


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<p>We'll call this photo &quot;reaching&quot;</p>

We'll call this photo "reaching"

Credit: AP Photo

An Open Letter to Miley Cyrus after the Video Music Awards and her 'publicity art'

Thanks for the 'Baby's First Twerk' instructional video, but time to move on

Dear Miley,

I’m not really sure why you feel the need to keep stabbing any existing memory of  “Hannah Montana” in the heart. We got it a few years ago when you performed “Party in the USA” and used the pole on an ice cream cart as a stripper pole. We got it again—over and over—with the various photo spreads with you showing off body parts, grabbing your crotch— and the videos that are your own version of “Girls Gone Wild.” Move over, Joe Francis. And we got it again last night in your Video Music Award stripper act performance.

You pretty much buried Hannah Montana for good after the last movie in 2010 (I know, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been way longer than that), and you can stop dedicating every minute to stomping on her grave now.  We got it. You are never, ever getting back together with that boring little school girl. Not when there’s molly to ingest and beer to drink and miles of twerking to go before you sleep.

Your "We Can't Stop" performance at the VMAs last night, as you grinded up against dancers dressed as plushie teddy bears, looked like something out of a misguided “Baby’s First Twerk” home video.  Really, no one wants to see that and it’s a good thing that Robin Thicke had on sunglasses for your performance together on “Blurred Lines” so we couldn’t see his reaction as you stroked his crotch with a foam finger. Somehow, you made the women in the “Blurred Lines” video look classy. Nice job!

A friend of mine has coined a new term for performances like yours. He calls it "publicity art." It's certainly not music and it's not really performance art —there's not that much thought put into it. It's a calculated attempt at grabbing headlines and it works. But only for so long. And the really irritating thing about it is you have to keep upping the ante. No performer can keep that up forever.

Instead of trying to shock us with how shocking you are and expecting us all to clutch our pearls, why not really stun us with something: show us that you can sing. Some of us know you can from songs like "The Climb" and "Wrecking Ball," the song you released yesterday, but a lot of folks need a reminder.  You don’t have to stop dancing or even twerking and stomping around like some awkward dinosaur, but it would be nice if you quit sticking out your tongue more than Gene Simmons. It’s almost like you have a facial tic.

No one expects you to dress up like you’re headed to a church social though you certainly got some great reactions, including Rihanna’s stony-faced, slightly bemused one. Not like she’s one to talk.

We already know you  Can’t Be Tamed. That’s so 2010. Why not show us that you can’t be stopped because you’re simply too talented.




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<p>Lady Gaga opens the 2013 MTV&nbsp;Video Music Awards.</p>

Lady Gaga opens the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/CharlesSykes

Watch: Lady Gaga opens MTV VMAs with 'Applause'

How many wigs does she wear?

Lady Gaga took a stroll down memory lane with her performance of “Applause” to open the MTV Video Music Awards. Starting as a nun (with her face through a block of white poster board), she segued from wig to wig, recreating various videos of yore, to “ARTPOP’s” face paint until she ended the frantic performance in the clam shell bikini she features in the "Applause" video.

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<p>Eminem returns this Nov.&nbsp; And we're gonna guess it's not a kinder, gentler&nbsp;Eminem.</p>

Eminem returns this Nov.  And we're gonna guess it's not a kinder, gentler Eminem.

Credit: Interscope

Eminem announces release date for 'MMLP2'

New single, "Berzerk, will drop on Tuesday

Eminem’s new album, “MMLP2,” will come out Nov. 5.  The word of the release date came during the MTV Video Music Awards. “MMLP2” stands for “Marshall Mathers LP 2.” “Marshall Mathers LP” was Eminem’s third studio album. “MMLP2” will be his eighth.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>One Direction</p>

One Direction

Credit: Jon Furniss/AP

Music Power Rankings: Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and One Direction lead this week's tally

'N Sync and Luke Bryan also make the list

1. Katy Perry: “Roar” roars up the chart, leaping from 85 to 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, largest on the back of selling more than 550,000 digital downloads, a career high for Perry.

2. Taylor Swift: She sets the record for most sellouts at Staples Center for a solo act at 11. The current album may be called “Red,” but she’s so in the black.

3. One Direction: The British boy band breaks the attendance record for “Today” concerts as 18,000 crowd into mid-town Manhattan. They are never going away, are they? 

4. Luke Bryan:
His “Crash My Party” crashes on the Billboard 200 with sales of 528,000, the third highest opening tally this year and the best by a country artist.

5. Ed Sheeran: He sells out his gig at Madison Square Garden. Not bad for Taylor Swift’s opening act.

6. Sara Bareilles:
Her single, “Brave,” which some are claiming Perry ripped off for “Roar,” gets a serious sales bump following the controversy. After peaking at No. 61 this Spring, it rebounded last week flying 66-41 on the Billboard Hot 100 from sales soaring from 28,000 to 51,000 in one week.

7. 'N Sync: The boy group gets ready to reunite for the first time in 10 years for Sunday’s Video Music Awards, but then we’ll have to say “bye, bye, bye” to them once again...

8. Madonna: She turns 55 and celebrates by getting grills on her teeth. Someone call AARP; It’s time for an intervention. 

9. Bon Jovi: Like pulling a band-aid off slowly, the process that has led to founding guitarist Richie Sambora leaving the band after 30 years started in April and allegedly came to a formal end this week (though neither party has confirmed it). Yes, the group is named after Jon Bon Jovi, but it’s always been a partnership to the fans. Whatever kept Sambora off this tour, we still hope it's only temporary.

10. Sid Bernstein: The man who brought the Beatles to America died at  95 earlier this week. We loved him, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Final MTV Video Music Awards 2013 Predictions
Credit: AP Photo

Final MTV Video Music Awards 2013 Predictions

It's Justin Timberlake vs. Robin Thicke vs. Miley Cyrus

Though all eyes will be on the performances at Sunday night's Video Music Awards, including watching Lady Gaga's live premiere of "Applause" and a rumored 'N Sync reunion, there will be plenty of Moonmen handed out at the annual MTV ceremony.

Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the nominations with six each, but it's really coming down to a contest between Timberlake's "Mirrors" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" in many category. Here's how we see it going down.

MTV's VMA's will air live from Brooklyn's Barclays Arena starting at 9 p.m. E.T. They are tape delayed on the West Coast.  Look for complete coverage all night long on HitFix.

Check out our predictions in the embedded story gallery. Who do you think is going to win big Sunday night? Share your thoughts below.

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<p>John Mayer</p>

John Mayer

Credit: Victoria Will/AP

Can John Mayer top Luke Bryan on next week's Billboard 200?

It's a crazy week with five debuts in the top 10

Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” holds off five newcomers on next week’s Billboard 200 to remain at No 1 for a second straight week.

After selling a staggering 528,000 (2013’s 3rd best opening tally), Bryan will see his weekly total drop to between 165,000-175,000, but that’s still enough to keep him in pole position.

John Mayer’s excellent “Paradise Valley,”  which includes a duet with Katy Perry, comes closest to knocking Bryan off his perch, but will likely have to settle for runner-up, with sales of up to 155,000. His last album, 2012’s “Born and Raised,” bowed at No. 1.

Mayer’s title is one of four debuts in the top 5. Coming at at No. 3 will be “Three Kings” (65,000-70,000) from TGT, the new group composed of Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank; Jimmy Buffett’s “Songs From St. Somewhere” (55,000-60,000) at No. 4, and Earl Sweatshirt’s “Doris” at No. 5 (50,000-55,000).

Robin Thicke’s former No. 1, “Blurred Lines” (45,000-50,000) slips to No. 6, “Now That’s What I Call Music” is at No. 7 (35,000-40,000). Rapper A$AP Ferg bows at No. 8 with “Trap Love”  (30,000-35,000). Disney’s soundtrack for “Teen Beach” is at No. 9 (30,000-35,000) and Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” at No. 10 (27,000-30,000), according to Hits Daily Double.

Just missing the top 10 are two more debuts: the latest from the Tedeschi Trucks Band at No. 11 and singer/songwriter Ben Rector at No. 12.

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<p>Justin Timberlake's 'Mirrors'</p>

Justin Timberlake's 'Mirrors'

Countdown to MTV's Video Music Awards: Video of the Year: Timberlake vs. Thicke

Will it be Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke's year?

As MTV’s 2013 Video Music Awards approach, we’ll countdown to the Aug. 25 ceremony, which airs live at 9 p.m. ET from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the nominations with six each, closely followed by Bruno Mars, Pink, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Among the artists performing on the show are Lady Gaga, who will open the awards; Timberlake (with a rumored ‘N Sync reunion), Mars, and Cyrus.

We’ll look at a different category each day leading up to Aug. 25. Later this weekend, we'll list all our predictions, with some additions, in a video gallery.  Plus, look for full coverage of the VMAs, including live blogging, commentary, fashion best and worsts, and more on Sunday.

Video of the Year 
Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz, "Thrift Shop"
 Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
 Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, "Blurred Lines"
 Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble"

This is a race between “Blurred Lines” and “Mirrors.” “Mirrors” is the more artistic statement, although some may find the second half of Timberlake’s video a little pretentious. Some folks may also find “Blurred Lines” creepy, but not enough to keep it from winning here. One question: why isn’t Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” in this category?

Who Should Win: Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”
Who Will Win: Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines”

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<p>Marvin Gaye</p>

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye family turned down settlement from Robin Thicke: Report

Offer made before Thicke filed lawsuit to protect 'Blurred Lines'

Robin Thicke’s seemingly pre-emptive filing of lawsuit last week asking for a ruling that “Blurred Lines” does not infringe upon Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” and George Clinton’s “Sexy Ways” is suddenly making a lot more sense.

[More after the jump...]


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Watch: Pearl Jam's striking new video for 'Mind Your Manners'

Watch: Pearl Jam's striking new video for 'Mind Your Manners'

The Seattle band snarls through taut, cinematic clip

Pearl Jam captures man’s inhumanity to man and other living things in the video for “Mind Your Manners.” Directed by noted rock photographer Danny Clinch, the video opens with a quaint '50s film about the importance of manners before crashing into a Pearl Jam performance in front of a screen quickly cutting to different disturbing images.

[More after the jump...]


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