Diana Ross To Present Taylor Swift With Dick Clark Award for Excellence At AMAs

Taylor Swift Covers 'Lucky''s Dec/Jan Issue
Taylor Swift Covers 'Lucky''s Dec/Jan Issue
She addresses those odd, pesky belly button rumors.

Recently, Taylor Swift became the first woman to unseat herself from the Billboard Hot 100′s top spot. Prior to that, her new album 1989 had the highest first-week sales since Eminem‘s The Eminem Show in 2002. So naturally, as E! reports, the American Music Awards chose to recognize Swift with the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, to be presented by none other than Diana Ross.

Ross – Supremes frontwoman, disco frontrunner and future Voice guest mentor – has been honored a few times herself lately. Aretha Franklin covered the group’s 1966 No. 1 hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” for her concept covers album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. Later, Bette Midler offered a country and western take on another Supremes No. 1 record from the same year, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” for her girl-groups cover album It’s the Girls!  More »

Emeli Sande Talks Band Aid 30: “A Whole New Song Is Required”

Band Aid 30's "Do They Know It's Christmas"
Band Aid 30's "Do They Know It's Christmas"
Watch the video starring Sam Smith, One Direction, Rita Ora and others.

Sir Bob Geldof has stressed that he only has good intentions behind each rewrite of Band Aid‘s charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” The songwriter does this because he has been criticized before for questionable lyrics, like when Bono sings “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” in the original 1984 edition. Some have also said that, while attempting to raise awareness on the ’80s drought or the ebola crisis, Band Aid’s portrayals of Africa reinforce negative stereotypes.

Last night (November 22), Emeli Sande became the latest to address recent criticism surrounding Band Aid 30, featuring One Direction, Sam Smith, Bono and herself. “Yes, I agree the lyric needs changing. In fact I feel a whole new song is required,” she says. She also reveals that she and genre-bending Beninese vocalist Angelique Kidjo wrote and sang suggested edits, Geldof ultimately left them out. See her Twitter statement in full below.  More »

Mark Ronson And Bruno Mars Perform “Uptown Funk” And Debut “Feel Right” On ‘Saturday Night Live’: Watch

Mark Ronson Bruno Mars Uptown Funk SNL Saturday Night Live 2014
Play That Funky Music
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" Video
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" Video
Watch the suave guys in their fun-filled music video.

“Locked Out of Heaven” collaborators Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have teamed up once more for “Uptown Funk,” the lead single off Ronson’s upcoming album Uptown Special (due out on January 27), and they turned out their first television performance of the song on Saturday Night Live this weekend. Although this will be the fourth LP for Grammy-winning producer Ronson, it’s turning out to be his most high profile project as a lead artist, with “Uptown Funk” currently in the Top 10 on iTunes.

The pair later debuted new track “Feel Right” with special guest Mystikal on SNL. Watch Mark and Bruno’s SNL performance of their new single above, then catch “Feel Right” below to see what all the fuss is about. More »

2NE1′s CL Hits The Studio With Diplo, Skrillex And RoccStar

Madonna And Nicki Minaj Hit The Studio With SOPHIE
Madonna And Nicki Minaj Hit The Studio With SOPHIE
The rising electronic producer's making moves, according to Diplo.

CL, dynamic lead vocalist of the must-hear 2NE1, surprised both K-Pop and dubstep fans when she popped up in Skrillex‘s forward-thinking debut album Recess. Then last month, she made headlines as she cemented plans to make her stateside debut next year, and while working with super-manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Psy). Last night (November 21), CL showed fans that she’s pulling out all the stops for her U.S. takeover, by hitting the studio and posing (above) with producers Skrillex, Diplo and RoccStar.

When Diplo isn’t working as chief architect and spokesman for Madonna‘s forthcoming new album, he has been teaming with Skrillex in the joint side project Jack Ü, as heard in Kiesza collaboration “Take U There.” Skrillex himself worked with rising moombahton star Dillon Francis on a song to appear in the latter’s upcoming EP, not to be mistaken for debut album Money Sucks, Friends Rule. Meanwhile, RoccStar’s most recent clients include Usher (“Clueless”), Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown and comeback kid Fergie.

See more snapshots from CL’s studio session below.  More »

Eminem, 50 Cent Star In ‘Shady Classics’ Mixtape: Listen

Eminem Releases Posse Cut "Detroit Vs. Everybody"
Eminem Releases Posse Cut "Detroit Vs. Everybody"
Take a listen to the hometown-repping, 'Shady XV' collaboration track.

Eminem and 50 Cent star in the new, 66-track mixtape Shady Classics. This quick-cutting compilation by DJ Whoo Kid (formerly 50 Cent’s touring DJ, now Shade 45 personality) is of fan favorites from throughout the label’s 15-year history, and these songs are dizzying, vulgar reminders of just how much has changed since Shady Records was formed.

In some songs, Eminem seems to be testing out flows and subject matter – in particular, America’s lazy parenting – that would be fine-tuned for The Eminem Show. At one point, he actually shouts out Tower Records as he boasts of picking up the new Cypress Hill. And in “We All Die One Day,” he picks on rumored ex Mariah Carey while lyrically referencing Ricky Martin‘s “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

Shady Classics arrives just two days before Eminem releases the two-disc Shady XV, which features 12 new tracks (including his Sia-featuring “Guts Over Fear”) and greatest hits like 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” Hear the career-spanning mixtape, as premiered by Hot New Hip Hop, below. More »

Usher Brings Out Chris Brown, Jeremih, Kid Ink At Los Angeles Concert: Watch

Idolator's 50 Best Pop Singles Of 1994
Idolator's 50 Best Pop Singles Of 1994
See new interviews with Ace Of Base, TLC, Lisa Loeb, Real McCoy and Haddaway.

Usher has been revisiting his stacked back catalog during his ongoing tour. When the UR Experience hit Los Angeles last night (November 21), though, he invited next-generation R&B singers to join him on stage.

There was Kid Ink, the producer-rapper who slyly asks for consent in current single “Body Language,” also featuring Usher and Tinashe. There was Jeremih, who co-stars in DJ Khaled‘s R&B posse cut “Hold You Down.” And then there was Chris Brown, who crept up on stage, only to be met with cheers the moment he looked up at the crowd. Not even UR Experience opener August Alsina could resist from capturing the moment on his iPhone.

The older Usher has gotten, the more open he has become to working with new sounds and artists. (Lately, some have argued that he does this to a fault.) So when these younger, more nonchalant and R. Kelly-inspired singers took the stage, he followed their lead until it was time for him to peel his tank top off. (Predictably, this was met with cheers.)

Unfortunately, with Brown’s cameo (Alsina’s “I Luv This Shit” remix, “Loyal,” “New Flame”) that meant less actual singing, with the backing track doing most of the work, and more dancing to win over the crowd. Watch the UR Experience “turn all the way the f— up” – their words, not ours – below. More »

Whatcha Say: Lady Gaga, One Direction And The Year 1994 Got Our Readers Talking

Happy Friday, Idolator readers! Did you have a good week? Same. As always, a whole bunch of pop happenings went down in the past few days — including the release of One Direction‘s highly anticipated fourth studio album, FOUR! (And yes, it’s already on track to having the second highest-selling opening week sales of 2014…just below Taylor Swift, of course.)

Plus, Sia announced her new “Iko Iko” cover for her husband’s Kickstarter project, Pentatonix gave us their “Mary, Did You Know?” visual and we celebrated the 5th anniversary of Lady Gaga‘s Fame Monster EP. (Time flies when you’re cheek to cheek!) And, in case you haven’t seen it yet, we took a time machine back to the grand year in music that was 1994 and counted down the Top 50 best songs, with interviews from acts like Ace Of Base, Haddaway and Lisa Loeb. Check it out!

As always, you guys had plenty to say. Check out some of the week’s best and worst comments after the jump. More »

Beyonce’s “7/11″ Video Is A Homemade Masterpiece Complete With Killer Choreography & Bathroom Twerking: Watch

beyonce
Bow Down To The Queen!
Beyonce Is The Richest Woman In Music
Beyonce Is The Richest Woman In Music
Beyonce was named the top earning woman in music by 'Forbes' magazine. Bow down!

When it comes to breaking the internet, Beyonce is in a league of her own. After changing the way music is promoted and released forever with her pioneering visual album, the 33-year-old just made a mockery of your fave’s big budget videos by dropping a hilarious, do-it-yourself visual for “7/11″. Seriously, this looks like it was filmed on Queen Bey’s iPhone but it’s still hands down the best thing you will see today (November 21) or, quite possibly, ever.

The lead single from the diva’s Beyonce reissue is a divinely ratchet club-banger that left some dazed and confused by its furious production and crazy lyrics. (It’s too next level for basics). You’d expect the video to be an elaborate, choreography-heavy extravaganza, right? Nah. Bey made the video in a hotel room. She busts out some insane dance moves on the balcony — wearing no make-up, panties and baggy sweater — before indulging in some sexy bathroom twerking. She then gets wild with her girls in the hallway. It’s absolutely everything and you need to watch it now. More »

Made In Heights Follow Up “Ghosts” With Another Gorgeous Pop Anthem: Fall In Love With “Panther”

Must Hear: Made In Heights' "Ghosts"
Must Hear: Made In Heights' "Ghosts"
Rising LA duo Made In Heights get it just right on infectious synth-pop anthem "Ghosts".

A couple of months ago, Made In Heights quietly dropped one of the best synth-pop anthems of 2014 with the gorgeous, multi-layered “Ghosts”. The L.A.-based duo switch gears on new single “Panther” — a lilting electro-lullaby that slowly unfolds after multiple listens — but it’s every bit as intoxicating as their last offering. At this rate, the pair’s sophomore set is going to be one of the must-hear albums of early 2015.

What makes “Panther” so special? It has a lot to do with the dreamy soundscape that producer Sabzi creates for Kelsey Bulkin‘s soft, breathy vocals. It’s a warm stream of synths, clicks and strings that lifts the track above your standard electronic fare. My only qualm is the title. Made In Heights make no reference to giant cats in the lyrics, which (let’s be real) would have made the song even better. Listen to the gem after the jump. More »

Cody Simpson Drops An Awesome Cover Of Mr. Probz’s “Waves”: Listen To His Acoustic Remake

Cody Simpson And Justin Bieber's "Home To Mama"
Cody Simpson And Justin Bieber's "Home To Mama"
Cody Simpson teams up with Justin Bieber for mellow acoustic duet "Home To Mama".

Cody Simpson is full of surprises. The Aussie star recently joined forces with Justin Bieber for mellow acoustic-pop anthem “Back To Mama” — the first taste of their upcoming duets LP — and now drops a surprise cover of Mr. Probz‘s breakthrough hit “Waves”. (The Dutchman’s worldwide smash finally broke into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week). And it’s really, really good.

The 17-year-old strips the song right back for his acoustic remake, which is reminiscent of the original version of “Waves” before it got remixed by Robin Schulz. Cody shows off his ever-improving voice and the arrangement is very much on-point. It’s exciting to see the “Pretty Brown Eyes” hitmaker taking his career in a more organic, natural direction. One listen to The Acoustic Sessions is all you need to know that this is the right sound for him. Listen after the jump. More »