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Get a Sneak Preview of Katy Perry's New Collection for Claire's


Image Courtesy Claire's Europe via TwitterKaty Perry's PRISM collection of fashion accessories will debut at Claire's stores and online on May 15, but if you want a sneak preview, just head on over to the store's European Twitter feed.

Katy's line was officially launched in London on Tuesday, and video and photos from all the fashion reporters and bloggers who attended are all over the @ClairesEurope Twitter feed right now. 

The photos reveal necklaces, bracelets and earrings with PRISM designs and themes, as well as notebooks, phone covers and more.  There are also knuckleduster rings and bracelets that spell out ROAR across your fingers and wrists.

A note on the Claire's Facebook page has a few more images, as well as the message, "Are you roaring about the #KatyPerryPRISMCollection yet? Katy Perry wants to see you in these pieces at her Prismatic World Tour. The collection officially arrives in-store and online on May 15!"

Katy's Prismatic World Tour gets underway next month in Northern Ireland.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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John Mayer Covers Beyonce Onstage in Australia


Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for LUTBOver the weekend, John Mayer tweeted his admiration for Beyoncé's song "XO."  Now, he's paid her the ultimate compliment by performing the song live on stage.

On April 12, John tweeted, "The best thing about Beyoncé? The break in her voice on the first 'baby, love me lights out' in XO. Real and raw."  On Tuesday in Adelaide, Australia, John sang a version of "XO" using only an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, and actually managed to make it sound like one of his own songs.

"XO" appears on Beyoncé's current self-titled album, which she released with no warning in December, shocking both her fans and the entire music industry.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Get a Sneak Preview of Katy Perry's New Collection for Claire's


Claire's Stores Inc.Katy Perry's PRISM collection of fashion accessories will debut at Claire's stores and online on May 15, but if you want a sneak preview, just head on over to the store's European Twitter feed.

Katy's line was officially launched in London on Tuesday, and video and photos from all the fashion reporters and bloggers who attended are all over the @ClairesEurope Twitter feed right now. 

The photos reveal necklaces, bracelets and earrings with PRISM designs and themes, as well as notebooks, phone covers and more.  There are also rings and bracelets that spell out ROAR across your fingers and wrists.

A note on the Claire's Facebook page has a few more images, as well as the message, "Are you roaring about the #KatyPerryPRISMCollection yet? Katy Perry wants to see you in these pieces at her Prismatic World Tour. The collection officially arrives in-store and online on May 15!"

Katy's Prismatic World Tour gets underway next month in Northern Ireland.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Miley Hospitalized Due to Allergic Reaction, Kansas City Concert Cancelled


ABC/Lou RoccoMiley Cyrus cancelled her North Carolina concert last week due to the flu.  Now, the singer's in the hospital, and her show tonight in Kansas City has been called off.

A statement posted on the website of the Sprint Center in Kansas City reads, "Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' tour date scheduled for tonight, April 15, at Sprint Center in Kansas City has been cancelled. Cyrus has been hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics and has been placed on medical rest by her doctors. She will not be able to perform as scheduled."

The statement goes on say that refunds will be available at the point of purchase; tickets purchased online or by phone will be refunded automatically.

Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Miley tweeted, "Kansas I promise Im as [symbol of a heart breaking] as you are. I wanted so badly 2 b there 2night. [symbol of a cat crying] Not being with yall makes me feel shi**ier than I already do."

She also posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed, holding a small, green octopus toy. She wrote, "Mr. Octopussy & some amazing Drs are taking good care of me." 

A few hours later, Miley complained about the TV service, tweeting, “Hospital TV is wacccckkkkkkk!!!!!#wherestheappletv.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Ariana Grande to Perform at Gay Dance Party, and The White House


Republic RecordsHow broad is Ariana Grande's appeal?  Broad enough for her to book gigs at both The White House, and The White Party, a massive gay dance festival.

E! Online reports that Ariana will perform at this year's White Party, set for April 26 in Palm Springs, California.  It's described as "The Largest Gay Dance Music Festival in the World," and this year it's celebrating its 25th anniversary. 

"Ariana Grande is one of today's fastest rising superstars and is destined for pop icon status," White Party founder and producer Jeffery Sanker told E!.   She's in good company: past performers at the event have included Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Kesha.

Meanwhile, Ariana is also going to be performing at this year's annual White House Easter Egg Roll, set for Monday, April 21, on the South Lawn of the White House.  Ariana will perform on the event's "Rock 'n Egg Roll Stage," along with reigning American Idol champ Candice Glover, a variety of Muppets, and other guests.

In other Ariana news, she announced on Twitter that a new single is on its way "sooner than you think."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Perform at Jordan Brand Classic on Friday


Image Courtesy Jordan Brand Classic via TwitterMacklemore & Ryan Lewis are supposed to be in the studio working on the follow-up to The Heist, but they're emerging here and there for various appearances.  The Grammy-winning duo will give a special post-game performance at this year's Jordan Brand Classic, taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Friday.

The Jordan Brand Classic is the country's premier high school all-star basketball game, featuring top talent from around the nation facing off against one another.  While the event also features an International Game and a New York City-area Regional Game, the National Game is the main attraction, and that's the one that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will close out with a concert.

This summer, the duo will also be performing a mini-residency at the Wynn Las Vegas resort, and they have appearances at several festivals booked, including San Francisco's Outside Lands festival in August. Check Macklemore.com for a full schedule.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds to Receive Prestigious Award at Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Gala


Credit: Alex SermonImagine Dragons have already won an American Music Award and a Grammy, and they're up for 12 Billboard Music Awards.  Now, lead singer Dan Reynolds will have another accolade to add to his rapidly-filling trophy case.

Reynolds will receive the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Gala, which will be held June 12 in New York City.  The award, named after legendary songwriter Hal David, is given annually to a young musician who is "making a significant impact in the music industry" with his or her original songs.  With hits like "It's Time," "Demons" and "Radioactive," Reynolds is definitely doing that.

Past winners of the Hal David Starlight Award include Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Jason Mraz, Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, and Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls.

In a statement, songwriting legend Jimmy Webb, chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, said, "Dan Reynolds is a dream ticket for the Songwriters Hall of Fame Starlight Award. He has helped create truly contemporary rock n' roll with the band Imagine Dragons: a sound at once musically literate and issue-driven, yet founded on solid composition and songwriting."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Did Ed Sheeran Record "Sing" in the Presence of...Mr. Spock?


Christie Goodwin/CBS via Getty ImagesIf Ed Sheeran's new single "Sing" sounds perfectly logical to you, perhaps that's because it was reportedly recorded in the presence of the world's most famous Vulcan: Mr. Spock.

Sources tell the New York Daily News that when Ed and Pharrell Williams got together in the studio to record the song "Sing," veteran actor Leonard Nimoy, who plays Mr. Spock in the Star Trek TV series and movies, was in the studio.  The source explains, "Ed was taken aback to see one of the greatest stars from sci-fi just sit and watch them at work. Pharrell tried to get him to do some vocal work in the studio, but he refused.”

“Everyone knows that Ed likes his movies, and he was just stunned to be there with Leonard," the source adds.

A rep for Ed Sheeran told ABC News Radio that he had "no idea" if this story actually happened, but said it was "pretty funny."

If true, this wouldn't be the 83-year-old Nimoy's only connection to the world of current pop music. You may recall that a couple of years ago, he appeared in a video for Bruno Mars' hit "The Lazy Song."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Got $10,000? You Could Meet Bruno Mars Backstage


Ray Mickshaw / FOXBruno Mars' Moonshine Jungle tour hits New York City's famed Madison Square Garden on July 14, and if you've got the cash, you just might be able to hang with the singer backstage.

Bruno has teamed up with the website CharityBuzz.com to auction off four tickets for the show, as well as backstage access after the show; that's where you'll get a chance to meet Bruno in person.  The only downside? You'll have to get yourself to New York and pay for your own hotel.

Bidding for the auction closes on April 29, and when we last checked, the highest bid was already up to a whopping 10 grand.  It's sure to go higher still.

The money from the auction will go to the Stephen Gaynor School, an independent, non-profit New York City school for students with learning disabilities.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Jason Derulo Says New Album Shows Off His "Dirty" Side


Beluga Heights/Warner Bros.Jason Derulo is tired of being Mr. Clean.  He says that with the release of his new album, in stores Tuesday, fans will finally be able to see the real him: the down and dirty Jason Derulo.

The title of the album is Talk Dirty, after his hit single of the same name, and the cover shows him stripped to the waist and being caressed by a pair of female arms -- and Jason says it's not just the cover and the single that are racy.  "I want people to know that the rest of the album has, like, this dirty undertone," he tells ABC News Radio. "So this is the side of Jason that no one has met before. This is, like, the real me, and that's why the album cover is the way that it is. I just wanted to expose everything."

It seems Jason feels as though he's got a squeaky-clean image, and he thinks the sexier tunes on the album will change people's perceptions of him.  "I think people have the wrong idea [about me]," he tells ABC News Radio. [But] it's cool. You know, it's cool for what it was. I was 19 when I first came out, so I mean, it's not a bad thing. It's a general progression, I think."

The issue right now, as Jason sees it, is that he's had a string of hit records, but his personality hasn't really come through on them. "There's that disconnect," he says. "People heard all these records, y'know, you've heard 'In My Head,' you've heard 'Whatcha Say,' you've heard 'Ridin Solo,'' 'It Girl,' all these songs, but you didn't really know who Jason Derulo was. And I feel like this album it really shows who I am."

The disc, which features guest appearances by Snoop Dogg, Tyga, 2 Chainz, Pitbull and Jason's girlfriend Jordin Sparks, was a long time in the making -- after all, he put out the first single, "The Other Side," a year ago.  But Jason says waiting to put the album out was a calculated move on his part.

"I've already had three platinum singles off of this album and that's not really usual," he tells ABC News Radio, noting that most artists put their albums out after just one single. "I wanted to try something different this time and see what the response would be if I released three singles," he explains. "And [fans] would know that this album has so many different dimensions, and it goes in so many different areas. It's almost like this roller coaster ride."

Talk Dirty is Jason's first full-length album since he broke his neck during a dance rehearsal in early 2012.  He says that the songs on the disc, in part, came from his own efforts to try to cheer himself up.

"The reason why I started making this album was a selfish reason. I wanted to get myself out of this dark place that I was in after my injury," he tells ABC News Radio. "And it was not about making a 'hit song,' it was not about making this 'hit album'  -- it was just about me making myself feel better. And I think that selfishness, in turn, showed exactly who I am."  

You can listen to the entire Talk Dirty album now; it's streaming on YouTube.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

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"The Voice" Recap: Shakira and Adam's Teams Perform in the Playoffs


Trae Patton/NBCThe Voice resumed its playoff round on Monday night, with artists from Shakira and Adam Levine's teams performing for the opportunity to advance in the competition. Only three of five artists from each squad ultimately made the cut.

Blake Shelton previously watched his artists take part in the playoffs last week. Usher's protégés will have their turn on Tuesday night.

Here's what happened on Monday night's two-hour episode:

Kristen Merlin offered the first performance of the night for Team Shakira: a rendition of Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs." Adam said she's at the top of her game. Adam and Blake both thought it was Kristen's best performance of the season. Shakira said Kristen was in control and had command of the stage.

Deja Hall took on Jordan Sparks' "Battlefield." Blake and Usher both observed that she came out of her shell with the performance. Shakira said Deja showed off a more aggressive voice.

Tess Boyer belted out Christina Perri's "Human." Her original coach, Usher, called her ability to hold notes "super-human." Another of Tess' former coaches, Blake, said Tess handled with ease what is typically a difficult song to perform. Shakira said Tess has a gift for singing.

Patrick Thomson performed "Trouble," by Ray LaMontagne. Blake repeatedly antagonized Adam for losing Patrick earlier in the season. Shakira said Patrick seized the moment with grace and poise.

Dani Moz played Lady Gaga's "The Edge Of Glory" on the piano. Blake said she completely connected with the song and her instrument.

Of these five, Shakira chose Tess, Kristen and Dani to advance in the competition.

Delvin Choice was the first of Adam's artists to take the stage. He covered the Al Green classic "Let's Stay Together." Usher called him a "threat" in the competition because he can sing tunes from many genres. Shakira said Delvin is one of her favorites on the show. Adam claimed Delvin solidifies his team as the one to beat this season.

Jake Barker sang "She Will Be Loved," by Adam's band, Maroon 5. Blake complimented him on his strong falsetto. Jake's former coach, Usher, said his growth has been impressive. Adam described Jake as the most improved artist, given how little experience he had performing in public before competing on the show.

Kat Perkins delivered her take on the Journey tune "Open Arms." Usher said it was flawless. Blake said it wasn't "open arms," but rather "open lungs." He couldn't come up with the words to describe how much he liked the performance. Adam agreed with Usher's assessment, and said it's only the beginning for Kat.

Morgan Wallen brought a little country to the show with Florida Georgia Line's "Stay." Usher admitted that when he was Morgan's coach, he steered him in the wrong direction, wishing he had focused more on the country genre with him. Blake added that there are hints of two alternative-rock bands -- Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots -- in Morgan's voice. Blake noted that Morgan brings a different angle to country music, much like Travis Tritt has. Adam said he knew Morgan is "legitimate" when he heard him rehearse the song.

The remaining artist on Team Adam, Christina Grimmie, performed "I Won't Give Up," by Jason Mraz. Blake wondered how such a big voice can come out of such a small person. Shakira said Christina was tender in the verses but powerful in the chorus. Adam said Christina made a good song choice, and that she did everything well.

Christina was the first contestant selected by Adam, followed by Delvin and Kat.

Usher's team will enter the spotlight Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Passenger Announces North American Summer Tour


Credit: Shervin LainezFollowing the global success of the song "Let Her Go," Passenger -- the singer/songwriter born Mike Rosenberg -- is getting ready to release his new album, Whispers, on June 10. Now, he's announced a North American headlining tour in support of the disc.

The tour gets underway August 2 in Atlanta, and wraps up September 14 in San Diego.  Tickets go on sale April 15.

Passenger has also been nominated for three Billboard Music Awards: Top New Artist, Top Rock Artist, and Top Rock Song, for "Let Her Go."

Here are the tour dates:

8/2 -- Atlanta, GA, Buckhead Theatre
8/3 -- Nashville, TN, Marathon Music Works
8/5 -- Charlotte, NC, Amos’ Southend
8/6 -- Washington, D.C., Echostage
8/8 -- Philadelphia, PA, Electric Factory
8/10 -- New York, NY, Central Park Summerstage
8/13 -- Boston, MA, House of Blues
8/14 -- Montreal, QC, Metropolis
8/16 -- Toronto, ON, The Sound Academy
8/17 -- Detroit, MI, St. Andrew Hall
8/19 -- Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall
8/20 -- Indianapolis, IN, Deluxe , Old National Center
8/22 -- Chicago, IL, Vic Theatre
8/24 -- Minneapolis, MN, First Avenue
8/30 -- Austin, TX, Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
8/31 -- Dallas, TX, House of Blues
9/3 -- Denver, CO, Ogden Theatre
9/6 -- Seattle, WA, Showbox SoDo
9/7 -- Vancouver, BC, Malkin Bowl
9/9 -- Portland, OR, Crystal Ballroom
9/11 -- Oakland, CA, Fox Theatre
9/13 -- Los Angeles, CA, The Wiltern
9/14 -- San Diego, CA, House of Blues

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Ellie Goulding Getting Tired of the Road: "I Am Really Ready to Stop Touring for a Bit"


Image Courtesy Ellie Goulding via InstagramEllie Goulding's been criss-crossing the globe since breaking out a couple years back with her international hit "Lights."  But now the British singer, who just played Coachella this past weekend, says she's ready to take a break.

"To be honest, I am really ready to stop touring for a bit. I’m just tired," she tells the Huffington Post. "I feel like I’ve got so much to catch up on. I wasn’t there when so many of my friends are getting married, having babies. I know it seems crazy, but there’s just so much that I’m missing out on."

That's not to say that Ellie doesn't enjoy being an international pop star who gets to see the world and get paid for it.  "I do have a really incredible job and I get to be on tour with my favorite people," she notes. "But at the same time, I’m staring to think that I want to spend a substantial amount of time at home."

In the same interview, Ellie talks about her friendship with Lorde. When asked if the two would ever collaborate, Ellie says, "I’m sure we have talked about it jokingly. But of course, anyone who’s a good person and a good musician is perfect to make music with."  According to Ellie, Lorde is one of those people.

"There are a lot of people who are very talented, but then there are people who are very talented and very humble -- and those are the people you end up making good stuff with," she explains.  "She’s a good one. She’s a good egg. And she deserves everything she’s worked for."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Who Ate All the Custom Cakes in Katy Perry's New Lyric Video?


Capitol RecordsIf you checked out the new lyric video for Katy Perry's single "Birthday," you know that it's chock full of delicious treats, including cakes, cupcakes and candy.  All the sweets were real, and were created especially for the video by Ace of Cakes chef Duff Goldman and his team at Los Angeles' Cakemix Bakery & DIY Decorating Studio.  But who got to eat all those yummy cakes at the end of the shoot?  Well, it wasn't Katy.

“The camera guys, sound guys, production guys took those home,” Goldman tells People magazine. "I’m sure there are photos of them all at home with their families eating Katy Perry cakes!”  But Katy herself, who appears briefly at the end of the video, did get a little something for her efforts: Duff's team made her a gift of some glittery pink cupcakes that spelled out her name. 

Goldman also reveals that he and his team of 12 created everything in the video in less than a week, following a list of shots that called for a hamburger cake, a cat cake, a cake that looks like a suit and others.  Unfortunately, Goldman says that the day of the shoot, when Katy came to the set, he missed her, because he had a delivery to make.  "I was bummed,” he tells People, but adds, "If she ever wants another cake, I’ll deliver it personally!”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Miley Cyrus Gives Up Her New Puppy: "It's Too Soon"


Image Courtesy Miley Cyrus via TwitterAny dog owner will tell you that when you lose your beloved pooch, getting a new one right away isn't always the best solution.  Miley Cyrus knows that now, too.

Miley's dog Floyd, whom she referred to as her favorite of all her dogs, recently passed away, and Miley's mom tried to make her feel better by giving her an adorable puppy named Moonie.  But Miley has decided not to keep the little furball, because she's not ready emotionally.  She tweeted a picture of herself holding Moonie, and wrote, "Moonie, thank you for giving me so much love, comfort, & peace. It's just too soon for me right now."  She added the hastag "#missingmoonie." 

But it isn't just an emotional problem for Miley: it's the fact that Moonie was so small.  She hasn't publicly addressed what happened to Floyd, but there have been rumors that he was taken by a coyote.  Miley alluded to this in her response to a fan who asked where Moonie will end up.  She replied, "my friends mom who has a tiny pup 4 him 2 play with: Molly  After what happened Im scared 2 have a tiny dog."

When another fan wrote, "Oh, I'm a bit sad but I know that Moonie will be happy," Miley replied, "& SAFE! That's the most important part of loving a puppy. They depend on you."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Beyonce Tops People's List of "The 5 Most Important People in Music Right Now"


Columbia Records

Beyonce is a force to be reckoned with after releasing her surprise album late last year. In fact, it's among the reasons the singer has "forever changed the release game," according to People magazine.

The international star has claimed the top spot on the publication's list of "The 5 Most Important People in Music Right Now." On top of the impact from her successful 132-city Mrs Carter Show World Tour, the diva earned the coveted position by releasing an album that "gets better and better with each listen" and includes great songs like “Drunk in Love” and “XO,” People writes.

Pharrell Williams came in second for scoring his first #1 hit with "Happy" and landing a coaching role on The Voice next season. Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar claimed the number five position for leading the "West Coast rap Renaissance" and earning the respect of Macklemore, who acknowledge via text that Lamar deserved a Grammy.

The latest issue of People, including the full list of “The 5 Most Important People in Music Right Now” is on stands now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Justin Bieber Ordered to Reveal Personal Contact Info in Connection with Lawsuit


Image Courtesy Justin Bieber via InstagramHey, want Justin Bieber's cell number?  Just wait a bit.

The Florida website GossipExtra.com reports that on Friday, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel ordered Justin to fill out a 10-page questionnaire in connection with the lawsuit filed against him by a Miami photographer.  The photographer, Jeffery Binion, alleges that Justin's bodyguards assaulted him when he attempted to photograph the singer last June.

According to the website, the information that Justin must provide in the questionnaire includes every personal email account and cell number he was using during the time of the alleged attack, as well as the phone numbers of all his friends and bodyguards who were present.  He's also expected to cough up the contact info for the people he was with the night before the alleged attack, when he attended a Miami Heat playoff game.

On top of that, Justin must list all the legal claims and lawsuits ever filed against him.  If you've been paying attention over the past few years, you know that list is pretty long.

The website points out that all this information will become a matter of public record, just like all the other documents related to the case, so it looks as though Justin and his buddies are going to have to start changing their cell phone numbers pretty soon.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

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Taylor Swift Crashes Super-Fan's Bridal Shower


Gena Gabrielle via InstagramTaylor Swift was full of big surprises this past weekend. After showing up unannounced during Seth Rogen's Saturday Night Live monologue Saturday night, Taylor flew to Columbus, Ohio to surprise one of her big fans, Gena Gabrielle, at her bridal shower on Sunday. Gena documented the entire event on Instagram.

Of course, Taylor didn't show up empty-handed. She gave Gena a KitchenAid mixer, along with a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Gena revealed those were the same cookies Taylor baked with her pal, Olympian Gracie Gold, last week.

According to Gena, Taylor told her, "This is my first bridal shower, and Gena's last."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Ed Sheeran Announces First-Ever Headlining Tour of North America


Jeffrey R. Staab/CBSEd Sheeran has toured North America as Taylor Swift's opening act, but now he's getting ready to do it on his own.

The singer has announced initial dates for a headlining tour in support of his upcoming album X, pronounced "multiply," which is due June 23. It kicks off August 22 in Seattle, Washington, and is currently scheduled to run through September 18, with more dates will be announced soon.  Tickets go on sale starting April 25.  Visit EdSheeran.com for the latest ticket on-sale info.

Ed performed his new single, "Sing," on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.

Here are the initial tour dates:

8/22 -- Seattle, WA, Wamu Theater
8/23 -- Vancouver, BC, Ambleside Live
8/29 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan
8/30 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan
8/31 -- Glendale, AZ, Jobing.com Arena
9/2 -- Kansas City, MO, Sprint Center
9/4 -- Cleveland, OH, Wolstein Center
9/8 -- Philadelphia, PA, Wells Fargo Center
9/9 -- Boston, MA, Xfinity Center
9/11 -- Charlotte, NC, Time Warner Cable Arena
9/12 -- Atlanta, GA, The Arena at Gwinnett Center
9/13 -- Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
9/15 -- Minneapolis, MN, Target Center
9/16 -- Chicago, IL, Allstate Arena
9/18 -- Toronto, ON, Air Canada Centre

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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fun.'s Jack Antonoff on New Solo Project, Band's Next Album and Being an "Equality Champion"


Daniel Silbert/RCA Recordsfun.'s smash album Some Nights came out in 2012, and there's no word on when we can expect the follow-up.  But that doesn't mean the band's members are just sitting around: guitarist Jack Antonoff, in particular, has been busy co-writing songs with artists like Taylor Swift, Christina Perri and Sara Bareilles, and now he's gearing up to release his first solo project.

Jack's already released the first single from that project -- it's called "I Wanna Get Better."  But he didn't put it out under his own name: it, and the album, were recorded under the name Bleachers.  Why not just use his actual name?  Jack tells ABC News Radio, "I thought about it, but calling it my name felt a little bit...too loaded...it felt like it was putting too much spotlight on the fact that it was a 'solo project,' and not...the fact that it was its own body of work.  So I wanted to call it something because I just wanted it to be its own thing."

Jack worked with a variety of collaborators on the Bleachers project, including John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and Vince Clarke, a former member of three top '80's synth-pop groups: Depeche Mode, Yaz and Erasure.  He chose the name Bleachers because it was the working title of one of the songs on the album, which he's still putting the finishing touches on.  But what about the next fun. album?  What's the status of that?  They're "working on it," is all Jack will say about that.

While we wait for new music, the members of fun. are working together on their favorite cause: gay rights.  It's something they've been supporting for several years now, but they've just been named "equality champions" by the U.N.'s gay rights campaign, Free & Equal.  Though all three members of fun are straight, Jack says fighting for equality for gays is so important to them because it's, as he puts it, "undoubtedly the human rights issue of our time."

"To me, it's just a no-brainer," he tells ABC News Radio. "When you look at political issues, there's so much gray area and there's so many ways looking at things, but when it comes to human rights -- when it comes to the rights of innocent people -- to me that's just completely a black and white issue, and there's no other way to look at it, from my perspective: we all deserve the exact same rights."

Standing up for the rights of others comes naturally to Jack: in fact, it runs in his family.  "My grandfather was very involved in the civil rights movement, he actually marched with Martin Luther King in Washington," Jack tells ABC News Radio. "And I just remember hearing all these stories growing up, and he really impressed upon me that -- during a time when things are shifting and it's very easy to sort of be still, and kind of get stuck in the 'This is how it's always been' type of place -- that's when it's really important to speak up...that's when it's really important to make a difference."

As part of their work with the U.N., Jack and the rest of the band are working to raise $250,000 for a homeless shelter in Detroit, which needs more beds for all the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who need a place to stay. "About 40 percent of all homeless kids are LGBT youth, and that's because they're being kicked out of their homes, so there's all these amazing shelters all over the country that are catering to these kids specifically," Jack explains.

Another way Jack helped the cause -- inadvertently -- was by co-writing Sara Bareilles' hit "Brave:" it's gone on to become an anthem for gay and straight people alike.  "What I love about that song is it serves specifically for what's going on right now with this movement, but it's also just like a bigger statement in general," he tells ABC News Radio.  "It's something that I think about everyday...to try and be brave is a really important thing. And that song, just meeting kids who are coming out in reference to that song, it's been a really incredible experience."

Overall, Jack says he's happy to see that the tide has turned from even a decade ago, and casual homophobia just isn't as widespread as it once was.

"When I think about being in high school, you know, anything that was different was called 'gay.,' he recalls. "I had blue hair back then, people used to call me gay and, and these were terms that was socially acceptable. And I've noticed an amazing shift where that's just not really okay anymore, which is fantastic."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



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