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Lady Gaga Says Pop Singers Who Don't Write Their Songs Are Doing "Karaoke for Pretty Girls"


ABC/Ida Mae AstuteLady Gaga has always prided herself on the fact that she writes nearly all her own songs, but she made an exception for her #1 Cheek to Cheek, her duets project with Tony Bennett.  On that album, she's recorded standards written by others, but she says that's OK...only because she's a great singer.

"If you’re not gonna write your own music, you better be able to blow," Gaga tells Yahoo! Style, using the slang term for "singing really well."  "Because if you can’t blow, there’s no reason to do the job." 

She then adds, somewhat controversially, "Then you think about artists that can’t really sing, that have songs written for them, and it’s like, well why are they artists? Why are companies paying money to promote them? Because they’re beautiful and look good on camera and are kinda-sorta singing along? It’s like karaoke for pretty girls."

"When you’re a singer-songwriter it doesn’t really matter if you’re beautiful," she tells the website. "What matters is that you create a relationship with your fans, and they care what you have to say.”

Gaga also reveals that she's already writing songs for the follow-up to her current album, ARTPOP.  Asked to describe it, Gaga says, "I want the fans to be surprised. But I will just tell you that it’s a wonderful, soul-searching experience."

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Ed Sheeran Sets Another Chart Record with His Album "X"


Atlantic RecordsEd Sheeran's Grammy-nominated album X (multiply) has done extremely well in the U.S., but in his native U.K., it's a monster smash.

Britain's Official Charts Company reports that even though the disc has been out for months, it sold more copies just in the past week -- 214,000, to be exact -- than any other album this year in the U.K. has sold in a single week. The sales surge is due to Christmas shopping: looks like a lot of Brits are getting X in their stockings this year. 

X has spent an amazing 11 weeks at #1 on the U.K. charts and has spawned four hit singles, including "Sing" and "Thinking Out Loud."  

In the U.S., X is up for the prestigious Album of the Year Grammy, alongside discs by Pharrell Williams, Beck, Beyonce and Ed's pal Sam Smith.

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Lady Gaga Says Pop Singers Who Don't Write Their Songs Are Doing "Karaoke for Pretty Girls"


Lady Gaga has always prided herself on the fact that she writes nearly all her own songs, but she made an exception for her #1 Cheek to Cheek, her duets project with Tony Bennett.  On that album, she's recorded standards written by others, but she says that's OK...only because she's a great singer.

"If you’re not gonna write your own music, you better be able to blow," Gaga tells Yahoo! Style, using the slang term for "singing really well."  "Because if you can’t blow, there’s no reason to do the job." 

She then adds, somewhat controversially, "Then you think about artists that can’t really sing, that have songs written for them, and it’s like, well why are they artists? Why are companies paying money to promote them? Because they’re beautiful and look good on camera and are kinda-sorta singing along? It’s like karaoke for pretty girls."

"When you’re a singer-songwriter it doesn’t really matter if you’re beautiful," she tells the website. "What matters is that you create a relationship with your fans, and they care what you have to say.”

Gaga also reveals that she's already writing songs for the follow-up to her current album, ARTPOP.  Asked to describe it, Gaga says, "I want the fans to be surprised. But I will just tell you that it’s a wonderful, soul-searching experience."


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Jordin Sparks Is an "Equal-Opportunity" Dater, but Would "Never" Try Online Dating


Image Group LA/ABCNow that Jordin Sparks is single following her painful breakup with Jason Derulo this fall, she says she's not quite ready to start dating again -- but when she does, it won't be via an online site or app.

Speaking to People magazine, Jordin says,  "I'm pretty much dating myself...I'm not ready to deal with all that. I don't have time for distractions or people who are going to waste my time. But I'm in a really good place. Mentally, physically, spiritually -- I'm in the best place I've been in years!"

When she's ready to reconsider romance, Jordin says, "I'm pretty much equal-opportunity: black, white, brown, yellow, I don't care. As long as you've got a good job, it really doesn't matter what you do." She adds, ""As long as you're a good man who respects me, it doesn't take much."

But Jordin says she won't be looking for Mr. Right on Tinder or OKCupid. "Oh my gosh, never in a million years!" she says. "If you see a profile on there, it's not me."

Meanwhile, Jordin's focusing on her new music: her new album, Right Here, Right Now, is coming in early 2015. She says writing songs has been "a very therapeutic process."  For a preview, check out her mixtape, #ByeFelica, which is available now.

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Jordin Sparks Is an "Equal-Opportunity" Dater, but Would "Never" Try Online Dating


Now that Jordin Sparks is single following her painful breakup with Jason Derulo this fall, she says she's not quite ready to start dating again -- but when she does, it won't be via an online site or app.

Speaking to People magazine, Jordin says,  "I'm pretty much dating myself...I'm not ready to deal with all that. I don't have time for distractions or people who are going to waste my time. But I'm in a really good place. Mentally, physically, spiritually -- I'm in the best place I've been in years!"

When she's ready to reconsider romance, Jordin says, "I'm pretty much equal-opportunity: black, white, brown, yellow, I don't care. As long as you've got a good job, it really doesn't matter what you do." She adds, ""As long as you're a good man who respects me, it doesn't take much."

But Jordin says she won't be looking for Mr. Right on Tinder or OKCupid. "Oh my gosh, never in a million years!" she says. "If you see a profile on there, it's not me."

Meanwhile, Jordin's focusing on her new music: her new album, Right Here, Right Now, is coming in early 2015. She says writing songs has been "a very therapeutic process."  For a preview, check out her mixtape, #ByeFelica, which is available now.

 

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Taylor Swift Makes "EW's" List of 2014's Most Memorable Pop Culture Moments


Fred LeeAs 2014 draws to a close, Entertainment Weekly has compiled a list of the year's 25 most memorable pop culture moments and, as you might expect, Taylor Swift has a prominent entry on the list.

Coming in at #15 is "Taylor Swift replaces herself at #1."  That refers to the moment in November, when her song "Shake It Off" was replaced at #1 by her song "Blank Space" on the Billboard Hot 100. She became the first female artist ever to replace herself at #1 on that chart, and it illustrated how completely her album 1989 dominated the pop culture conversation since its announcement in August, and its subsequent release in October.

Other vaguely music-related entries on EW's Top 25 list:  Beyonce's sister Solange Knowles attacking her brother-in-law Jay Z in an elevator, which is #2 on the list, and at #5, John Travolta fumbling Idina Menzel's name at the Oscars, introducing her as "Adele Dazeem" before her performance of "Let It Go."

Some of the other things on EW's list: the release of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Marvel's announcement of its upcoming slate of movies for years in the future; the Purple Wedding on Game of Thrones; the disappointing finale of How I Met Your Mother; and, of course, the Sony hack and cancellation of The Interview.  You can read them all over at EW.com.

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Adele Sends Elton John a Note Apologizing for Missing His Wedding


Eric McCandless/CBSAdele didn't attend Elton John's star-studded wedding to his longtime partner David Furnish over the weekend, but she did send a note of apology for her absence.

In an Instagram photo of the cards and notes that the couple received, you can see one from Adele, which reads, "'Biggest congratulations my loves. Have a wonderful day. I'm sorry we are not there. See you in 2015. Love Adele, Simon and Angelo. x."

Simon is Adele's partner, Simon Konecki, the father of her son.  Adele has never publicly referred to her son by name, so this note serves as the official confirmation that the two-year-old's name is Angelo.

One of several singers who did attend the wedding was Ed Sheeran, whose career is overseen by Elton's management company.  He posted a photo on Instagram that shows him posing wearing Elton's glasses, while Elton pretends to cry.

The perfect end to the perfect day. So many kind thoughts and wishes. #ShareTheLove

A photo posted by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on

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"The Voice 7" Runner-Up Matt McAndrew Says He Doesn't Think He Suffered "Too Much of a Loss"


Tyler Golden/NBCWhen The Voice season seven wrapped up last week, many viewers were surprised when Craig Wayne Boyd, the only member of Team Blake left, was declared the winner, since Team Adam had three contestants in the running: Matt McAndrew, Chris Jamison and Damien. Matt McAndrew was a favorite to win, especially after the original song he performed on the first night of the finale, "Wasted Love," shot to #1 on iTunes.  But Matt says he doesn't feel that he -- or Team Adam -- really "lost" in the grand scheme of things.

"I know he's a really competitive guy, and I guess I am too, and I think we both wanted to win going in," Matt tells ABC News Radio about Adam Levine's defeat at the hands of his arch-rival Blake Shelton.  "But Craig was up there singing his song, and me and Adam and Damien and Chris were all standing together and we just sorta had to laugh, you know...I mean, three people from his team in the finale.  I don't think you can really call that a loss."

"And, for me personally, I can't imagine anybody considering my time on the show too much of a loss," he adds. Indeed, Matt had several standout performances throughout the season, and thanks to his songs' performances on the iTunes chart, and on the Billboard Hot 100, he's encouraged and is eager to continue with his career.

"As much as I love the show, I mean, as much as it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, the show's over and I gotta try to make something of it. So, I feel really good about everything," he tells ABC News Radio.

Asked if he was disappointed to lose to Craig, Matt says he feels that people "voted" for him by sending "Wasted Love" to #1, and he thinks that's much more important.

"You know, we don't see the tally of phone calls and app votes and Facebook and all these other things, which obviously play a big part in this competition as a whole.  So, you know, I'm sure he had more of those votes than I did," Matt says. "I'm happy that he won, and the guy really works hard and I think he enjoyed a great run on the show.  But, for me, if I had to pick between getting the most phone calls or getting the most iTunes, I would have gone with what I did.  So, it's alright."

During his time on the show, Matt says he and the other contestants appreciated the chance to work not just with coaches Adam, Blake, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, but with the guest mentors, such as Taylor Swift.  "She was really cool...she was really helpful for me as far as, like, she gave me some specific staging advice," Matt says of Taylor's help during his performance of "Drops of Jupiter."  "It was really good to get some insight as far as her connection to the lyrics and as how that translates into her performance," he adds.

As for coach Adam, Matt can't say enough good things about him, but says he had one particular strength that really helped him during the course of the competition.

"Song selection.  You know, I think the right song at the right time," Matt says. "And then, beyond that, just being a really cool guy...we had a good connection and we were able to get along really good and felt really comfortable around each other.  So it just made working together more fun."

That being said, did Adam, who happens to have his own record label, promise to sign Matt if he didn't win?  Well, not exactly.

"We talked about it a little bit.  I guess...it didn't happen during the course of the show," Matt says. "I mean, I've talked to him a little bit since and definitely I'm hoping to involve him as much as possible in everything moving forward." 

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Lady Gaga Posts Selfie with Mariah Carey; Mutual Admiration Ensues


ABC/Donna SvennevikWhen Lady Gaga talks about her favorite musical performers, she doesn't often mention Mariah Carey.  But she's evidently a big fan, as can be seen by the selfie she posted of the two of them over the weekend.

Gaga attended Mariah's Christmas concert at New York City's Beacon Theatre, and posted the selfie Instagram, with the caption, "Hey ladies, Merry F***king Christmas. Love, Mariah and Gaga. This lady is so kind, such a star, and sounding legendary tonight at Beacon Theatre."   Mariah posted her own photo of the two posing, and called Gaga "beautiful."

Mariah wraps up her six-show run of holiday concerts at the Beacon Monday night.


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Fergie Can't Wait to Experience This Christmas Through Her Son Axl's Eyes


Image Group LA/ABCLast Christmas, Fergie's son Axl Jack was only four months old, so he wasn't able to appreciate the holiday.  But now that he's 16 months old, Fergie says this Christmas will be a very special one for her, hubby Josh Duhamel and Axl.

"I can't wait for him just to see the trees and all the ornaments and the lights," she tells ABC News Radio, "I'm so excited to experience Christmas through his eyes this year."

Fergie says that growing up, Christmas was a great time, and she wants to recreate that for Axl.

"I had great Christmases. My parents did such a great job," she says. "There were always lights in the house and decorations...my mom would decorate the tree and put on Christmas carols; just a very festive holiday season. We definitely want to keep that tradition."

"And the tradition of giving," Fergie, who does a lot of charity work, adds. "We want to teach Axl from a very young age how to give back."

Of course, one of the benefits of having Fergie as your mom is that you get to hear her sing Christmas carols.  So which ones does she like to serenade Axl with?

"I love 'Silent Night,'" she says. "It's a song that I've always sang to Axl because it was a very soothing song. Even when it wasn't Christmas I was singing that song to him for some reason. And I would sing to him that song when he was in my belly!" 

Fergie, who made a musical comeback in 2014 with a new single, "L.A. Love (La La)," will release her first solo album since 2006 in 2015.  She'll ring in the new year by hosting the Hollywood party portion of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, airing December 31 on ABC.

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Lance Bass Marries Partner Michael Turchin in L.A.


Albert L. Ortega/Getty ImagesLance Bass and his partner of three years, actor Michael Turchin, tied the knot on Saturday at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, E! Online reports.

The couple exchanged vows surrounded by family and friends, including Bass' 'NSYNC bandmates Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and JC Chasez. Justin Timberlake was unable to attend because he's on tour.

Chasez was also given the honor of singing for Lance and Michael's first dance as a married couple. The ceremony was officiated by the couple's close friends, actresses Jamie-Lynn Sigler and JoAnna García Swisher.

Other celebrity guests included actresses Christina Applegate and Gabourey Sidibe, Carmen Electra, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump and Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean.

The couple began dating in 2011 and Bass, 35, popped the question in 2013.

E! will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the event in a TV special, Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding, airing February 5.

People magazine will feature photos of the wedding in the issue hitting newsstands December 30.

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Nicki Minaj Blasts Safaree on Twitter


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via ABCNicki Minaj's breakup with her longtime boyfriend, record producer Safaree "SB" Samuels, took an ugly turn Saturday when the two got involved in a Twitter war.

According to Vibe magazine, Minaj addresses rumors that Samuels is attempting to blackmail her by selling videos, describing her ex as an "ungrateful evil soul," and adding that she protected Safaree and supported his desire to be famous.

All but two of Nicki's tweets have since been deleted. One remaining tweet reads, "I'm sorry. My fans know this isn't me. Hate this. But I'm human. I do so much. Too much. No man would have stayed loyal in this game like me."

In another post, Nicki writes, "Let me be happy now. God."

In tweets of his own, Safaree argues, "and speaking to some1 about pub and splits isnt blackmail. stop looking for pitty.. u handle your buisness why cant i ?"

He adds, "and its not Bout fame its about respect and youve had 0 for me the pass few years.the 0 respect u had for me at home had nothing 2do w/music."

Last Wednesday, while promoting her third album, The Pinkprint, Nicki broke down during an interview while talking about the split.

The two had been dating for 15 years.

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Madonna Explains Release of New "Rebel Heart" Songs


Interscope RecordsMadonna isn’t letting an unauthorized leak of her demo recordings get her down.

As you know, Madonna responded to the leak on Friday by announcing her album, Rebel Heart, would be released on March 10, 2015, and that six of its tracks would become immediately available to purchase.

“Originally I wanted to put everything out together,” she explained to Billboard. “I have an overabundance of songs, and actually, the reason I wanted to call the record Rebel Heart was because I felt like it explored two very distinct sides of my personality. The rebellious, renegade side of me, and the romantic side of me. In my mind, it was almost like I wanted to do a two-record set.”

She added, “But then all the demos leaked and I can't really go down that road anymore, so I put out (the six songs) first and then, I think a few more songs are going to come out during the time of the Grammys.”

Among the first six songs released is the Diplo-produced track “Living for Love.” Madonna hinted to Billboard that she may be performing this song at the Grammy Awards.

The single is already No. 1 in 20 countries. In fact, in virtually every country where the first six songs were released, they held six of the ten slots on the Top 10  iTunes chart.

Madonna said she is still putting the finishing touches on Rebel Heart. “I am done writing,” she said. “I'm almost done recording. Almost done. Got just few more little tweaks to do. But first I had to get those six songs out.”

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Sam Smith, Meghan Trainor Recall Worst Christmas Gifts Ever


Derrick SantiniWith the kind of year that Sam Smith and Meghan Trainor have had, they don't need to rely on anyone to get them Christmas gifts -- they can just buy whatever the heck they want.  But there was a time in the past when, just like regular folks, both stars suffered through lousy Christmas gifts courtesy of clueless relatives.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, Sam says his worst Christmas present ever came from his dad, but that's just because he wasn't exactly clued in to little Sam's interests.  "My dad got me a build-your-own tank when I was 11," he tells Billboard. "I don't think he knew I was gay at that point. I got really upset."

Meghan, meawhile, got her worst Christmas gift from her brother, and ironically, it made her feel bad about her body image -- the very issue that her #1 hit "Alll About that Bass" would go on to tackle.

"My little brother bought me boxers from [my hometown of] Nantucket, that I already had a pair of," she tells Billboard. "But he bought a smaller size, so that I was just insecure and pissed."

Still those gifts pale in comparison to the one that MAGIC! frontman Nasri claims he received.  "My brother's t-shirts," Nasri says, describing his worst-ever gift. "His actual t-shirts."  Why you gotta be so rude?

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Madonna Releases Six Songs from New Album "Rebel Heart," Album Coming in March


Interscope RecordsFollowing the unauthorized leak earlier this week of some of her new but incomplete tracks, Madonna has decided to officially release six songs from her upcoming album, titled Rebel Heart.  The songs are available for pre-order at iTunes and other outlets with the purchase of the album, and individually.  More music is coming February 9, and the entire album will officially arrive during the first week of March.

The songs that are available are "Living For Love," "Devil Pray,"  "Ghosttown," "Unapologetic B***h," "Illuminati" and "B***h I’m Madonna," which features Nicki Minaj.  She also appeared on Madonna's last album, MDNA.

In a statement, Madonna said, I was hoping to release my new single 'Living For Love' on Valentine's Day with the rest of the album coming in the Spring. I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the  incomplete tracks that are circulating.   Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift."

On Instagram, Madonna wrote, "6 songs for you now.......#rebelheart Happy Early X-Mas! ! 13 more to come for album 13 !!!"

The album cover shown on iTunes is a black-and-white photo of Madonna's face, wrapped in some kind of black tape or string.

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Kelly Clarkson Hosting Star-Studded "Miracle on Broadway" Concert Saturday Night in Nashville


Peter Kramer/NBCKelly Clarkson's star-studded Miracle on Broadway concert is set for Saturday night at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. The lineup includes Grammy nominees Meghan Trainor and Hayley Williams of Paramore, as well as country stars Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Kacey Musgraves, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn and Martina McBride.

Kelly started the ball rolling for the show less than 90 days ago, and she recruited her mother-in-law, country legend Reba McEntire, as the first special guest on the show. Kelly is married to Reba's stepson, Brandon Blackstock.

Kelly says with a laugh, "I figured if I could tie Reba in, people would say yes. So, she said yes, probably 'cause she's just my mother-in-law. It'd be awkward at Christmas when she was like, 'Oh, I turned you down.'"

Kelly hopes to make Miracle on Broadway an annual event, and she's already gotten commitments for next year's show from a few superstars, including country music icon Dolly Parton.  Miracle on Broadway coincides with Kelly's first Christmas with her baby daughter, River Rose. While she's worked with charities in the Nashville area for years now, Kelly says becoming a mother has made her want to give even more back to her community.

In addition to River Rose, Kelly is a stepmom to Brandon's two children from a previous marriage. She hopes to instill that spirit of giving into their kids with events like Miracle on Broadway.

Says Kelly, "We want to make sure that they are a part of things like this from the get-go. His kids, and our little girl as well -- [to] just see this. Because it's like, you can't grow up in your own little world. There's a whole world out there, and there's people that are in need."

Proceeds from Miracle on Broadway benefit several of Kelly's favorite charities in Middle Tennessee, including The Community Foundation, Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Monroe Harding Children's Home, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Thistle Farms organization for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

Fans attending the concert are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank. Those not attending the concert can make a one-time $10 donation by texting MIRACLE to 41010.

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Taylor Swift's 25th Birthday Helps Her Top "Social 50" Chart for First Time Since Last Year


ABC/Fred LeeSince Taylor Swift is everywhere, has millions of fans and is very active online on Twitter and Instagram, you'd think she'd be #1 on Billboard's "Social 50" chart, which ranks the most popular artists on social media, every other week.  But it turns out it took a milestone birthday to send her to the top of that chart, which she hadn't visited since last year.

According to Billboard, Taylor's #1 on the chart thanks to her epic 25th birthday party in the wee hours of December 13, whose guest list seemed to include every famous person in the world...all of whom took to Twitter and Instagram to talk about the fabulous party.  Those who weren't at the party took to Twitter to wish her a happy birthday, and all that activity sent her to #1 on the chart for the first time since April of 2013.

In addition, being the subject of tweets from Lorde, Selena Gomez, Charli XCX, HAIM, Nick Jonas and more resulted in a 117 percent increase in mentions online, and her posts on Instagram featuring her partying with Justin Timberlake and Beyonce received nearly 11 million likes for that week.

Taylor had previously climbed as high as #2 this year on the Social 50 chart, but she was constantly blocked by Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

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Nicki Minaj Scores Record-Breaking No. 1 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart


Dana Edelson/NBCNicki Minaj continues to outdo herself on the charts.

The rapper's "Only" has climbed from #10 to #1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, marking her fourth #1 on that list. That's the most #1's for a female rappers in the 56 years since the chart launched as a sales/airplay hybrid tally.

Onika only had to step over a handful of female rappers who have multiple #1's, including Missy Elliott, Da Brat and Iggy Azalea.

The song, which features Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, also has furthered her collaborators' rankings: the song gives Drizzy his 12th leader on the chart, Wayne his ninth and Brown his fifth.

"Only" is lifted from Minaj's The Pinkprint album, available now.

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Christina Aguilera Developing ABC Family Show About Las Vegas Entertainers


ABC/Richard HarbaughChristina Aguilera is getting into the TV business, beyond her appearances on The Voice.

Deadline reports that the singer is executive producing and helping to develop a dramedy for ABC Family which is focused on a group of Las Vegas entertainers who fall in and out of love. 

Tentatively titled Hearts and Clubs, the show is described as being similar to Love, Actually in the way that the characters' lives intertwine.  Another executive producer on the project is her fiance, Matt Rutler, the father of her baby girl Summer Rain.

Christina returns to The Voice for season eight early next year.

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Sam Smith First to Chart on "Billboard" Hot 100 with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"


Capitol Records

The song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" has been around for 70 years, but it took Sam Smith to bring it to the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time.

The British singer's melancholy version of the song has just debuted at #90 on that chart.  Of course, various versions of the tune have appeared on the publication's Holiday chart, but never onthe Hot 100, alongside the other current hits of the day. 

Sam debuted his version of the song on the CBS special A Very Grammy Christmas, during which he learned he'd been nominated for Album of the Year. That's one of six Grammy nominations he has this year.

On the Holiday 100, Sam's version of the song is top 10, and there are three other versions on there as well, by Frank Sinatra, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Buble.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was first introduced in 1944, in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis.


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