Justin Timberlake Closes Out 20/20 Experience World Tour with Filmed Vegas Shows, Starting Tonight

PRNewsFoto/Live Nation EntertainmentIt’s 2015, and Justin Timberlake’s epic 20/20 Experience World Tour, which started in November of 2013, is finally coming a close.

JT is wrapping the tour in spectacular fashion, with two big shows in Las Vegas tonight, January 1, and January 2, both of which will be captured on film.

The shows at the MGM Grand Garden arena will be filmed and directed by Jonathan Demme, the filmmaker who brought us The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and Married to the Mob, as well Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed music documentary about ’80s music icons Talking Heads.

Since it launched, the 20/20 Experience World Tour visited the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, and was the second-highest grossing tour of 2014, behind One Direction.  According to Billboard, it took in just under 204 million bucks.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


The Year in Music — Taylor Swift Goes Pop, Parties Like It’s “1989,” Wins 2014

Big Machine RecordsSeems like every year is notable for Taylor Swift but in 2014, nobody could deny that she absolutely dominated the charts, and the pop culture discussion as well.  On June 12, the singer finally wrapped up her RED tour, which played to more than 1.7 million fans and hit 12 different countries all told, raking in $150 million. When fans expressed their sadness at the tour’s conclusion, the singer posted a photo of a piece of paper with this quote by author C.S. Lewis: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  And boy, was she right.

In August, Taylor lined up a Yahoo! live stream, which many assumed she’d use to reveal some information about her new music.  Instead, she blew everyone’s minds with the news that her new album, titled 1989, was completed, would arrive October 27, and would be her “first official pop album.”  There’d be no more straddling the line between pop and country: Taylor and Nashville were officially on a break.  During that same event, Taylor unveiled her new single, “Shake It Off,” and its adorkable video, which soon became one of the most parodied clips — and songs — of the year. 

It was also revealed that, in an impressive example of artist-to-fan outreach, Taylor had played her entire new album for a hand-picked selection of Swifties during a series of secret parties held at her various homes, during which she baked them cookies and allowed them to pose for photos holding her cat and her Grammys. Astonishingly, what happened at Taylor’s, stayed at Taylor’s. There were no leaks.

After that, it was pretty much all-Taylor, all the time, as the singer appeared on seemingly every TV chat show  — even serving as a mentor on The Voice — in the run-up to the album’s release.  “Shake It Off” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, only the 22nd song in history to do so.  She then made history as the album’s second single, “Blank Space,” replaced “Shake It Off” at #1, making Taylor the only woman ever to replace herself at #1 on that chart. 

When 1989 finally arrived, it sold 1.27 million copies in its first week.  That made it, for a time, the only album released in 2014 to sell a million copies, though albums by Sam Smith and Pentatonix soon followed. Taylor’s also now the only artist in history to release three albums — 1989, Red, and Speak Now — that have each sold over a million copies in one week.  1989 finished 2014 as the year’s top-selling album, overtaking the Frozen soundtrack in the last week of the year.

Taylor then proceeded to make headlines by pulling her music from the streaming service Spotify, kicking off a global conversation about the nature of art and commerce.  Explaining her decision, Taylor told Yahoo Music,I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.” 

Taylor finished out the year by being named the Global Welcome Ambassador for her new home, New York City; receiving the inaugural Dick Clark Award of Excellence at the American Music Awards; picking up three Grammy nominations for “Shake It Off”; being named Billboard’s Woman of the Year for the second time; and being named one of Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating People of 2014.  She turned 25 on December 13 with an epic, star-studded party.  On May 20, 2015, she’ll kick off her 1989 world tour, with opening act Vance Joy.

While several songs on 1989 were said to be about Taylor’s ex, Harry Styles, her overall message for 2014 was that she’d rejected romance for the moment in favor of her career, hanging out with her two cats and spending time with her girlfriends, who include Lorde, Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez, Emma Stone, Karlie Kloss, and other young female stars.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Iggy Azalea Prepares to Start Second Album, Vows to “Stay Away from All the Drama” in 2015

Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABCIggy Azalea is ringing in 2015 at a nightclub in Las Vegas, but she took time to jump on Twitter to update her fans on her plans for the New Year, as well as her medical problems.

“Hey guys!!! Hope everyone enjoys their NYE,” she wrote. “I’m back to work on my second album next week… Anxious to get going on it. The excited kind of anxious.”

But on a downbeat note, she added, “Also last month I was diagnosed with TMJ which isn’t the best.”  “TMJ” refers to a pain in the jaw, which is sometimes caused by grinding or clenching your teeth. 

“I’m gonna make more of an effort to take care of myself in 2015, stay away from all the drama & hopefully not have any flair [sic]-ups,” she added.  The rapper famously got into several Twitter battles with other artists this past year.

“I don’t think western medicine all the way acknowledges what a huge toll mental stress takes on our bodies. But I do believe it is a factor. Anyhow I don’t think it will ever prevent me from doing anything I want to but it has made me realize it’s important to look after yourself.”

“So that’s my little update and message! Look after your body and mind in the new year, be safe and enjoy it all!” she finished.

Iggy kicks off her Great Escape tour in April.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

And the Best-Selling Song of 2014 Is….

Cliff Lipson/CBSNow that the year is over, Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy” can officially be crowned the best-selling song of 2014…but it was never really a contest at all.

Billboard reports that “Happy,” which topped the chart for 10 weeks, sold 6.45 million downloads in 2014, according to Nielsen Music.  Pharrell’s on a streak here, because in 2013, he was also a part of that year’s biggest selling song: “Blurred Lines,” which shifted 6.5 million copies.

The second best-selling song of the year doesn’t even come close in terms of numbers: it’s John Legend‘s “All of Me,” with 4.67 million copies sold. Katy Perry‘s “Dark Horse” is #3 with 4.43 million, followed by Meghan Trainor‘s “All About That Bass” at #4 with 4.36 million downloads. Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX are in at #5 with “Fancy,” with 3.97 million downloads.

In at #6 is Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty,” which sold 3.96 million copies, and DJ Snake and Lil Jon‘s “Turn Down for What” came in at #7 with 3.45 million.  Taylor Swift, who dominated the singles chart in the second part of the year, doesn’t show up until #8 with “Shake It Off,” with 3.43 million downloads, followed by Idina Menzel‘s “Let It Go” at #9 with 3.37 million.  Rounding out the top 10: Sam Smith‘s “Stay with Me,” with 3.34 million downloads.

Overall, there were 82 songs that sold at least a million downloads in 2014.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

“Let It Go” Was the U.K.’s Most Popular Karaoke Song of the Year

Walt Disney Pictures“Let It Go” isn’t just an Oscar-winning top 10 hit: the Frozen showstopper was also the most popular karaoke tune for 2014 in the U.K., according to a new report.

The U.K. paper The Independent cites a poll by Lucky Voice Online Karaoke that found that of the 3.5 million songs belted out by the company’s users this year, “Let It Go” was number one, accounting for 15 percent of those songs.  A company exec told the paper, “We’ve never seen a song dominate like this — even the likes of Adele and Katy Perry don’t come close to the popularity of ‘Let It Go.’”

Speaking of Adele and Katy, they both had songs show up on Lucky Voice’s top 10 most popular songs of the year, but the #2 track was Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy.”  Here’s the rundown:

1. “Let It Go” — Idina Menzel (15%)
2. “Happy” — Pharrell Williams (5%)
3. “Roar” — Katy Perry – (4%)
4. “Someone Like You” — Adele (3.3%)
5. “Rather Be” — Clean Bandit (3.1%)
6. “Make You Feel My Love” — Adele (3%)
7. “Summer Nights” — John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John from Grease (2%)
8. “Don’t Stop Believin”‘ — Journey (1.9%)
9. “Livin’ on a Prayer” — Bon Jovi (1.6%)
10. “Jolene” — Dolly Parton (0.4%)

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Ends the Year atop the Album Chart; “1989″ Passes “Frozen” to Become 2014′s Top Seller

Big Machine RecordsAnd the official final #1 album of 2014 is 1989, Taylor Swift‘s first official pop album.  The disc is spending a seventh non-consecutive week on top of the chart, thanks to selling the equivalent — including physical copies, streaming and track downloads — of 430,000 copies in the past week, according to Nielsen Music.

Taylor has now spent a total of 31 weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart, thanks to her four #1 albums. Among female artists, only Whitney Houston has spent more weeks on top, with 46.

According to Billboard, no other album in the past 10 years has sold as strongly as 1989.  It moved more than 200,000 copies in each of its first nine weeks on sale, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2004, when Usher’s mega-smash Confessions managed it.

Meanwhile, 1989 has accomplished an even greater feat: it’s passed the soundtrack from Frozen to become the best-selling album of 2014.  After nine weeks on sale, 1989 has sold 3.66 million copies in the past 12 months, according to Nielsen Music.  The Frozen soundtrack, which was released last year, sold 3.53 million copies in the same time period.  It’s only been in the past week that Taylor’s album has pulled ahead.

1989 and Frozen are the only releases in 2014 to sell three million copies or more.

The #3 best-selling album of the year is Sam Smith‘s In the Lonely Hour, followed by Penatonix‘s That’s Christmas to Me, The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, Beyonce‘s self-titled album, Barbra Streisand‘s Partners, Lorde‘s Pure Heroine, One Direction‘s FOUR, and country star Eric Church‘s The Outsiders.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Year in Music — Beyonce Runs the World

Cliff Lipson/CBSNot one week went by in 2014 without Beyonce‘s name being featured in headlines, which is one of the reasons the entertainer topped TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list this year.

The singer kicked off her 2014 with a steamy performance of “Drunk in Love” at the 2014 Grammy Awards alongside her husband Jay Z.  The song was lifted from her self-titled visual album, which was later re-released and expanded with four remixes and two new songs.

One of the most unexpected highlights of the year came from an incident that the public was never supposed to see — the infamous elevator fight. Beyonce’s sister, Solange, was caught on surveillance video attacking Bey’s husband inside a New York City hotel elevator following a Met Gala after-party on May 5. Ten days later, the trio told the media that all was well with them.  Five months after the much parodied-incident, Bey addressed it directly in her Nicki Minaj-assisted “Flawless” remix. “Of course sometimes sh** go down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator,” Bey sang.

Just days after the elevator incident, the couple moved forward and released a trailer titled “Run,” confirming reports they were set to go on their first joint tour together, dubbed On the Run. The pair filmed a fake movie trailer to promote the tour, starring several A-listers, including Don Cheadle, Sean Penn, Rashida Jones, and Jake Gyllenhaal.  The tour ultimately ranked among the highest-grossing treks of 2014.

Despite its popularity, though, divorce rumors followed the couple from city to city, reaching a boiling point just before they filmed their HBO concert special in Paris. Gossip sites and tabloids were the first to pick up on Beyonce’s notorious lyric change in her love-scorned song, “Resentment,” in which she implied that Jay cheated on her. She ad-libbed, “I know she was attractive, but I was here first/Been ridin’ with you for 12 years, why did I deserve to be treated this way by you?” However, Beyoncé subtly assuring her Instagram followers that everything was just fine by posing happy family photos.  She and her husband reportedly renewed their wedding vows in October.  

Beyonce received some serious recognition in August: Jay Z called his wife “the greatest living entertainer” as he presented her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2014 VMAs, just moments after she performed a 16-minute medley of songs from her self-titled album. Though the diva looked gorgeous in a sequined leotard, her daughter Blue Ivy stole the show when cameras caught the toddler dancing along while sitting of Jay’s lap. 

Beyonce also brought the sexy this year: her sensual songs like “Haunted” and a reworked version of “Crazy in Love” were used to soundtrack Fifty Shades of Grey, the film adaptation of E. L. James’ bestselling erotic novel, which hits theaters Valentine’s Day of 2015. In addition, Bey expanded her brand by announcing a 50-50 partnership with retailer Topshop for a new line of athletic wear called Parkwood Topshop Athletic Ltd. The singer also scored an exhibit inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, which featured her most iconic outfits.

Queen Bey concluded the year by gifting fans with the unexpected music video for “7/11,” in which Bey parties with girlfriends and alcohol inside a hotel room. The video was such a viral sensation that it accumulated more than 10 million views in 48 hours. Three days later, she released Beyoncé: The Platinum Edition, featuring two new tracks, four remixes and 10 live performances. In December, she also released an emotionally-charged retrospective film in honor of the one-year anniversary of her self-titled album. The 11-minute video, entitled “Yours and Mine,” features the singer reflecting on feminism, fame, marriage and pursuing her passions.

2015 will see Beyonce, Pharrell and Sam Smith all competing for dominance at the Grammy Awards: each artist has received six nominations. Beyoncé is now the most Grammy-nominated female in history, with 47 nods in total.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Gavin DeGraw to Perform at Outdoor NHL Game on New Year’s Day in Washington, D.C.

James Minchin III/RCA RecordsGavin DeGraw will play his first gig of 2015 in a unique setting: during a special outdoor NHL hockey game that will air live January 1 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. 

The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will take place at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and will feature the hometown Washington Capitals facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks.  Gavin, a hockey fan, will take to the ballpark’s field during the first intermission to perform a set of his hits. 

The event, which will also feature performances by punk pioneer Billy Idol and country singer Lee Greenwood, will pay tribute to the United States Armed Forces during the pre-game and in-game festivities.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Foreign-Born Acts Thrilled to Join America’s Biggest New Year’s Eve Party, Tonight on ABC

Dick Clark ProductionsIt’s been on for more than 40 years, so pretty much every current musical artist grew up watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC, right?  Well, no, they didn’t, if they’re not American — and a surprising number of artists who are performing on this year’s edition of the show aren’t.  But while they initially may not have been familiar with the show, they sure are now…and they’re pretty happy to be included in the biggest U.S. New Year’s Eve telecast going.

Among the non-American acts who’ll be featured on this year’s show are One Direction, Rixton, Bastille, Charli XCX and Ella Henderson, all of whom are British, and Nico & Vinz, who are Norwegian.  “We didn’t watch it when we were younger, so we had to do our research before we came here,” Nico tells ABC News Radio about being invited to perform on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  “And we saw that it’s really a big thing.  And you can also see it when you look at the artists that are performing, big names, you know, so it’s amazing to be a part of it.”

Vinz, meanwhile, says he was somewhat aware of the show, but only because he checked it out on the Net.  “I watched Macklemore‘s performance in New York [online last year],” he says. “And I was like, ‘Wow, this is a big deal!’ And so when we got the request… it was a really cool thing to be a part of.”

British group Rixton, meanwhile, says they’re happy to be included in a show that’s an American institution.  “We just feel incredibly lucky, you know?” lead singer Jake Roche tells ABC News Radio. “We’re just four mates from Manchester and just being given this opportunity is incredible.  And the lineup itself is mind-blowing, so we’re just so happy to be a part of it.  It’s insane!”

For Rixton, the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve appearance is just another highlight in a year full of them, thanks to the success of their hit “Me and My Broken Heart.”  “Getting the number one in the U.K. in our home country was a big deal, [going] platinum over here, hearing our song on the radio, just seeing the fan base grow, it’s just been incredible,” says Jake, recalling some of his favorite moments of 2014.

Charli XCX topped the charts this year thanks to her featured performance on Iggy Azalea‘s “Fancy,” and then followed that up with her own hits “Boom Clap” and “Break the Rules.”  She says she’s happy to be part of such a big celebration.

“I feel like New Year’s can either go, like, one way or another: it’s always, like, a hyped-up thing,” she tells ABC News Radio. “So I’m glad that I’m going to be doing something that’s going to be super fun.”  As for what we can expect from her set, she says, “I’ve kind of gone back to the ’80s for my performance, it’s kind of like ’80s New Year in my brain, so it’s going to be cool.”

The Grammy-nominated band Bastille will perform their hit “Pompeii” on the show, and lead singer Dan Smith says like the other acts, he had no idea what New Year’s Rockin’ Eve was at first. “We weren’t actually aware of it until this year, but just looking at all the other people who are playing, it’s amazing to be involved so we’re really excited,” he tells ABC News Radio.   “I love New Year’s Eve. Everyone always complains about it being over-hyped and stuff and yet, it is, it’s always over-hyped.  But ultimately if you can get everyone together in the same room, it’s quite hard to mess it up.”

As far as performing on New Year’s Eve, Dan laughs, “[It's good] if you get to finish before midnight, because then you want to start drinking, and we try not to drink before we play…because otherwise it would be bad.”

Ella Henderson is the most newly minted star on this year’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve lineup: she’s huge in her native U.K., but is just making inroads on the U.S. charts with her hit single, “Ghost.”  “It’s so exciting, I’m so glad that I can be a part of it and there’s no better way to see the New Year,” she tells ABC News Radio about appearing on the show.  “I never really do anything, [so] to actually be doing something and performing and having a bit of a party, I love that!”

As for her New Year’s resolution, Ella’s is one that can probably apply to just about everyone. “My New Year’s Resolution [is] probably to just keep enjoying everything that I do and stay positive minded,” she tells ABC News Radio. “And hope that everyone has a happy and healthy year!” 

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest gets underway Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio  

ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” Ready to Ring in 2015 with Non-Stop Music

ABC/Bob D’AmicoIt just wouldn’t be December 31 without turning on ABC to watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, checking out the star-studded lineup of musical acts, and watching Seacrest freeze his tail off as he counts down to the New Year from New York City’s Times Square. This year, Seacrest will be joined live in Times Square by Idina Menzel, MAGIC!, Florida Georgia Line and one Taylor Swift, who Seacrest says, truly symbolizes the spirit of the legendary telecast.

“We are very lucky to have Taylor on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve this year,” he tells ABC News Radio. “She has had a record-breaking year, as we all know, and she deserves it. She’s such a hard worker, she’s so talented, and she’s the perfect person to symbolize what it is this show is all about: celebrating what was big in music and pop culture in the year.”

In fact, in addition to Taylor, viewers will see no less than 38 musical performances tonight, from artists in several different musical genres, and from several different countries, too.  Explaining how they book the show, Ryan says, “We try and look back and take a look at what was popular, what people listened to, who they watched, what they downloaded in the year, and that’s how we come up with the list.”

Just for the record, here’s who’ll you see performing on the show Wednesday night, aside from Taylor, MAGIC!, Florida Georgia Line and Idina.  In the Hollywood Party portion of the show, hosted by Fergie, you’ll see One Direction, Train, Meghan, Trainor, Nico & Vinz, Nick Jonas, Iggy Azalea, Jason Derulo, British bands Rixton and Bastille, British singers Charli XCX and Ella Henderson, a cappella vocal group Pentatonix, country star Brantley Gilbert and Fergie herself. 

“Oh my gosh, it hasn’t happened in years. And I’m just very, very excited,” says Fergie of actually singing on the show, instead of just introducing other acts. She adds, “There’s something special about performing on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, because it’s in everyone else’s living room, and I remember as a little girl watching that show. So…it becomes part of the memory of that year.”

In addition, Gavin DeGraw and Lady Antebellum will perform from Nashville, and Elton John will be seen performing remotely from his show in Brooklyn, New York.  On average, each act will do two songs, with a few exceptions.

As for Ryan, he’ll be holding down the fort in Times Square with help from co-host Jenny McCarthy, counting down to 2015 and trying to stay warm.  Ryan says that his mentor, the late Dick Clark, who started the show more than 40 years ago, used to tell him that he hadn’t really made his bones unless he was shivering in the cold.

“I remember Dick used to always wish very, very cold weather on me outside, so I would earn my stripes,” he laughs. “He would say, ‘Young man, you haven’t frozen yet. I hope it’s really cold, not because I don’t like you, just because you got to earn this gig.’”  Ryan adds that in the years he’s been on the show, “It’s gotten down to be pretty cold: so cold before that you actually cannot tell if your jaw is moving or not. You know that your brain is saying words, but you don’t know if your jaw is actually moving to keep up with those words.”

Asked to reveal the best advice that Clark, who passed away in 2012, ever gave him, Ryan doesn’t hesitate.

“‘Make it look easy,’ he used to tell me,” recalls Ryan. “‘Get out there and do your thing and stay out of the way and try to make it look like anybody could do that gig.’” 

The fun begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio