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Can we please stop being shocked by Chris Brown now?

This week, social media lightning rod and occasional recording artist Chris Brown found himself at the center of another controversy. This time around, it was speculation that his new neck tattoo was some sort of sociopathic nod to Rihanna because the image depicted a woman’s face that may or may not resemble the infamous police photo of his onetime girlfriend’s bruised and battered face that was leaked following his 2009 assault on her.

Brown’s rep was quick to step in and deny the connection, releasing a statement that said, “His tattoo is a sugar skull and a MAC cosmetics design he saw. It is not Rihanna or an abused woman as erroneously reported.” Brown himself wrote on Twitter, “I am an artist and this is art.” (Though not, as far as we can tell, the kind of art that at all resembles the Mexican Day of the Dead skulls his rep speaks of.)

Yes, we’re writing about him here once again. But people of the Internet, I implore you: Can we please stop being shocked every time Brown does something insensitive? READ FULL STORY

Chris Brown shows off new neck tattoo, denies it's Rihanna's face

Image credit: Jeff R. Bottari/Getty Images

UPDATE: Chris Brown’s new tattoo is not an image of Rihanna or an abused woman, his publicist told EW. It’s a MAC cosmetics design of a skull associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Tattoo artist Peter Koskela said Brown brought him the design, below, to convert into a tattoo.

Brown recently revealed this fresh ink and many speculated that it was of his ex-girlfriend Rihanna.

Brown was convicted of assaulting Rihanna three years ago and the image on his neck resembles injuries the songstress suffered during the altercation, including a black eye and bruised lip. Following the arrest, Brown has been working with various domestic violence intervention and prevention organizations.

The two stars have since reconciled and have allegedly dated on and off since the incident: The pair shared a kiss during last Thursday’s MTV Video Music Awards and Rihanna told Oprah Winfrey during a televised interview last month, “I do miss miss him sometimes.”

READ FULL STORY

Rihanna Instagram'd a NSFW-ish picture of her new tattoo: See it here

You already knew that Rihanna lit it up at last night’s Paralympics closing ceremony, but did you see what she did before that? If you follow her on Instagram, you most likely did.

RiRi used the photo-sharing app to publicly upload a topless picture of her latest tattoo, and accompanied the image with a message:

Goddess Isis- Complete Woman – Model for future generations- #GRANGRANDOLLY – always in and on my heart #1love

Interesting! Almost as interesting as the picture itself (above), which features the aforementioned Isis — the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, magic, and fertility, not to be confused with Archer‘s International Secret Intelligence Service  – drawn snugly under the singer’s bosom. As her message suggests, she got the tattoo in honor of her late grandmother.

READ FULL STORY

Rihanna, Coldplay, and Jay-Z come together for Paralympics closing ceremony -- VIDEO

Millions tuned in to the Paralympics Closing Ceremony in London last night, and today, three performers from the hours-long finale still have people buzzing.

Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Coldplay all took the stage during the event and filled the stadium with colorful pageantry, stadium-pleasing songs, and tons of pats on each other’s backs. The three artists are all friends as well as collaborators, of course, so there was a lot of plenty of shared love: Chris Martin’s crew backed RiRi for “We Found Love,” Hova helped infuse Coldplay’s “Paradise” with swag, and the whole cadre came together for Jay’s “Run This Town.”

If you missed it last night, you can check out the cooperative performances for yourself with the videos below:

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The 2012 MTV VMAs: Seven questions going into the show

About 20 years ago, everybody made the same joke: “How can MTV have a Video Music Awards when they don’t air videos anymore?” (And in our comments section, people still make that same joke every year.)

But think about it, has the show ever been about the actual Moonmen as much as it is about the zeitgeisty memes, outsized personalities, and general pageantry of the broadcast?

Think about last year’s show: While everybody remembers the Beyoncé baby-bump reveal, Lady Gaga’s drag show, and Adele’s tear-jerking triumph, does anybody recall what clip won Video of the Year? (It was Katy Perry’s “Firework.”) This year’s show, which beams live from Los Angeles’ massive Staples Center Thursday night at 8 PM Eastern, prides itself on first-run moments, including new tracks from Green Day and Alicia Keys and the first live performances of new singles by Taylor Swift and Pink.

But since there’s not a whole lot of investment in the winner of Best Male Video (unless you literally have invested something with your local bookie), here are the seven questions you should keep on your mind if you tune in. (And even if you don’t, you’re still invited to hang out with the Music Mix tomorrow evening, as we’ll have a live blog, photo galleries, and a full breakdown of the show’s best performances and biggest moments.)

How will host Kevin Hart do?
The VMAs have had some pretty big names host the show before, though there have really only been a handful of memorable ones (see: Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and pre-Fox News Dennis Miller). In the last few years, the role of host has been either ignored completely (neither the 2011 or 2007 shows had hosts) or given to people ill-suited for the job (Russell Brand, Chelsea Handler, and Jack Black all sort of punted it). READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry scores ninth number one on Top 40, ties Rihanna for record

Trying to prove which pop star is the best in 2012 usually brings out the worst in the Internet. For proof, see every YouTube comment thread ever.

But if you’re judging by sheer quantity of radio number ones, the case is closed — and Katy Perry and Rihanna come out on top.

Perry earned her ninth number one single on the Billboard Top 40 chart this week with “Wide Awake,” the final chapter from the unfettered pop onslaught that is Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection.

Perry’s sophomore album already made some chart history back when “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart last summer, making Perry is the only other artist besides Michael Jackson to have churned out five number ones from a single album.

“Wide Awake” puts Perry in the same company as Miss Where-Have-You-Been Rihanna, who also ties the record with nine number ones. That means both now beat out Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and P!nk, who have each had seven number ones on the Top 40 chart, and Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, who have both logged six. Who would have thought that the slightly awkward teenager who once starred in a Destiny’s Child tribute performance would go on to earn more number ones than Bey herself?

Also noteworthy: Perry did this in only two albums, while Rihanna reached her mark over the course of six. Make of that what you will, ravenous Internet fan club enthusiasts, but it looks like there’s no exact formula for being a pop juggernaut these days. Case in point: Rihanna received five MTV Video Music Award nominations Tuesday, with Perry following close behind with four. Both are up for the top prize, Video of the Year, for “We Found Love” and for “Wide Awake.”

In other chart dominance news, “Wide Awake” is also Perry’s 10th number one on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart. A few years ago, claiming success there would have been the big-fish-small-pond equivalent of claiming you were the greatest Candyland player in all of Iceland.

But now that electronic beats, dubsteb breakdowns, and a general appreciation for bleeps and boops are the norm in popular music, this other Perry accomplishment is probably nothing to sneeze at.

Below, enjoy that Destiny’s tribute clip Rihanna from back before the then-teenager was a pop powerhouse: READ FULL STORY

Rihanna, Drake lead 2012 VMA nominations with five each, Lady Gaga snubbed

It’s the year of Rihanna and Drake at the MTV VMA awards.

The two-time collaborators (and on-and-off exes) lead all nominees with five a piece, including Video of the Year.  And for added drama, they’ll both be competing against Chris Brown in separate categories; Rihanna goes head-to-head with Brown for Best Choreography and Drake faces Brown for Best Male Video wearing one of his famous Drake shirts. (Rihanna is also featured guest in Drake’s heavily nominated “Take Care” as well as Coldplay’s “Princess of China,” which has two nominations.)

Runner-up Katy Perry earned four nods, while The Throne’s Jay-Z and Kanye, Beyoncé, Coldplay, M.I.A. and Frank Ocean all walked away with three.

Left off the list entirely? Last year’s pseudo-host Lady Gaga — even though both her “Marry the Night” and “Yoü and I” videos were eligible.

This year’s ceremony will take place on Sept. 6 at the Staples Center in L.A. See the full list of 2012 VMA nominees after the jump:

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iHeartRadio fest lineup announced: Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Bon Jovi, and more

Want to see a wide array of FM hitmakers in one place? Then Clear Channel has your back.

The broadcasting giant has announced the lineup to its annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, scheduled to take play Sept. 21-22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

The artists on the lineup come from a broad array of genres, and most of them are heavy-hitters: Taylor Swift, Aerosmith, Rihanna, Usher, Bon Jovi, Lil Wayne, Green Day, Miranda Lambert, Mary J. Blige, and Shakira are all on the ticket so far.

Other scheduled performers include: Brad Paisley, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, No Doubt, Linkin Park, Jason Aldean, P!nk, deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, and Calvin Harris.

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Police suspected of selling bruised Rihanna photo won't face charges

Two Los Angeles police officers won’t face criminal charges alleging they leaked a photo of pop star Rihanna’s bruised and beaten face after she was assaulted by singer Chris Brown, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said. An internal report by prosecutors says that after a three-year investigation, they didn’t have enough evidence to show celebrity news website TMZ paid the accused officers for the photo, and that became an obstacle in charging them.

The Associated Press report obtained a copy of the March 28 report on Thursday after its contents were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Officers Blanca Lopez and Rebecca Reyes may still get fired. They are slated to appear before disciplinary panels in August. READ FULL STORY

British pop star and U.K. 'X Factor' judge Cheryl Cole won't try to crack the U.S. market, she says

U.K. singer and near-miss-U.S. X Factor judge Cheryl Cole revealed Tuesday in an interview with London’s Daily Star that she has no plans to break into the U.S. pop music scene, crushing the dreams of her Stateside “soldiers” (you can’t be a pop star in 2012 without naming your fan base).

Cole is a star to millions outside the U.S. who know her as a member of Girls Aloud, a U.K. girl group formed through the reality show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. Here, she’s mostly known for being unceremoniously booted from the American version of The X Factor and replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger only weeks before the show’s debut. Little reason was given for cutting Cole, who was a judge on the original U.K. edition of the show and had already taped initial audition rounds in the U.S. — other than the fact that Cowell said she looked “uncomfortable” on the panel.

Since then, Cole has been working on her her third studio album, A Million Lights, due June 18 in her home country. This week, she also announced a string of fall tour dates to support the album, but not a single one finds Cole crossing the pond to promote the album here.

It’s a shame, really. If Rihanna can find success with “We Found Love,” Cole’s new single certainly has it what it takes. “Call My Name,” also produced by Calvin Harris, is loaded with hypnotic synths and a humming, subwoofer-rattling bass line. More importantly, its video features a kick-ass dance routine that involves the kind of booty shaking, crotch grabbing, and hard-to-follow footwork that Stateside pop stars’ hits are habitually made of: READ FULL STORY

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