Sam Smith, Meghan Trainor Recall Worst Christmas Gifts Ever

Derrick SantiniWith the kind of year that Sam Smith and Meghan Trainor have had, they don’t need to rely on anyone to get them Christmas gifts — they can just buy whatever the heck they want.  But there was a time in the past when, just like regular folks, both stars suffered through lousy Christmas gifts courtesy of clueless relatives.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, Sam says his worst Christmas present ever came from his dad, but that’s just because he wasn’t exactly clued in to little Sam’s interests.  “My dad got me a build-your-own tank when I was 11,” he tells Billboard. “I don’t think he knew I was gay at that point. I got really upset.”

Meghan, meawhile, got her worst Christmas gift from her brother, and ironically, it made her feel bad about her body image — the very issue that her #1 hit “Alll About that Bass” would go on to tackle.

“My little brother bought me boxers from [my hometown of] Nantucket, that I already had a pair of,” she tells Billboard. “But he bought a smaller size, so that I was just insecure and pissed.”

Still those gifts pale in comparison to the one that MAGIC! frontman Nasri claims he received.  “My brother’s t-shirts,” Nasri says, describing his worst-ever gift. “His actual t-shirts.”  Why you gotta be so rude?

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Madonna Releases Six Songs from New Album “Rebel Heart,” Album Coming in March

Interscope RecordsFollowing the unauthorized leak earlier this week of some of her new but incomplete tracks, Madonna has decided to officially release six songs from her upcoming album, titled Rebel Heart.  The songs are available for pre-order at iTunes and other outlets with the purchase of the album, and individually.  More music is coming February 9, and the entire album will officially arrive during the first week of March.

The songs that are available are “Living For Love,” “Devil Pray,”  “Ghosttown,” “Unapologetic B***h,” “Illuminati” and “B***h I’m Madonna,” which features Nicki Minaj.  She also appeared on Madonna’s last album, MDNA.

In a statement, Madonna said, I was hoping to release my new single ‘Living For Love’ on Valentine’s Day with the rest of the album coming in the Spring. I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the  incomplete tracks that are circulating.   Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift.”

On Instagram, Madonna wrote, “6 songs for you now…….#rebelheart Happy Early X-Mas! ! 13 more to come for album 13 !!!”

The album cover shown on iTunes is a black-and-white photo of Madonna’s face, wrapped in some kind of black tape or string.

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Kelly Clarkson Hosting Star-Studded “Miracle on Broadway” Concert Saturday Night in Nashville

Peter Kramer/NBCKelly Clarkson‘s star-studded Miracle on Broadway concert is set for Saturday night at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The lineup includes Grammy nominees Meghan Trainor and Hayley Williams of Paramore, as well as country stars Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Kacey Musgraves, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn and Martina McBride.

Kelly started the ball rolling for the show less than 90 days ago, and she recruited her mother-in-law, country legend Reba McEntire, as the first special guest on the show. Kelly is married to Reba’s stepson, Brandon Blackstock.

Kelly says with a laugh, “I figured if I could tie Reba in, people would say yes. So, she said yes, probably ’cause she’s just my mother-in-law. It’d be awkward at Christmas when she was like, ‘Oh, I turned you down.’”

Kelly hopes to make Miracle on Broadway an annual event, and she’s already gotten commitments for next year’s show from a few superstars, including country music icon Dolly Parton.  Miracle on Broadway coincides with Kelly’s first Christmas with her baby daughter, River Rose. While she’s worked with charities in the Nashville area for years now, Kelly says becoming a mother has made her want to give even more back to her community.

In addition to River Rose, Kelly is a stepmom to Brandon’s two children from a previous marriage. She hopes to instill that spirit of giving into their kids with events like Miracle on Broadway.

Says Kelly, “We want to make sure that they are a part of things like this from the get-go. His kids, and our little girl as well — [to] just see this. Because it’s like, you can’t grow up in your own little world. There’s a whole world out there, and there’s people that are in need.”

Proceeds from Miracle on Broadway benefit several of Kelly’s favorite charities in Middle Tennessee, including The Community Foundation, Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Monroe Harding Children’s Home, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Thistle Farms organization for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

Fans attending the concert are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank. Those not attending the concert can make a one-time $10 donation by texting MIRACLE to 41010.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift’s 25th Birthday Helps Her Top “Social 50″ Chart for First Time Since Last Year

ABC/Fred LeeSince Taylor Swift is everywhere, has millions of fans and is very active online on Twitter and Instagram, you’d think she’d be #1 on Billboard’s “Social 50″ chart, which ranks the most popular artists on social media, every other week.  But it turns out it took a milestone birthday to send her to the top of that chart, which she hadn’t visited since last year.

According to Billboard, Taylor’s #1 on the chart thanks to her epic 25th birthday party in the wee hours of December 13, whose guest list seemed to include every famous person in the world…all of whom took to Twitter and Instagram to talk about the fabulous party.  Those who weren’t at the party took to Twitter to wish her a happy birthday, and all that activity sent her to #1 on the chart for the first time since April of 2013.

In addition, being the subject of tweets from Lorde, Selena Gomez, Charli XCX, HAIM, Nick Jonas and more resulted in a 117 percent increase in mentions online, and her posts on Instagram featuring her partying with Justin Timberlake and Beyonce received nearly 11 million likes for that week.

Taylor had previously climbed as high as #2 this year on the Social 50 chart, but she was constantly blocked by Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Christina Aguilera Developing ABC Family Show About Las Vegas Entertainers

ABC/Richard HarbaughChristina Aguilera is getting into the TV business, beyond her appearances on The Voice.

Deadline reports that the singer is executive producing and helping to develop a dramedy for ABC Family which is focused on a group of Las Vegas entertainers who fall in and out of love. 

Tentatively titled Hearts and Clubs, the show is described as being similar to Love, Actually in the way that the characters’ lives intertwine.  Another executive producer on the project is her fiance, Matt Rutler, the father of her baby girl Summer Rain.

Christina returns to The Voice for season eight early next year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Sam Smith First to Chart on “Billboard” Hot 100 with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Capitol Records

The song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has been around for 70 years, but it took Sam Smith to bring it to the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time.

The British singer’s melancholy version of the song has just debuted at #90 on that chart.  Of course, various versions of the tune have appeared on the publication’s Holiday chart, but never onthe Hot 100, alongside the other current hits of the day. 

Sam debuted his version of the song on the CBS special A Very Grammy Christmas, during which he learned he’d been nominated for Album of the Year. That’s one of six Grammy nominations he has this year.

On the Holiday 100, Sam’s version of the song is top 10, and there are three other versions on there as well, by Frank Sinatra, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Buble.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was first introduced in 1944, in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nicki Minaj Scores Record-Breaking No. 1 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart

Dana Edelson/NBCNicki Minaj continues to outdo herself on the charts.

The rapper’s “Only” has climbed from #10 to #1 on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, marking her fourth #1 on that list. That’s the most #1′s for a female rappers in the 56 years since the chart launched as a sales/airplay hybrid tally.

Onika only had to step over a handful of female rappers who have multiple #1′s, including Missy Elliott, Da Brat and Iggy Azalea.

The song, which features Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, also has furthered her collaborators’ rankings: the song gives Drizzy his 12th leader on the chart, Wayne his ninth and Brown his fifth.

“Only” is lifted from Minaj’s The Pinkprint album, available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Mariah Carey’s Former Assistant Suing for Back Pay

Peter Kramer/NBCRemember when Lady Gaga‘s former personal assistant sued her for back pay, claiming she’d been overworked and treated unfairly?  Well, now the same thing is happening to Mariah Carey.

The New York Post reports that the former staffer, Ylser Oliver, is claiming in a lawsuit that starting in 2007, she worked 16-hour days for Mariah, and never got any overtime, despite doing everything from packing for Mariah, cleaning her house, answering phones, shopping for her, arranging for services and repairs to her house, and “caring for” her family and friends.  Oliver quit this year. 

Oliver’s lawyer tells the Post, “My client put her family’s life on hold while tending to Mariah Carey’s family, and Mariah repaid her by underpaying her. her. My client is a very hardworking woman who treated Mariah and her family like her own, working all hours of the day and night. Even celebrities are required to abide by the law.” 

He added that Oliver is suing for “a significant amount” of money, because she was entitled to time-and-a-half if she worked more than 40 hours a week.

Mariah’s rep told the paper, “I can’t comment on anything that I’m not aware of and we haven’t heard anything about this lawsuit.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Watch Rixton, Train, Jennifer Hudson on “A Home for the Holidays” Tonight

Michael Yarish/Triage Entertainment.Rixton, Train and Jennifer Hudson are among the performers on this year’s edition of the CBS special A Home for the Holidays, airing tonight.

As always, the show will feature uplifting stories about real-life families whose lives have been changed by adoption from foster care, as well as a segment on the more than 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., waiting for a “forever family.”

Also on the bill for the special are legendary R&B group Earth Wind & Fire, Katharine McPhee, country star Ashley Monroe – who duets with Train on their single, “Bruises” — and country duo Dan + Shay.   It airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Katy Perry Breaks Ticket Sales Records on Australian Leg of Prismatic World Tour

Christie GoodwinKaty Perry Prismatic world tour recently wrapped up its Australian leg, and to say it was a success is something of an understatement.

Katy’s show broke a record at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, selling 89,500 tickets over six shows.  That beats the previous record, set by One Direction, of 81,542 tickets sold across seven shows in 2013.  Katy received a special bronze star plaque, as well as a bicycle, to commemorate her achievement. The plaque will be mounted on the arena’s entryway.

Katy got the bicycle because she enjoys biking around the various cities where she tours.  This one is a custom-made road bike that incorporates design elements of her tour, and some of her earlier work.

The show’s promoter told Billboard of Katy, “She’s a star performer. In this market, 350,000 is enormous. She’s a mile ahead of everyone else…We could have added another dozen shows everywhere easily. Without a blink. And probably even more.”

Futher underscoring Katy’s popularity Down Under, her album PRISM has gone five-times platinum in Australia, which in that country means 350,000 copies.

However, Billboard notes that Pink is actually the all-time box office queen in Australia, selling 650,000 tickets in 2009 on her Funhouse tour, and more than 500,000 tickets last year for her Truth About Love Tour.

Katy’s Prismatic tour wraps up for good Saturday in Auckland, New Zealand, and then it’s on to the Super Bowl halftime show in February.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio