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Taylor Swift performs 'Begin Again' at the CMA Awards -- VIDEO

Taylor Swift may have gone pop on her new album Red, but she’s still welcome in Nashville, judging by the huge applause she earned at the end of her CMA Awards performance of her new country single, “Begin Again.”

Swift’s performance mirrored the song’s new music video, which is set inside a Parisian café. An accordion player set the French mood as couples sipped lattes at tables behind him. Then Swift entered wearing… a red dress. (I’d poke fun at her insistence on constantly wearing clothes that name check her new album, but who am I to knock it? She clearly knows what she’s doing.) READ FULL STORY

Who should win at the CMA Awards? -- POLLS

Tonight is country music’s biggest night. The 46th annual Country Music Association Awards will air at 8:00 p.m. on ABC, and it’s already shaping up to be a great show.

Why? Well, because the CMA Awards are always a great show. In an overcrowded field of country awards (ACAs, I still haven’t warmed up to you), the CMA Awards remain the most prestigious — and most entertaining — of the bunch.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who have become quite the formidable comic duo, are returning for a fifth year as hosts (check out their interview about the show here), and performances from stars like Kelly Clarkson and The Band Perry, both of whom will perform new singles, as well as Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean will keep the night rocking.

But at the center of the awards are still, believe it or not, the actual awards! We’ve already given you our thoughts on all the nominations (as well as all the snubs and surprises), but now let’s handicap who might win in the major categories. READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift sells record-breaking 1.2 million copies of 'Red' in first week

We thought it might happen. It looked like it might happen. And then it happened.

Taylor Swift’s latest album Red sold over 1 million copies in its first week — a whopping 1.21 million copies to be exact, according to the music industry maestros at Hits Daily Double — making her the first woman in chart history to ever have two albums sell over 1 million copies in their first weeks. (Speak Now sold 1.05 million units in its first week in 2010.) The only other artists to have ever achieved that feat are The Backstreet Boys (with Millenium and Black and Blue), ‘N Sync (with No Strings Attached and Celebrity) and Eminem (with The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show). READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift joins LL Cool J for Grammy nominations special

Taylor Swift will co-host the Grammy nominations television special.

Grammy officials say the pop star will join LL Cool J as hosts of the Dec. 5 special, airing live on CBS from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. This is the first year the nominations special has been broadcast from Music City.

Grammy officials also announced Monday that rising country star Luke Bryan has been added to the telecast as a performer, joining Maroon 5 as the only acts announced so far. More performers will be revealed at a future date.

Swift has won six Grammys. She released her latest album, “Red,” last week.

The 55th annual Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.

Taylor Swift announces 'Red' tour dates

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Taylor Swift will launch a stadium and arena tour in March 2013 to support her new album, Red. Fifty-eight dates, covering 45 cities in 29 states and three provinces, are now listed on her website, and the first tickets will go on sale Nov. 16. Swift has asked that each show include tickets for under $50. She’ll play nine stadiums including Detroit’s Ford Field, Dallas’s Cowboys Stadium, Toronto’s Rogers Centre, Winnipeg’s Investors’ Group Field, Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, Foxborough, Mass.’s Gillette Stadium, and Chicago’s Soldier Field. See the dates below. READ FULL STORY

Album Sales: Jason Aldean's 'Night Train' chugs to No. 1; Taylor Swift outsells it in one day

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In any other week, the first-week sales of Jason Aldean’s new album Night Train would be a very big deal.

The disc, a follow up to his double-platinum smash My Kinda Party, sold 409,000 copies in its first seven days — a huge number by any measure, and the second-best debut sales week of 2012 behind Mumford & Sons’ Babel, which moved 600,000 copies in its opening frame.

Unfortunately for Aldean, news of his chart-topping feat arrives less than a day after projections for Taylor Swift’s Red blew up the internet. Swift, who sold over 500,000 copies of Red in its first day, is expected to sell over 1 million copies in her first week, which would make her the first woman in history to have two albums sell more than 1 million copies in their first weeks. Yowza.

But let’s get back to Aldean’s accomplishment. Night Train is the rocking country star’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. He formerly peaked at No. 2 in 2010 with My Kinda Party, but was kept out of the top spot, funnily enough, by Taylor Swift, whose Speak Now was reigning atop the chart.

Considering My Kinda Party became an enduring hit, ultimately moving 2.8 million copies, I’m expecting Night Train to be a freight train with buyers. After all, Aldean is selling out arenas across the country, and he (along with everyone else releasing albums in the final quarter of 2012) will get a big boost from the holiday buying rush. READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift's 'Begin Again' video: The French connection!

Taylor Swift is on her way to having a pretty great week. Sales of her just-released new album Red are expected to top one million, making her the only woman in the history of SoundScan to unleash two million-plus opening weeks in a row. (Of course, it helps that Red has been almost universally acclaimed by critics and is available just about everywhere, including inside your pizza delivery guy’s oven bag.)

But don’t forget that at the center of all of her success lies a whole lot of heartbreak, and her brand new video for “Begin Again” is another classic bittersweet Swift joint.

Though her boyfriend doesn’t laugh at her jokes and bores her with stories about his family’s Christmas movie-watching traditions, she finds the ultimate salve: Wandering through the streets of Paris, chuckling with handsome dudes in a café (and probably snacking on snails or something). Check it out below.  READ FULL STORY

What's the best song on Taylor Swift's 'Red'?

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The great thing about the release week of a new Taylor Swift CD is that everyone — that includes mega-fans, “which famous ex-boyfriend is this one about?” decoders, and outright haters — wants to talk about it. That’s just how it works when you’re one of the biggest stars on the planet.

This fact is especially true for Red, Swift’s latest album, which dropped yesterday. The disc finds the pop-country vixen pushing her musical boundaries further than ever before, and it’s causing a ruckus in the industry. “Country radio has been a little taken aback by it because it is so obviously pop,” Scott Borchetta, the President of Big Machine Records, Swift’s label, tells EW. “[But] we haven’t’ been hiding behind what she’s been doing.” he says. “She wrote this record with Max Martin, and Shelback, and it’s a big pop record with some country leaning.”

“We’d be in the studio,” Borchetta remembers, “and I’d say, ‘This record wants to do more than what you’re doing to it, and she’d say, ‘What do you mean?’ and I’d say, ‘If it’s country, run toward it, if it’s pop, run toward it, if it’s rock, run toward it. You have artistic license to do your music. I want to encourage you to go to the edges.'”

And go to the edges she did. Red finds Swift flirting with U2-esque arena rock on “State of Grace,” dubstep on “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Katy Perry party-pop on “22,” handclap-happy piano celebration on “Stay Stay Stay,” and crooning alongside Brit Ed Sheeran on “Everything Has Changed.”

It’s a lot to digest on a first listen, but now that you’ve had a whole day to process Red, let’s talk about the songs that work and the ones that don’t: READ FULL STORY

How Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift are causing a seismic shift in the music industry

The biggest debut of 2012 doesn’t belong to a glossy pop act like One Direction or Justin Bieber.

Sure, those boys have hordes of teenage girls ready to download their music at the drop of a tweet, but they’ve got nothing on the scruffy gents of Mumford & Sons, whose new disc, Babel sold 600,000 copies in its first seven days. (The next-best opening? Bieber’s Believe, with 374,000 in week 1.)

Babel‘s success (it has now led the chart for three weeks and sold 865,000 copies total) is indicative of a larger shift within the music industry. As pop music morphs into a glow-stick dance party, country acts have adopted the traditional pop sound. That leaves Mumford and the burgeoning Americana and folk genres (think acoustic guitars, banjos, and innumerable fitted tweed vests) to fill the country void. Did you get all that? Allow us to break it down. READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift channels U2 on new track 'State of Grace': Hear it here

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If Taylor Swift has made one thing clear in the lead-up to her fourth album Red, it’s that her genre is nigh impossible to pin down.

First came the outright pop of her first no. 1 Hot 100 hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Then came the plaintive, slow country sound of “Begin Again.” After that, we got more pop and sonic vocals with “Red.” And last week brought the dubstep-laden “I Knew You Were Trouble.” So obviously the next logical step was… Brit rock? READ FULL STORY

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