Katy Perry’s Birthday Celebration Included a Trip to Paris

Image Courtesy of Christie Goodwin/Capitol RecordsKaty Perry‘s overseas birthday celebration included her oft-rumored boyfriend, Diplo.

After spending time in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, Katy flew with the DJ and others by private jet to Paris on Saturday, when she officially turned 30. An insider tells E! News that the crew dined at a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, adding, “They were inside for about two and a half hours. Katy looked happy but tired as she was yawning.”

Katy and Diplo went their separate ways the next day, with Diplo heading to South Korea for a performance.

Katy’s birthday festivities came amid a new report from the New York Daily News that Diplo, whose birth name is Wesley Pentz, is expecting a child with an ex, Kathryn Lockhart. They currently have a four-year-old son together.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

“The Voice” Recap: Taylor Swift Advises Artists as Knockout Rounds Begin

Image Courtesy of Trae Patton/NBCTaylor Swift‘s whirlwind promotional blitz for her new album, 1989, brought her to The Voice on Monday night. She served as an adviser for all four teams, helping out the artists as they prepared for the latest stage in the competition, the Knockout Rounds.

Taylor played an active role in rehearsals, suggesting to each contestant ways they can improve. Occasionally, she would even demonstrate by singing a few notes of the artist’s song choice, as she did when Team Gwen member Bryana Salaz practiced Demi Lovato‘s “Heart Attack.”

The Voice made sure to sneak in a plug or two for Taylor’s album during the prerecorded two-hour episode.

Monday night marked the start of the Knockout Rounds. As was the case in the Battle Rounds, the coaches — Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani — paired up their artists. However, it was up to the artists to pick a song and perform it solo.

Each coach has only one steal to use during the Knockout Rounds.

Gwen opened the Knockout Rounds by pairing Bryana Salaz with Sugar Joans.  Bryana selected Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack.” Taylor said it was more important for Bryana to convey the emotion of the lyrics, rather than show off her pipes.

Sugar countered with Beyoncé‘s “Love On Top.” Taylor advised her to not growl so much, so that her tone is “crystal clear.”

Adam said both were amazing, and that Gwen had a difficult decision ahead of her. Pharrell told Sugar he was upset with himself for not trying to add her to his team earlier in the season, and would make an attempt to steal her if she became available. Gwen named Bryana the winner, and true to his word, Pharrell scooped up Sugar.

Up next were Team Blake’s Griffin and James David Carter. James put his country spin on James Taylor‘s “You’ve Got a Friend.” Taylor thought James did a good job of capturing the sentiment behind the song.

Griffin told Taylor that he once met her parents at a show of hers a couple of years ago. She encouraged him to engage the audience when it was time for him to sing his choice, “As Long as You Love Me” by Justin Bieber.

Gwen said Griffin’s voice was like knives, but James was believable, so she would choose him. Adam said Griffin delivered a “man version” of “As Long as You Love Me.” Blake declared James the winner. Griffin was eliminated.

The first matchup in the Knockout Rounds for Team Pharrell featured DaNica Shirey and Katriz Trinidad. DaNica picked Whitney Houston‘s “Saving All My Love for You.” Taylor observed that DaNica’s insecurities fuel her talent.

Katriz dedicated Alicia Keys‘ “Superwoman” to her mom. Though she’s only 15, Taylor said Katriz comes across as a polished performer.

The coaches raved over Katriz’s ability at such a young age. Pharrell described DaNica as a “unicorn” who’s transformed into a confident singer. DaNica was named the winner. Perhaps it was surprising that Katriz didn’t earn another chance with a rival team, though Gwen told the cameras that the coaches have to be conservative in using their lone steal.

Team Adam’s Damien and Toia Jones went head-to-head. Damien covered LeAnn Rimes‘ “How Do I Live.” Taylor was so moved by his rehearsal that she told him she wanted to cry.

Toia Jones selected Beyoncé‘s “Crazy in Love.” Taylor advised her to focus on the “crazy” part of the song. Blake favored Toia because her performance was so over-the-top. Pharrell agreed, saying she tore the place down. However, it was Damien who advanced, with Adam saying he’s “beautiful to watch.”

Blake paired Jessie Pitts with Tanner Linford. Jessie tackled Ellie Goulding‘s arrangement of the Elton John hit “Your Song.” Taylor applauded the choice.

Tanner went with Train‘s “Calling All Angels.” Taylor told Tanner he should play up what she called the “cute-boy factor.” He was flattered by that description of his looks.

Adam commented that Tanner, 17, looks different than he sounds. The Maroon 5 frontman then joked that he’s a grown man and yet his voice is high. Blake said he had to go with the artist who has a clearer vision of his or her goals: Jessie. Tanner was sent home.

In the final Knockout of the night, Luke Wade faced Team Pharrell teammate Taylor Phelan. Luke took on “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates. Taylor Swift said his tone was perfect, and that he was the type of artist whose album she would buy.

To clear up any confusion, Taylor Swift suggested that Taylor Phelan call her “Tay.” She also said she tends to have “rapport” with other people named Taylor. The male Taylor sang “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.

Gwen said Luke made the perfect song choice for himself. Blake suggested Luke ad-libbed a bit too much, and he preferred Taylor. Pharrell named Luke the winner, and the other three coaches tried to steal Taylor. Taylor decided to join Adam’s team.

The Knockout Rounds continue Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sam Smith Doesn’t Want to “Jinx” His Possible Grammy Nomination

Douglas Gorenstein/NBCSam Smith has been racking up the awards — and the award nominations — in recent weeks, both in the U.S. and the U.K.  But the soulful British singer says he can’t quite bring himself to think about that one award that trumps them all: the Grammy.

Asked by Vibe magazine if he cares what musical category the Grammys would put him in, should he receive a nomination, Sam laughs, “Not at all!”  He then adds, “I don’t even want to think about it too much because I don’t want to jinx anything, but if that did happen, that would be unbelievable. Being nominated for anything is truly incredible.”

Sam is considered a shoo-in for any number of Grammy categories, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year for In the Lonely Hour.  He tells Vibe magazine, “At my shows I always say I made a pretty depressing record. But my album isn’t sad. It’s me talking about my issues and getting them out in my music so I don’t have to deal with them in my real life. It’s therapy.”

Sam says for In the Lonely Hour, his motto was “the more honest the better,” and it seems like he plans to continue that theme in his future music.  On Monday, he posted on Instagram, “Just written the most honest song I’ve ever written…I can’t wait for you all to hear this.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kanye West Turns Down $4.5 Million Vegas Deal?

Peter Kramer/NBCKanye West commands top dollar for his performances, but even when presented with a multi-million dollar offer, he isn’t afraid to turn it down, according to a report.  

TMZ says the rapper turned down a $4.5 million contract in Vegas, which would have earned him the title of highest paid Sin City performer, surpassing Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. He would have been obligated to perform three shows a week for three weeks at the Axis at Planet Hollywood, earning him $500,000 for each show.

There’s no word in the TMZ report about why Kanye’s turned down the deal. Perhaps, he’s nearing the finish line in recording the follow-up to last year’s Yeezus.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Shakira Launches Web Series Tied to New Baby Toy Line

Kayt Jones/ RCA RecordsAfter announcing that she was partnering with Fisher-Price for a line of baby toys, Shakira has now premiered the first in a 12-part web series tied to the new line of products.

Among the topics that Shakira, who has one son and is now pregnant with her second child, discusses in the series: what it means to her to be a mother, how motherhood has changed her and the importance of talking to your baby.

Shakira’s line of toys can now be ordered at Amazon.com, but they won’t be available until mid-November or early December. The products include a “piano gym,” a bouncer, alphabet blocks, stacking rings, a soft book for teething and a musical soccer ball — appropriate, since Shakira’s baby daddy is soccer star Gerard Pique.

The singer’s compensation for the deal will be donated directly to her charity, the Barefoot Foundation, which benefits early childhood development programs throughout Latin America. 

In a statement, Shakira says, “Working with my foundation over the years on early childhood development, I saw how important developmental milestones are and how toys can help babies reach them — including with my own son. I wanted to design a line of toys that stimulated development in the crucial early stages of life.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Bruno Mars to Play Rock in Rio, Red Hot Chili Peppers Benefit Event

Ray Mickshaw/FOXBruno Mars is the latest performer to be confirmed for the first Rock in Rio U.S.A. music festival, taking place this May in Las Vegas.  Bruno will join No Doubt, Taylor Swift and John Legend at the event, which will take place over two weekends: May 8-9 and May 15-16.  Bruno will perform on May 16, the same day as John Legend. 

Bruno is a familiar face in Las Vegas, thanks to the mini-residency he did at that city’s Cosmopolitan hotel.

Before that, though, you can see Bruno perform live if you can get yourself to L.A. this weekend.  Remember earlier this year, when he shared the Super Bowl halftime stage with one of his favorite bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers?   Well, the members of that band are hosting a fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California this Saturday, November 1, and Bruno will be performing live.

The benefit, hosted by Chili Peppers’ bass player Flea and lead singer Anthony Kiedis [keediss], raises money for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, an L.A.-based music school.  It has about 700 students, 200 of whom attend for free.  For tickets, call 323-665-3363.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Says New Album, “1989,” Is “The Best Thing I’ve Done”

ABC/Ida Mae AstuteTaylor Swift’s new album, 1989, is now in stores. She’s described it as her first official pop album, and says making it was the next logical step in her artistic journey from her country-pop roots.

“I think that this felt like the most sonically cohesive thing to do. This felt like the most authentic thing for me to follow because I’ve been playing around with pop sensibilities with my writing for the last couple of years,” Taylor said on Monday’s Good Morning America.

“I could have made Red twice,” she continued, referring to her last album. “I could have done the same thing over again but, instead, I decided to go in a completely different direction, and I’m so happy that I did because the fans are truly going to get a new album.”

So far, 1989 has garnered rave reviews, which makes Taylor very happy.

“I feel so without a doubt [that] this is the best thing I’ve done — so to have people able to finally have it now and to have the fans understand what I’ve been working on for two years, it’s just the most amazing feeling,” Taylor said.

Taylor paid particular attention to her fans even before 1989 was released, inviting groups of them into her homes across the country for secret listening sessions.  Amazingly, those fans didn’t say a word about the experience.

“These fans heard the album a month ahead of time and they didn’t leak anything. They didn’t tell any secrets,” said Taylor. “It was so amazing and it was such a bonding experience.”

Taylor will be back on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday for a performance.  She’s on The Voice Monday and Tuesday, The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night, and The View on Thursday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sinead O’Connor Attacks Miley Cyrus for Dressing Like a “Stripper”

RCA Records/EMI MusicSinead O’Connor got into a feud with Miley Cyrus last year, and it looks like the ’80s star is starting up again with Miley.

On her website, Sinead has posted a photo of Miley onstage with a bunch of money stuffed in her mouth, and written an essay that starts with these words: “Urgent! Does Anyone Know the Whereabouts of this Girl’s Parents?”

Sinead then adds, “…Because they appear to be missing in action.”  She goes on to write, “In short, no human being on earth would be photographing, filming or watching my child-like looking daughter dressed as a stripper with a load of cash stuck in her mouth.  Hello? Is anyone seriously calling this female empowerment? It is the exact opposite.”

She continues, “Along with making a mockery of feminism, the music industry is consciously engaging in the sexualizing of minors via the sexualizing of artists who look like minors and whose audience are minors.”

Sinead then goes on to say that if you don’t believe her, we should remember that “no one believed priests were sexualizing minors either,” and adds, “I have a history of being right about these things.  Whether or not these artists feel its their ‘choice’ to be sold on the basis of their sexuality is beside the point. Their under-age audiences have been given no choice as to whether or not they want to be sexualized before their natural time.”

So far, Miley has yet to respond to Sinead’s posting.

Last year, after Miley said that her “Wrecking Ball” video was inspired by Sinead’s classic clip for “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead wrote Miley an open letter, warning her against being taken advantage of.  ”You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal,” Sinead chided. 

Miley then responded by intimating via Twitter that Sinead was crazy, and comparing her to Amanda Bynes, whose bizarre behavior in 2013 was actually due to mental illness.  This led to additional open letters from Sinead demanding that Miley apologize for making fun of the mentally ill.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lorde, Lena Dunham & Selena Gomez Gush over Taylor Swift’s New Album, Join the TS “Cozy Cult”

Francis Specker/CBS; Jon LeMay/ABCTaylor Swift isn’t the only one encouraging her fans to go out and buy her new album 1989 — her famous friends are also beating the drum for her.

First up: Lorde.  “OMG 1989 IS OUT WHAT A DAY,” she tweeted. “So proud of my sista. my favourite [song] is ‘Style’ (and also ‘Blank Space’) (and also all of them).”  Lorde also posted a photo of herself and Taylor on the beach together, and added, “i first heard style driving down the pacific coast highway and it was EVERYTHING i chair-danced so hard you have no idea.”

Another of Taylor’s BFFs, Lena Dunham, tweeted, “Hope you enjoy October 27th or, as it shall now be called, national Taylor Swift day.”  She then added, “My favorite songs on #1989 are ‘This Love,’ ‘Blank Space,’ ‘Out of the Woods’ and also every single song.” 

On Instagram, Dunham posted a photo of herself kissing Taylor’s cheek on the beach, and added, “IT’S HAPPENING people- @taylorswift‘s album is out now. She is a true friend/true artist and the only person who makes me wanna exult in nature. Very proud. This record will blow you away.”

Noting the similarity of their postings, Lena then tweeted to Lorde, “we both just posted beach pics and the same list of favorite songs like members of a cozy cozy cozy-a** cult.”

Meanwhile, Selena Gomez also got into the Instagram act, posting a collage of photos of herself and Taylor.  She captioned it, “From hotel room album listening parties, kitchen dance floor album listening parties to driving on the pch, windows down album listening parties. The best part is we were the only ones there. Each time.”

Selena’s caption continued, “So happy, honored and proud to know you and your diaries. @taylorswift #1989 BUY IT!!! now I’ll listen live from drowning in my bed sheets.”

A delighted Taylor responded, “This post made my day. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have friends like this.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

One Direction, Fergie & Lorde to Perform on American Music Awards

Dick Clark ProductionsThe lineup for this year’s American Music Awards continues to grow.  Both Fergie and Lorde will take the stage at the telecast, and so will One Direction.

Fergie’s performance will mark the worldwide TV debut of her new single, “L.A. LOVE (la la),” from her forthcoming album, while Lorde’s performance will be an AMA first.  One Direction will perform a song from their forthcoming disc Four.

As previously reported, Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, Charli XCX and 5 Seconds of Summer are also on the bill for the American Music Awards, which airs November 23 on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT.  Pitbull will host and perform.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio