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Frank Ocean’s VMA Debut: Music Industry Toasts His Performance

frank ocean vma video music awards
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Expectations were high for Frank Ocean‘s debut performance at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Thursday night (Sep. 6). And the breakout R&B star exceeded those expectations with an intimate and beautifully art-directed performance of his Channel Orange lead-off track, “Thinkin’ Bout You”. Behind tall grass and before a starry, moonlit backdrop, Ocean pivoted into his falsetto for the song’s heartsick lyrics as a guitarist offered the simplest accompaniment in shadow. The performance brought the VMA audience to their feet, and critics and fans shortly followed, flooding social networks with kudos.

Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times anointed Ocean’s stripped-bare campfire confessional a “stunner”, saying: “as the closeups were all on Ocean, and as he shifted from graceful singing to wavering falsetto, it was never less than riveting.”

Jump below to see how the music industry celebrated Frank Ocean’s stunning MTV Video Music Awards performance, including a raving review from Rita Ora. More »

2012 MTV Video Music Awards: One Direction Walk The Carpet To Victory

One Direction posed for photographers on the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet Thursday (Sep. 6). The British fivesome took the Staples Center stage three times — to accept the awards for Best New Artist and Best Pop Video for “What Makes You Beautiful“, and to perform “One Thing”. While not in matching outfits, Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis coordinated their performance looks with slim-leg jeans and sneakers in blue and gray tones, but busted out sleek black slacks and the occasional blazer for the crimson trail inside. Click the gallery above for more photos of 1D at the 2012 MTV VMAs.

Lana Del Rey Pouts For ‘Vogue Australia’

Sometime-singer Lana Del Rey is back in front of the camera, this time pouting and posing for Vogue Australia‘s October issue. Ahead of the release of Paradise, the deluxe edition of her January debut Born To Die, Lana modeled a floral Gucci gown, cozy sweaters and an ethereal flower-specked updo for photographer Nicole Bentley. She tells the mag:

I never expressed myself through fashion. I loved flowers in my hair, I loved guys who wore leather, but I didn’t get creative… From the age of about seven I had really specific tastes that never changed. I loved wearing white, old fur and gold. It’s funny because now people in fashion kind of came to my rescue when other people said they didn’t like the record but that was unexpected for me because I was never really that.

Head below for a behind-the-scenes video of Lana Del Rey’s Vogue Australia shoot. More »

Alicia Keys Previews “Girl On Fire” In MTV Video Music Awards Promo: Watch

alicia keys vmas promo
Ssshh, Alicia! We're Trying To Hear The Song
Alicia Keys is set to take the stage at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, and 30 seconds of her upcoming single “Girl On Fire” serve as the bed music for its promotional spot. The clip begins with a Alicia playing a melody at the piano. Soon the track plugs in and in voiceover, Alicia says: “My hands are on the keys. Tonight you will feel the power of my voice. Watch me reveal what’s within. I’ll show you everything. This is the moment.” Then, the singer launches into what is presumably the song’s chorus, “This girl is on fire / She’s walking on fire”, the final note branching into harmony. In just that brief snippet, we heard shades of Bruno Mars‘ Grammy-nominated “Grenade”.

“Girl On Fire” is scheduled to premiere Sept. 4. It’s also the titular track to her fifth album, due November 27. Will you be tuning in to MTV to watch her give the song its TV debut?

Lady Gaga Captured In Intimate Tour Photos By Terry Richardson

Lady Gaga is never far from a camera — even on her days off. The Born This Way Ball ringmaster posed — with and without her clothes — for photog buddy Terry Richardson while off duty during her tour’s stop in Sweden this week. In one photo, the very topless singer bends over coquettishly, keeping just enough of herself covered with her arms. In another, the sudden brunette stares out from her oversize sunglasses in the back of a car. Flip through a selection of Terry’s latest round of Gaga portraits above, and then head to his website, TerrysDiary, for even more.

See Aaliyah’s Posthumous Album Cover

Drake wasn’t kidding: A new Aaliyah album is due in 2013, according to her label. Barry Hankseron, CEO of Blackground Records and Aaliyah’s uncle, tweeted new details on Wednesday (Aug. 29), including the album’s cover art. The blue-gray image features a female figure surfacing from under water, with Aaliyah gazing out from a monogram of two As. More »

Nas Says “Bye Baby” To Kelis In New Video

nas bye baby video
Sad Nas Is Sad
Nas tours the scenes of his 2009 divorce from singer Kelis — a major plot point on Life Is Good — in the video for “Bye Baby.” The Def Jam rapper sits on a leather banquette, Kelis’ green wedding dress draped over his knee, in the pose used for the album’s cover art, and he raps over a sample of Guy‘s 1988 slow jam “Goodbye Love“: “Why did we mess it up / We was friends, we had it all / Reason you don’t trust men, that was your daddy fault.” Lawyer up and watch above.

Miguel Shares Colorless ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ Cover Art: Morning Mix

Did You Hear?

:: Hyperactive R&B singer Miguel has unveiled the cover art to Kaleidoscope Dream: The Air Preview (Sept. 11), the second of two preview EPs leading up to his sophomore release on October 2. [That Grape Juice]

:: Speaking of busy R&B singers…rumors abound that Frank Ocean will be performing on the September 15 Saturday Night Live season premiere, just nine days after he makes his VMA debut. [HITS Daily Double]

:: The three members of Pussy Riot who were sentenced to two years in Russian prison are appealing their sentences, and a decision will be made within 10 days. [Billboard]

:: In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, of all places, Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion said that hip-hop is ready to accept a gay rapper in light of Frank Ocean’s coming out. “People are learning how to live and get along more, and accept people for who they are and not bash them or hurt them because they’re different,” he said. [MTV RapFix]

:: Coldplay and Rihanna reportedly will perform at the Paralympics Closing Ceremonies on September 9, where they’ll play their respective hits and link up for their duet “Princess Of China.” We’re wondering if they’ll take a page out of the Spice Girls playbook by being really far away from each other during the entire performance. [Pop Justice]

After the jump, find out which music acts you can find on the tube today. More »

Usher Happily Drowns In His “Dive” Music Video

Usher Dive Video
Splish Splash Usher's Taking A Bath!
Usher has finally caught enough of a break from his baby-mama drama to drop a music video for his latest falsetto seducer, “Dive”. Co-starring Chanel Iman as Usher’s lady in the water, the soaking wet clip sees the R&B crooner aboard a steadily flooding ship, making sweet love — Titanic-style.

Director Chris Applebaum drenches the latest Looking 4 Myself visual in warm sepia tones, as Usher breaths innuendo-laden Rico Love-written lyrics, such as: “It’s raining inside your bed / No parts are dry / Love makes you so wet, your legs, your thighs.” Grab your rubber sheets and watch above.

Avril Lavigne’s Engagement Ring Cost How Much?!: Morning Mix

:: Soon-to-be first lady of Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, showed the world her engagement ring on the cover of Hello! Canada‘s September 10 issue. But that rock of love didn’t come cheap. Jewelry experts estimate that the 14-carat sparkler put her fiancé, Chad Kroeger, back $350,000. [Us Weekly]

:: Nelly Furtado‘s agent is indestructible! The “Big Hoops” singer has been tapped to perform in a fall episode of 90210. She joins Carly Rae Jepsen, Haley Reinhart and Kellie Pickler as musicians who have appeared on the show. [E! News]

:: TJ Jackson, nephew of Michael Jackson, has been named the new co-guardian of the late King Of Pop’s three kids. He shares the guardianship with MJ’s 82-year-old mother Katherine. [Billboard]

:: After LL Cool J gave him beat down of his life, 56-year-old transient Jonathan A. Kirby faces up to 38 years to life in prison for breaking into the rapper’s Sherman Oaks, Calif. mansion. [TMZ]

:: Harry, Niall, Louis, Liam and Zayn — aka the boys of One Direction — will host their very own special about their debut MTV Video Music Awards performance. Called “One Direction: My First Time”, the special will air on MTV on Aug. 30 at 11 p.m. — and no, they won’t be discussing their virginity. [MTV Buzzworthy]

After the jump, find out which music acts you can find on the tube today. More »

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