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Album sales: Nicki Minaj scores big debut, Madonna posts record drop

The chart road divided this week for two of the three participants in this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. On the one side, Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded easily grabbed the top spot on the latest Billboard album chart, moving 253,000 copies in an extremely respectable opening week. It’s her first debut at number one, though her 2010 debut Pink Friday did find the upper plateau several months after its release thanks to the late surge of “Super Bass” in early 2011.

The success of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is easy to see, as Minaj went on a media blitz that included a free surprise concert in Times Square and the continued success of the single “Starships” (which currently sits at number five on the Billboard Hot 100).

That’s all good news for Minaj, whose album has been met with mixed critical reactions but seems to be capitalizing on its everything to everyone approach. The outlooks is less rosy for Madonna, whose latest album MDNA posted the single biggest second week sales decrease for a number one debut since SoundScan started tracking official sales in 1991. READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj has Chris Brown 'Right By My Side' on new song: Hear it here

What a bad day to forget our Beats by Dre headphones at home.

When we saw that a new song from Nicki Minaj’s around-the-corner new album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded had leaked, we knew we’d have to turn up the volume and annoy our office neighbors. Sorry, Shelf Life!

And that was before we realized that Chris Brown was on the track, which is rumored to be the album’s next single. But hey, it turns out that the song is pretty good — a smooth, slickly produced stretch of radio-ready R&B.

Nicki kicks things off by singing, not rapping, and Breezy’s Auto-Tune croon nicely wraps around the song’s easy hook. Minaj does rap, though; her characteristically raunchy flow drops at almost three minutes in.

Long story short, we hope our colleagues didn’t mind listening to us listening to the song on repeat for the next 20 minutes.

The rest of Roman Reloaded isn’t out until April 3, but until then, spend some time with the song in the video below:

READ FULL STORY

What will be this spring's biggest song? Take our poll

A quick glance at the last few weeks of Billboard‘s Hot 100 makes it clear that a handful of songs are ready to break Kelly Clarkson and Adele’s stronghold on the upper tier of the pop charts.

This week, following a cover on the Regionals episode of Glee, British boy band The Wanted‘s “Glad You Came” shot up from number 23 all the way to number 5 on the Hot 100 (not to brag, but we diiid say, “‘Glad You Came’ feels like a potential radio/club titan poised to become a hit” back in early February), and it’s likely that the boy-band jam will continue its ascent in the weeks to come.

But “Glad You Came” isnt the only new track making waves — a number of other buzzworthy songs are climbing up the chart as well. Take a look at a few especially notable performances from the past two weeks: READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj explains Grammy performance was part of a 'movie'

Four days have elapsed since Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, but the conversation about Nicki Minaj is still going.

Her colorful, Catholic-baiting performance of “Roman Holiday” remains the solitary lightbulb around which many media moths are fluttering, asking variations on the question, “Uh, what was that?”

“I don’t know what is the big issue,” Minaj told reporters on the red carpet of an event for Viva Glam MAC cosmetics. “You know how people write plays and movies? That’s what I did. I wrote that and I gave the world a tiny little preview of what was to come. And so I have to perform it on the set in which it would be in the movie, right?”

Minaj seems to think that the big problem people had with her performance was that it was on a set, though nobody voiced those same complaints about Katy Perry’s generally well-received run through “Part of Me” or Taylor Swift’s theatrical take on “Mean.” The issue was not the fact that it was over-the-top (because, quite frankly, there’s no shortage of that), but the fact that it was confusing and somewhat poorly executed.

But let’s give Minaj the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is a small portion of a much larger project. Does that mean that her upcoming album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is a concept album about exorcism?

Is this an actual movie in the sense that we’ll actually be able to watch it on DVD (in between Lifetime Originals, of course)? Or is it more of a movie in the conceptual sense, the way that stoners will tell you, “My life is a movie, man. But who’s the director? Is it this God? Or is it this hamster over here? What’d you do with the Corn Nuts?”

Minaj has certainly succeeded at keeping her name in the news, which has further fueled speculation (and, no lie, excitement) over her upcoming album, which was originally slated to hit stores this week. Will she be able to keep this up until the actual release date of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded on April 3? Based on her wig collection, it’s safe to say “yes.”

What did you think of Minaj’s performance? Has it gotten better or worse since Sunday? Get Roman in the comments.

Read more on EW.com:
Nicki Minaj releases new song ‘Starships': Hear it here
Grammys 2012: An on-the-scene report from inside the Staples Center
Nicki Minaj levitates, lights fires, speaks in tongues for Grammys performance of new single ‘Roman Holiday’

Nicki Minaj releases new song 'Starships': Hear it here

In case you forgot, today was the original intended release date for Nicki Minaj’s second proper album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. (Those of you wishing to get your Valentine some new music will have to settle for the new Band of Skulls record.) That full-length will now be out in April, but Minaj wouldn’t let the pinkest of days go by without some fresh tunes.

In addition to premiering the song “Roman Holiday” on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards (more on that super-polarizing six minutes in a bit), Minaj also unveiled a new tune called “Starships,” which happens to be produced by Lady Gaga hitmaker RedOne — a deeply disturbing trend, considering she also tapped former Gaga choreographer Lauriann Gibson to design her Grammy show.

It’s super clubby and contains almost no rapping, which continues Minaj’s push into the complete opposite direction she should be heading.

Give the song a listen below. READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj levitates, lights fires, speaks in tongues for Grammys performance of new single 'Roman Holiday'

When the performance slate for the Grammy Awards came out, it was a little bit surprising that Lady Gaga was not included on the list. Who would pick up the over-the-top theatrical slack with Mother Monster sitting on the sidelines?

Nicki Minaj was happy to fill in. In the evening’s most complicated and elaborate performance, she began on stage with “The Pope” (really just a weird old man from central casting who walked the red carpet with her), and began “confessing” the lyrics to her new single “Roman Holiday.”

Things only got weirder, as the show cut to a pre-taped segment that featured the same holy-man character showing up at a house for an exorcism. Who needed a demon purged? Minaj herself, who haphazardly put on lipstick and sang the lyrics to “I Feel Pretty” to herself as she climbed up the wall.

Eventually, the action cut back to the Staples Center stage, featuring lots of stained glass and a small army of monks. Minaj was strapped to a Frankenstein-esque lab table, eventually set free to rap through the remainder of the song.

In short, it was a mess, featuring a whole lot of religious imagery, a smattering of pyro, and no real messages to be found. The one great moment was when Minaj levitated in what might have been an homage to The Craft.

It was certainly the night’s most bombastic stage production, but it’s unclear exactly how we’re supposed to feel about Nicki Minaj (or her alter ego Roman Zolanski) once it ended.

What did you think of Nicki Minaj? Use your wackiest fake British accent in the comments.

Read More on EW.com:
Grammys 2012: The Winners
Adele performs ‘Rolling in the Deep’ at Grammys
Grammys 2012: Complete Coverage

Who's afraid of M.I.A.'s middle finger? Thoughts on a Super Bowl 'scandal'

Hey, remember Nicki Minaj’s performance with Madonna at the Super Bowl last night? It was pretty good — great, even.

Of course, no one wants to talk about that, thanks to M.I.A. So congrats, Maya! And since she wants us to, let’s talk about it.

M.I.A.’s decision to flip the bird during her short time in the Super Bowl spotlight was a lot of things. It was juvenile, and maybe even bratty. It was a lazy bit of shock imagery from the woman who gave the Grammys a very pregnant, very awesome, middle-finger-free performance back in 2009. And it was, according to some sources, “a case of adrenaline.”

It was also the game’s biggest fumble: The singer was riding a steady stream of positive buzz from both her performance in the “Gimme All Your Luvin'” video and her own “Bad Girls” video, which was released the same day and is, at least to this viewer, a better, more inventive clip.

M.I.A. has already proven to us that she can put on an engrossing show without resorting to cheap tricks.

READ FULL STORY

Madonna debuts 'Give Me All Your Luvin',' featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.: Watch it here

madonna-video

Unbate your breath, Madge fans: it’s here.

After sprinkling around a string of promotional hints and teasers, Madonna is now allowing us to witness her sports-crazed video for “Give Me All Your Luvin'” in all its glory.

Surrounded by cartoonish, Dick Tracy-esque imagery and an (unbranded) football team, Madge runs around in various costumes while Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. — dressed as cheerleaders — goad her on.

The trio, as the video suggests, are psyched about their Super Bowl halftime duties this Sunday. Not even an anonymous gangster with a tommy gun can stop them now!

And as a bonus, one of the three outré personalities in the video attempts to nurse a plastic baby doll through her leopard-print brassiere. Which lady is it? Watch the video below to find out:

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BET bans Nicki Minaj's 'Stupid Hoe' video

nicki-minaj

Roman Zolanski’s really done it this time.

Like Ciara and the Game before her, Nicki Minaj is seeing her latest music video — the vibrant, Hype Williams-directed “Stupid Hoe” — banned from BET.

Though the network hasn’t officially cited specific reasons behind the move, a rep confirmed to TMZ that the clip would not be airing on the channel due to its general explicit nature. Sorry, delicate BET viewers!

The single, taken from the raptrix’s forthcoming Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (out April 3), prominently features the line “you a stupid hoe,” and the bonkers video is haunted by a floating, disembodied bare booty.

If you absolutely demand to see Minaj on television, however, she will be performing this weekend at what’s in theory one of the most family-friendly venues in America, the Super Bowl. Hopefully for NBC’s sake, all booties will be draped and attached to their rightful owners.

More on EW.com:
M.I.A. gears up for Super Bowl with a new(ish) single, ‘Bad Girls’
Madonna’s Super Bowl performance will feature LMFAO, says will.i.am
Nicki Minaj bumps second album, premieres ‘Stupid Hoe’ video: Watch it here!

Madonna talks Super Bowl with Leno, releases 'MDNA' cover art

Madonna-MDNA

Move over, Patriots and Giants — Madonna’s making sure she’s the star of this Super Bowl week.

After revealing that a preview video for her new single “Gimme All Your Luvin,” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., will premiere on American Idol Thursday, the halftime headliner visited Jay Leno to shore up more buzz for her big show.

“It’s the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done,” she told Leno. “The Super Bowl is like the Holy of Holies of America. I have to go on in the middle of that Holy of Holies and put on the greatest show that was ever put on before.”

As for what the Greatest Show That Was Ever Put On will include? “Well, for sure no nipples,” she assured. “I mean, I don’t like to repeat myself.”

She’s of course referring to her infamous performance at the 1984 MTV VMAs, during which, in her words, “the dress went up, and the underpants were showing.”

But while it looks like we won’t be getting any wardrobe malfunctions this year, we do have an idea what we will be getting from Madge, thanks to her previously leaked Super Sunday set list:

READ FULL STORY

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