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30 Seconds to Mars cover U2 for 'MTV Unplugged': Watch the EXCLUSIVE VIDEO here!

There are a handful of necessary elements that go into any great edition of MTV Unplugged.

There should be acoustic instruments, of course, but there should also be an almost uncomfortable level of intimacy between the artist and the audience (who always seem to be sitting extremely close to the action). And for it to become truly memorable, there should be at least one cover song thrown into the mix (or, if you’re Nirvana, covers should make up half of your set list).

For their Unplugged debut, 30 Seconds to Mars delivered all of the above, including a pretty stellar run through U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” (for which they also invited a gospel choir). You can check out Jared Leto and friends’ exclusive performance of that U2 classic after the jump. READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj wants to act with Will Smith, get directed by Tim Burton

As noted yesterday, Nicki Minaj walks away with Kanye West’s just-released “Monster” video just like she does the song; in playing two different versions of herself, she manages to hit on a dozen or so different aspects of her personality.

If you ask Minaj herself, nobody should be surprised that her acting chops are top-notch: “I went to school to be an actress. I never expected to be a rapper. It just fell in my lap,” she told Entertainment Weekly at Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards. “So I would like to get an acting gig. I hope that when I am done with the tour I can go back and do some acting. That is my long-term goal.”


Lady Gaga's first album was Green Day's 'Dookie' -- what was yours?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that Lady Gaga has a new album, out today.

Born This Way finally arrived in stores physical and digital this morning—and is practically free on—and tonight, you can get inside Gaga’s elaborately-coiffed head via the special Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside, a documentary special airing on MTV this Thursday at 9 p.m.

The hour-long show goes inside Gaga’s home life, her experiences growing up, and her early brushes with fame. In the exclusive preview clip below, Gaga reveals her early musical inspirations—including the first album she ever bought with her own money. Follow the jump to find her video confession, and to tell us about your own first-album experience:


Kanye West, 30 Seconds to Mars among new nominees for MTV OMAs -- EXCLUSIVE


MTV already has the VMAs and its own movie awards, and now they’re going for the trifecta with the OMAs.

The O Music Awards (the “O” stands for … whatever you’d like it to stand for) celebrate the best in the digital music world and contain some delightfully off-kilter categories like Best NSFW Video and Favorite F— Yeah Tumblr.

Most of the nominations were announced last week (Lady Gaga and Odd Future frontman Tyler, the Creator lead all artists with three nominations each), but in the spirit of democracy, MTV left the door open for a handful of fan-voted nominations in several categories.

Kanye West has guaranteed himself an OMA, as his greatness on Twitter has necessitated the invention of an entirely new category honoring Best Tweet. Each of the five nominations belongs to West, including “I have decided to become the best rapper of all time! I put it on my things to do in this lifetime list!” and “Dating models I had to learn to like small dogs and cigarettes.”

West also picked up fan-voted nominations for Best Fan Forum (for and for Best Animated GIF (for “Kanye Smile, Then Angry”).

Other benefactors of the fan nomination process include Trey Songz (Favorite F— Yeah Tumblr and Fan Army FTW), 30 Seconds to Mars (Best NSFW Video for “Hurricane”) and Adam Lambert (Must Follow Artist on Twitter). The awards will be handed out online on April 28.

Follow the jump for the complete list of nominees, with the new fan-approved additions in italics.


Lykke Li performing 'Possibility' for the first time ever, on' Unplugged': Watch it here -- EXCLUSIVE


Fresh off her excellent second album Wounded Rhymes, Swedish songstress Lykke Li will be the guest of honor this Thursday on Unplugged.

Amongst her seven-song set will be Wounded tracks “Sadness Is a Blessing,” “I Know Places,” and “Jerome,” along with Youth Novel’s  “Dance Dance Dance,” and a cover of Big Pink’s “Velvet”—and a song she’s never performed live before, “Possibility,” from the New Moon soundtrack.

The show premiers in full on April 7 at 9 p.m. ET, but you can see “Possiblity” here exclusively first: READ FULL STORY

The mtvU Woodie Awards: On the scene with Wiz Khalifa, scene stealers Odd Future, Matt & Kim and more

An awards show befitting the brief attention spans of its young viewers, the eighth annual mtvU Woodies packed a half-dozen prizes and performances apiece into one frantic, tightly choreographed hour in its first year at Austin’s South By Southwest music festival.

The show, which largely honors college rock and rising hip hop artists, gave its top wood block of the night to Wiz Khalifa, presented to him by the previous year’s winners and spontaneous street nudists Matt & Kim.

And while the “Black and Yellow” rapper received many of the loudest cheers of the night, both for his performance (of that hit and “Roll Up”) and award acceptance, the hour belonged to meteoric hip-hop crew Odd Future, whose pranks and general berserk-itude — their gonzo performance of “Yonkers” and “Sandwitches” included but was not limited to roaming midgets, high-arc crowd-diving, plushie costumes, and a hauled-away-by-bouncers stage exit — owned the evening.


MTV Woodie Awards announce performers Wiz Khalifa, Sleigh Bells, and more -- EXCLUSIVE

Wiz-KhalifaImage Credit: Aaron Richter; Sean BerryWith no performers announced until now and just over two weeks to go before the 2011 mtvU Woodie Awards go live from Austin, Texas, on March 16 (the show will air live at 12am ET/tape delayed PT on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU), EW can exclusively reveal the roster of up-and-coming artists set to take the stage.

“Black and Yellow” rapper Wiz Khalifa, Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells, L.A. hip-hop collective Odd Future and sprightly Irish rockers Two Door Cinema Club are slated to be the live entertainment as Matt & Kim, Lupe Fiasco and others hand out “Woodie” awards based on student votes from campuses across the country.

This the first year the mtvU Woodies will be aired live on MTV (as in MTV alpha) in addition to the dorm-only network mtvU and MTV2. Additionally, this is the first time the college-crowd centric music show is part of the eminent South by Southwest Music Festival.

Clearly ready to live up to SXSW’s reputation as the best place to see upcoming artists, the previously-mentioned artists should put on a helluva show.

Wiz Khalifa, a newcomer with a number-one single under his belt (you and 45 million of your closest friends may have heard it) has his many mixtapes to pull from, and Sleigh Bells joyfully create an ear-crushing din of sugar-pop vocals, no-nonsense beats, and thundering guitar riffs.

But when it comes to newcomers to watch, my money is on Odd Future (especially if they opt to exclusively go by “Odd Future” instead of their unwieldy full name “Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All”). Nineteen-year-old group leader Tyler the Creator recently Tweeted pics of himself hanging out with Justin Bieber, although their sometimes graphically violent lyrics will probably rule out any potential official Biebs approval. But purely in terms of music, Odd Future are astounding and they do something unheard of these days: they write their own music and don’t use samples.

Who are you most excited to see, readers? And which nominees have you cast your vote for—Wiz? Kanye? The Black Keys? Girl Talk? Yelawolf? Mumford and Sons? LCD Soundsystem? Tell us in the comments section below.

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

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Captain Beefheart: Five Essential Albums

Captain-Beefheart-colorImage Credit: Richard McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images Rock music lost one of its most legendary stars today with the death of Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet), who passed away at the age of 69 of complications from multiple sclerosis. Below you’ll find a list of what, in our opinion, are the top five Beefheart albums. Whether you’re a Captain lover or virgin, please do check them out on this sad day.


MTV Europe Music Awards results: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber win big at EMAs

lady-gaga-3Image Credit: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage.comLady Gaga triumphed at the 2010 MTV Europe Music Awards, which aired last night from Madrid, Spain. Gaga took home trophies in the categories of Best Pop, Best Female, and Best Song.

Justin Bieber won two EMAs, for Best Male and Best Push Act. Other winners in the viewer-voted awards show included Eminem, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and Global Icon honorees Bon Jovi.

Check out MTV Europe’s official site for the full list, and click through to the jump to see Katy Perry perform “Firework” in Madrid.

Did you watch the EMAs? What did you think of the winners and performances? Sound off in the comments. READ FULL STORY

Justin Bieber: Has he 'Punk'd' us with his entire career?

Bieber-and-KutcherImage Credit: Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; Glenn Harris/PR PhotosThe news that pop megastar Justin Bieber might host a rebooted version of MTV’s hoax show Punk’d did not surprise me one jot. I have long suspected his entire career to be an elaborate practical joke being played on America by Ashton Kutcher. How else, after all, to explain Mr Bieber’s unfeasible success? Or, for that matter, his hair?

Here’s my theory: On the first episode of the new Punk’d, Kutcher will reveal that “Bieber” is really a fictional character who, for the past two years has been “played” by Bruce Willis. The Kutch and Bruce are always talking about how well they get along, and we know the Die Hard star enjoys a good laugh. Hell, just this week he demonstrated his willingness to wear a meat wig in the name of comedy. Sporting a “Justin Bieber” toupee wouldn’t be that much more embarrassing.

Kutcher will then pay a visit to every person in the country and declare “You got Punk’d!” Oh, will we have egg on our faces!

Yep. never mind I’m Still Here. I’m saying Kutcher has pulled off the media stunt of the century. Do you agree?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Kanye West announces album title: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley will perform at CMA awards
John Lennon at 70: A major new reissue campaign for his solo years

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