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Which live debut was the best of the VMAs? Take our poll!

While many awards show ceremonies focus on displaying nominated songs from the past year, this year’s MTV VMAs took another route: letting its top artists showcase their newest material.

Standout 2011-2012 singles like Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and fun.’s “We Are Young” fell by the wayside in favor of cuts most people have yet to hear from albums that won’t be hitting the streets for a few weeks, if not months.

There was Alicia Keys performing her new smoking-chorus ballad “Girl on Fire,” which will be on her November-slated album of the same name. Before that, Pink vividly brought to life “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”, taken from Sept. 18′s The Truth About Love.

Resilient punk trio Green Day gave fans a live whiff of the spiky “Let Yourself Go,” the third single from Sept. 24′s trilogy-starting album Uno! And, to close the show, Taylor Swift trotted (and hopped, and twirled) out her wildly catchy, chart-topping “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” READ FULL STORY

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

CMA Awards: Eric Church leads noms (and Snoop Dogg's in the house!)

Nominations for the 46th Annual CMA Awards (airing live on Nov. 1 on ABC) were announced this morning on Good Morning America. Eric Church led the way with five nods, including Male Vocalist and Album of the Year, along with Song, Single, and Video of the Year for his hit “Springsteen.” (Not a country music fan? Give that one listen and get back to us.)

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert scored four noms a piece while Taylor Swift, who earned three noms, was the lone female to make the Entertainer of the Year category. Kelly Clarkson’s nom for Female Vocalist of the Year is slightly less of a surprise than Snoop Dogg popping up in Musical Event of the Year (listen to Willie Nelson’s “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” featuring Snoop, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson). The full nominees list: READ FULL STORY

On the Charts: Carly Rae has a 'Good Time', Train chugs along, Adele finally drops out of Top 10

Carly-Rae-Jepsen

Last week, Maroon 5 made waves when they pushed not one but two of their singles into the Top 10 of the Hot 100. This week, current pop princess Carly Rae Jepsen did the same thing.

Not only is Jepsen’s unstoppable hit “Call Me Maybe” still refusing to hang up — though it did drop from No. 4 to No. 6 — her Owl City collaboration “Good Time” also jumped from No. 13 to No. 9 in its ninth week on the chart.

According to Billboard, “Good Time” had a pretty great week; the song was the top Streaming Gainer and rose into the Top 10 of the On-Demand chart. It also increased by 10 percent at radio and by 13 percent on the Digital Songs chart, as the beachy hit sold an additional 144,000 downloads, which lifted its sales total right past the 1 million mark.

We’ll find out if “Good Time” gives Jepsen (who is the first female artist since Ke$ha to take her first two singles to the Top 10) that elusive second No. 1 in the weeks to come, but for now, let’s check the week’s other chart winners and losers: READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' new music video -- watch it here

Go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, spread the news, people: Taylor Swift’s music video for her new hit single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” is live.

The video — which starts off with Swift clad in squirrel-print pajamas – follows the lyrics video for the same song that came out August 14, and premiered simultaneously on MTV and CMT Thursday night during a mini-special called “MTV First: Taylor Swift.” The show also included an interview with the 22-year-old musician. West coasters eager to see TSwift on the tube, can still see the video and interview when it airs at 7:49 p.m. PT.

In the interview, which continued via live stream on MTV.com, the country pop princess announced that she will perform “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 6.

“What the fans have done with this song and made it into in two weeks is so great, so I’m so excited to perform it at the VMAs,” Swift said during the MTV interview.

To watch the song accompanied by plenty of black-framed glasses, a party in a house with sweater-like walls and Swift’s band members in forest-animal costumes, check out the music video below:

READ FULL STORY

On the Charts: Maroon 5 takes over, Taylor Swift hits No. 1, Kelly Clarkson stuck on the 'Dark Side'

Maroon 5 have officially accomplished the rare feat of having not one but two singles in the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 this week.

Although their smash “Payphone” is on its way down after peaking at No. 2 (this week it dropped from No. 5 to No. 7), their followup “One More Night” has wasted no time ascending the upper tiers of the chart. This week “Night” jumps 15-9, following major gains at radio and 170,000 additional downloads.

The two hit singles are driving album sales for the band’s fourth album Overexposed, which grew 59 percent to 36,000 copies this week — a $3.99 sale on Amazon also boosted sales substantially — and moved from No. 11 to No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The disc has moved 450,000 copies after eight weeks on the chart.

We’ll find out if “One More Night” can climb one spot higher than “Payphone” in the weeks to come, but for now, let’s check out the week’s other chart winners and losers below:

READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift hits No. 1, sets sales record with 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'

Taylor-Swift

It may be hard to believe, but as we guessed might happen, Taylor Swift just earned her first ever No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.

Her new breakup anthem “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sold 623,000 downloads in its first week — the largest frame ever by a female artist. The song was purchased more times than Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” which scored 610,000 downloads during January 2010′s lucrative post-holiday iTunes gift-card frenzy, and it notched way higher sales than Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which, with 448,000 downloads in its first week, held the record for best single-week debut sales frame by a female.

Only one song was ever purchased more times in seven days than “Never”: Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” which sold 636,000 units in its first week. Coincidentally, Swift’s new single pushes Flo Rida’s current smash “Whistle” out of the top spot and down to No. 2.

Swift, who has always enjoyed both pop and country radio relevance (Billboard notes that her No. 13 launch on the Country Songs chart is the highest debut by a woman in the 22 years that Soundscan has collected data), formerly reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 with “You Belong with Me” and “Today was a Fairytale.” Speak Now‘s lead single “Mine” reached No. 3, while the ubiquitous Cinderella tale “Love Story” peaked at No. 4.

Check back tomorrow for our weekly round up of who’s winning and losing on the music charts.

More on EW.com:
Taylor Swift getting the ‘Vh1 Storytellers’ treatment
On the Charts: Taylor Swift’s big sales, Flo Rida’s ‘Whistle’ blows up, The Lumineers say ‘Hey’
Taylor Swift releases single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Pink, Alicia Keys, and Taylor Swift next up for 'VH1 Storytellers' treatment -- EXCLUSIVE

VH1 Storytellers is hitting up Grammy-winning ladies for its coming season: Pink, Alicia Keys, and Taylor Swift are the next batch of artists to be featured on VH1′s long-running music-interview franchise, EW has learned exclusively.

“I have always loved Storytellers and, as a songwriter, how much fun it is to be able to tell your stories,” Pink told EW exclusively about being included in the line-up. Of her stories, Pink adds with a wink: “Everyone has heard mine before!”

The newest season of Storytellers launches Nov. 11, with VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift airing at 11 p.m. The episode roll-out is fast and furious after that, with VH1 Storytellers: Alicia Keys and VH1 Storytellers: Pink airing at 11 p.m on over the next two days, on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, respectively. The episodes will also air on the Storytellers website.

As an additional bit of news on this front, Taylor Swift — always looking to connect with her fans in new ways — this morning announced a concert to dovetail with her Storytellers taping. She’ll tape her episode at a winning high school or college in the continental U.S. Through Sept. 23, students can vote for their school at a special website, which also includes more details about the contest. The schools with the top five votes will each receive a $10,000 grant for their music department from Swift and student hub Chegg’s philanthropic program, Chegg for Good.

The episodes, as always, will feature the artists performing and sharing stories in front of an intimate audience about their lives, lyrics, and careers. Over the years, artists as varies as Elton John, Coldplay, Mary J. Blige, and Christina Aguilera have been on Storytellers.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Jason Mraz gets emotional on ‘VH1 Storytellers’: Watch the sneak peek here — EXCLUSIVE
The Dixie Chicks release ‘Storytellers’ DVD to please loyal fans: See an exclusive clip here
Kings of Leon on VH1′s ‘Storytellers’: Watch them perform ‘Knocked Up’ here in a sneak preview — EXCLUSIVE

On the Charts: Taylor Swift's big sales, Flo Rida's 'Whistle' blows up, The Lumineers say 'Hey'

Taylor Swift’s new single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” may just sell the most downloads ever! ever! ever! in its first week.

Released on Monday night, the song is reportedly heading to first-week downloads in the 600,000 range, which would make the breakup anthem the fastest selling song ever by a female artist. (Lady Gaga currently holds that record with “Born This Way,” which was downloaded 448,000 times in its first frame.)

There’s one song Taylor probably will probably not outsell, though: “Right Round” by Flo Rida feat. Ke$ha, which sold 636,000 songs in a single week in 2009. Still, if she climbs past Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” which moved 521,000 editions in its first week, she’ll have the second-best sales week in digital history. Not too shabby.

We’ll see how high “Never,” which hit No. 72 on this week’s Hot 100, soars next week, but for now, let’s check out the week’s other chart winners and losers: READ FULL STORY

Taylor Swift's new single 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' gets a lyric video

As you might have heard today if you’ve visited the internet, Taylor Swift released her new single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” last night, and almost instantly, the Max Martin-produced breakup anthem hit the number one spot on iTunes.

Reports say Swift’s track broke the record for fastest rise to the top spot on the iTunes chart, beating Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” by reaching the summit in just 50 minutes.

Now, the official lyric video (to answer our own question from a year ago: Yes, these are a thing now) for “Never Ever” has debuted online, and it’s sure to give the single even more immediate exposure.

The stop-motion animated clip features handwritten notes, record players, typewriters, and a “Little Lion Man”-esque puppet show-sized stage — in other words, it was shot on the same stage as Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel — and it’s embedded for your viewing pleasure below: READ FULL STORY

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