Taylor Swift's waxwork figure has been unveiled at Madame Tussaud's Los Angeles to mark the release of the singer's new album 1989.
Museum general manager Colin Thomas reveals artists were forced to duplicate a model of Swift that currently exists in Washington, D.C. and Sydney, Australia to appease fans.
He says, "She's one of our most requested figures. We've been inundated by Swifties (fans) who want to see Taylor in L.A."
The new waxwork double, which came together after a three-hour sitting with the Love Story hitmaker, features an actual $3,000 (£1,875) guitar Swift played on her recent Red tour. The unveiling of the new waxwork comes just days after Swift shut down Hollywood Boulevard for a free gig on Thursday night (23Oct14).
Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Jessica Chastain are among the stars who have taken to the Internet to mark 13 years since the terrorist atrocities of 9/11. New York City was devastated by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September, 2001, which - along with a downed airliner in Pennsylvania on the same day - claimed almost 3,000 lives.
Some of the world's biggest stars joined together on Thursday (11Sep14) to mark 13 years since the horrifying events, with pop superstar Lady Gaga writing in a post on her Twitter.com page, "Today we remember and honour all the lives + families ruined by the tragedy of 9/11. Practice love in their memory today #WeWillNeverForget (sic)."
Fellow singer Taylor Swift reveals she recently visited the 9/11 memorial site in New York City and it had a profound effect on her: "Visiting the @Sept11Memorial this year was something I'll never forget, in memory of a day we will always remember with tears in our eyes."
Hollywood actress Chastain urged fans to visit the 9/11 memorial museum in the Big Apple, tweeting, "Today the 9/11 museum is open to the public. We remember the lives that were lost this day 13 years ago."
LeAnn Rimes simply writes, "September 11 #NeverForget #September11 (sic)," while actor Gary Sinise adds, "Remembering all those lost in terrorist attack 13 years ago, and remembering with gratitude all who have stepped up to serve. Never Forget."
Other tributes have come in from singer Chris Brown, hip-hop stars Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah, music mogul Russell Simmons, rocker Bret Michaels, and John Stamos, Alyssa Milano, Gabrielle Union and singer Chely Wright.
Singer Charli Xcx stepped in to replace fellow British pop star Lily Allen, who was scheduled to perform at the German Radio Awards in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday night (04Sep14). The Smile hitmaker fell ill and was forced to cancel her appearance. Also taking to the stage for the annual prizegiving celebrating Germany's radio presenters were Taylor Swift, Revolverheld, and German artists Jan Delay, Die Fantastischen Vier, Mark Forster and Andreas Bourani.
The director of Taylor Swift's new Shake It Off video has fired back at criticism suggesting the promo promoted African-American stereotypes. Scenes in which Swift appears alongside and underneath 'twerking' dancers, have upset some people, who claim she is simply poking fun at black culture.
Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt went so far as to call the video "inherently offensive and ultimately harmful" in a social media post earlier this week (beg18Aug14).
He added, "It's perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture."
Now, director Mark Romanek is fighting back, stating, "I think, if Earl Sweatshirt was open-minded enough to take the four minutes to watch it, he might see what the larger, humanistic, and utterly colour-blind message was intended to be."
Romanek, who directed the stylised black and white video for Jay-Z's 99 Problems, tells Vulture, "I'm a fan of his and I think he's a really interesting artist. But he stated clearly that he hadn't seen the video and didn't even intend to watch it. So, respectfully, that sort of invalidates his observations from the get-go.
"And it's this one uninformed tweet that got reported on and rehashed, which started this whole 'controversy'. We simply choose styles of dance that we thought would be popular and amusing and cast the best dancers that were presented to us without much regard to race or ethnicity.
"If you look at it carefully, it's a massively inclusive piece. It's very, very innocently and positively intentioned. And - let's remember - it's a satirical piece. It's playing with a whole range of music-video tropes and cliches and stereotypes."
Taylor Swift is set to treat fans around the world to a special live stream of a Yahoo.com event from New York City. The singer has been dropping hints about the big surprise via her social networking blogs over the past week, and on Monday (11Aug14), she revealed she will be taking part in a unique performance and discussion on 18 August (14). She previously hosted a live stream in 2010 to mark the launch of her Speak Now album.
Love or hate Twitter, you can't deny that celebrity parody accounts are it's best creation. There are thousands of accounts out there, and most of them suck, but there are some precious gems. Believe us when we say, the really funny Drake parodies are so worth wading through endless #DrakesTheTypeOfGuy accounts.
George R. R. Martin - @GRRM
Until recently, the Game Of Thrones author was not verified on Twitter. Some speculated that these cryptic tweets could only be the work of the real GRRM, but it was just a clever ruse.
Live every day like it's your last. You never know if I'll decide to kill you off. #GeorgeWisdom
— George R.R. Martin (@GRRM) July 31, 2014
Did Sam make a promise that he wouldn't die?... Haha pic.twitter.com/7GlDQ6bNTY
— George R.R. Martin (@GRRM) July 28, 2014
Mark Zuckerberg - @notzuckerberg
Fake Zuckerberg is here to give us the honest truth: we’re all pathetically addicted to Facebook. Thanks Zuckerberg for hooking us in, and thank you even more fake Zuckerberg for helping us laugh at it.
You're soon going to have to download our Messenger app to write Facebook messages. And you'll need a third app if you want to send them.
— Not Mark Zuckerberg (@notzuckerberg) July 29, 2014
I apologize that Facebook went down for thirty minutes this morning and that all of you were forced to spend that half hour meaningfully.
— Not Mark Zuckerberg (@notzuckerberg) June 19, 2014
Taylor Swift - @feministtswift
This is basically a Twitter account combining Feminism and Taylor Swift lyrics in the best possible way.
I don't know about you / So I won't assume your experience as a woman / But I'm feeling 22
— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) January 16, 2014
And you call me up again just to break me like an anti-discrimination law
— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) July 15, 2014
Bill Nye - @yaboybillnye
If you’re looking for someone to drop some knowledge on you, then you better hit up Ya Boy Bill Nye. If anyone on the planet deserves a worthy Twitter parody account, it’s Bill Nye The Science Guy.
ERRBODY IN THE LAB GETTIN TIPSY
— YA BOY BILL NYE (@yaboybillnye) August 4, 2014
SCIENCE FACT lava is hot
— YA BOY BILL NYE (@yaboybillnye) August 1, 2014
Lord Voldemort - @Lord_Voldemort7
Even the Dark Lord is on Twitter. Okay, so maybe Voldemort isn’t real, but he’s basically one of the biggest baddies there is, so that makes him a celebrity. Which means, obviously, he’s got the best Twitter parody account of the bunch.
It's July 31st. For some reason that date seems familiar....
— The Dark Lord (@Lord_Voldemort7) July 31, 2014
Wrong world cup... http://t.co/Nn8szqDlMg
— The Dark Lord (@Lord_Voldemort7) June 14, 2014
Drake - @StuffDrakeDoes
Drake fans get a little insight on Drake's day-to-day life with this Twitter account. Now we know what this soulful artist really thinks (and feels) when asked the tough questions.
Airport security. "Any hazardous materials, sir?" Drake smiles to himself, and shakes his head. "The dagger in my heart," he thinks.
— Stuff Drake Does (@StuffDrakeDoes) August 1, 2014
Drake hands over his passport at the terminal. "Destination, sir?" Drake shakes his head. "Somewhere else," he whispers.
— Stuff Drake Does (@StuffDrakeDoes) July 17, 2014
Betty White - @BettyFckinWhite
As we expect Betty White is in real life, her parody account is up to date on all of Hollywood’s latest drama. With a decent amount of Beverly Hills, 90210 tied in.
If Jay-Z and Beyoncé divorce that'll make it an even 100 problems then.
— Betty F*ckin' White (@BettyFckinWhite) August 4, 2014
Why isn't Jason Priestly in Sharknado 2? Isn't it his turn?
— Betty F*ckin' White (@BettyFckinWhite) July 30, 2014
Bill Clinton - @PimpBillClinton
About 90% of these tweets are probably NSFW, which makes them all Clinton approved.
Don't call them all you can eat pancakes if you're gonna cut me off at 37.
— Pimp B. Clinton (@PimpBillClinton) August 4, 2014
I just got so high that I bought every Limp Bizkit song off of iTunes.#cryforhelp
— Pimp B. Clinton (@PimpBillClinton) August 2, 2014
The Queen of England - @Queen_UK
If you’re going to make a parody account for the world’s most powerful woman, this is how you do it.
The Proclaimers were due to close the show by they've walked 500 miles away since Lulu started. #closingceremony
— Elizabeth Windsor (@Queen_UK) August 3, 2014
— Elizabeth Windsor (@Queen_UK) July 24, 2014
Chuck Norris - @chuck_facts
So we're not 100% sure this isn’t just Chuck Norris parodying himself, because no one makes fun of Chuck Norris but Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris can divide by zero.
— Chuck Norris Facts (@chuck_facts) August 2, 2014
Chuck Norris killed two stones with one bird.
— Chuck Norris Facts (@chuck_facts) July 23, 2014
Bosses responsible for celebrity perfumes by the likes of Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj have launched legal action to ban the sale of rival products they allege are knock-offs. Chiefs at cosmetics giant Elizabeth Arden claim items in the Preferred Fragrance range bear striking similarities to their celebrity scents and are targeted at the same audience.
They believe Preferred Fragrance heads named two of their scents Be My Girl and Today in a bid to copy Bieber's Girlfriend release, and even used the same pink and purple colours in their packaging to lure customers.
The plaintiffs have also compared other Preferred Fragrance products to their Swift and Minaj-branded perfumes to prove their trademarks have repeatedly been infringed, according to TMZ.com.
Elizabeth Arden bosses are demanding a jury trial for damages.
Bieber's Girlfriend and Someday scents have raked in $87 million (£51.18 million) in retail sales, while Taylor's Wonderstruck beauty products have hit the $60 million (£25.29 million) mark.
Pop star Ed Sheeran is celebrating after scoring his first U.K. number one single. The A Team hitmaker has previously enjoyed four top 10 hits from his debut album, +, but new song Sing is the first of his tracks to hit pole position in his native country.
The chart triumph comes days after Sheeran admitted he didn't want to release Sing as the initial offering from his forthcoming album X, revealing he was swayed to do so after receiving advice from his superstar pals Taylor Swift, Elton John and superproducer Pharrell Williams.
The song keeps Sam Smith's Stay With Me at number two, while last week's chart-topper, Secondcity's I Wanna Feel, drops two places to three.
In the U.K. albums chart, Smith lands a second week at the top with The Lonely Hour, ahead of Coldplay's Ghost Stories at two and Clean Bandit's New Eyes, which debuts at three.
There was also good news for Dame Vera Lynn - the beloved entertainer's new war songs release, titled The Ultimate Collection, enters the albums chart at 13, making her the oldest living artist to hit Britain's top 20 at the age of 97. The disc was released this week (ends08Jun14) to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Lynn became the darling of British troops during World War Two with her songs of hope. She also holds the record as the first and only artist over the age of 90 to reach number one on the U.K. album charts, thanks to her 2009 compilation album, We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.
Miranda Lambert made history and ruled the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday (06Apr14), earning three top prizes, including Female Vocalist of the Year for the fifth time in a row. The House That Built Me singer became the only female artist to win the honour five consecutive times, edging out Reba McEntire, who won the award for four successive years, and seven in total.
Lambert also took home the Record of the Year prize for her song Mama's Broken Heart, as well as the Vocal Event of the Year prize for her duet with Keith Urban, We Were Us, which was handed out on the red carpet before the ceremony began.
Country music icon George Strait won the ultimate prize of the night for Entertainer of the Year, beating out Taylor Swift, Lambert, her husband Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan. The latter two also co-hosted the event for the second year in a row.
Follow Your Arrow hitmaker Kacey Musgraves followed up her two Grammy wins in February (14) with the Album of the Year award for Same Trailer Different Park, and boasted, "I'm really proud to be a woman representing country music," in her acceptance speech.
For the second year in a row Jason Aldean picked up the Male Vocalist of the Year title, and other winners included The Band Perry (Vocal Group of the Year), Florida Georgia Line (Vocal Duo of the Year), Justin Moore (New Artist of the Year), Lee Brice (Song of the Year for I Drive Your Truck) and Highway Don't Care by Tim McGraw, featuring Taylor Swift & Keith Urban (Video of the Year).
Garth Brooks presented veteran singer Merle Haggard with the Crystal Milestone Award to mark his 50th anniversary in the industry, and George Strait and Lambert teamed up to sing a medley of his hits, including The Bottle Let Me Down and I'm a Lonesome Fugitive.
The achievement coincided with Haggard's 77th birthday, and Brooks led the entire audience in serenading the singer on his big day.
The ceremony was also filled with stand-out performances, including sets from George Strait, Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow and Toby Keith.
In addition, a number of artists joined forces for special collaborations - Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan teamed up for a pyrotechnics and bicycle stunt show during their performance of This is How We Roll; Tim McGraw was joined by his wife Faith Hill for a duet of Meanwhile; Stevie Nicks joined Lady Antebellum for a rendition of Rihannon, and The Voice stars Shelton and Shakira gave the country night a Latin feel as they reworked her song Medicine.
Prior to Sunday's ceremony, Carrie Underwood was given the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap were handed the Career Achievement Award, and Rascal Flatts were honoured with the Jim Reeves International Award for their success overseas.
The full list of winners is:
Entertainer of the Year: George Strait
Album of the Year: Same Trailer Different Park by Kacey Musgraves
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Vocal Group of the Year: The Band Perry
Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean
Song of the Year: I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice
Record of the Year: Mama's Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert
New Artist of the Year: Justin Moore
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
Vocal Event of the Year: We Were Us by Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert
Crystal Milestone Award: Merle Haggard
Video of the Year: Highway Don't Care by Tim McGraw, featuring Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
Gene Weed Special Achievement Award: Carrie Underwood
Career Achievement Award: Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap
Jim Reeves International Award: Rascal Flatts
ABC Television Network
Nashville, the brainchild of Academy Award-winning writer Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise), started off with a ton of promise. The pilot was heavily promoted and the audience that tuned in was treated to an inside look at the clashing generations within the country music industry... a real life storyline that has been repeating ever since the advent of rock-and-roll. Connie Britton seemed to take her Friday Night Lights character and make her a successful music icon along the lines of Reba McEntire, while Hayden Panettiere schemed convincingly as the up-and-coming singer who's part Taylor Swift, part ice princess.
Early on, the show focused on the yin and the yang of Britton and Panettiere's relationship, with the former's Rayna Jaymes stuck in a career rut and Panettiere's Juliette Barnes more interested in kicking the established Queen of Country while she's down than helping her get back up. Throw in Charles Esten's caught-in-the-middle guitarist and there was plenty of drama to go around. Certainly, there were some soap opera elements — the parentage of Rayna's older daughter and the political machinations of her husband and powerful father among them — but as long as Britton and Panettiere were at the center the show stayed fairly even keel.
Then came the back half of the first season and things started to go off track. After initially steering clear of cameos, despite shooting on-location in Nashville, suddenly every member of the Grand Ole Opry started popping up to squeeze in a line or two. Juliette's mother appeared and brought a little too much crazy, while Rayna's husband became the mayor and left her for Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Season 2 became even more scattered as the focus shifted to ancillary characters like Clare Bowen's Scarlett and Sam Palladio's Gunnar. Next thing you know, there are assassination plots and a murder-suicide, Juliette is ostracized for questioning the existence of God, and Rayna finds her Tim McGraw in Will Chase's Luke.
Enough! While it's fine that the show has some soap opera elements — so do Scandal and Grey's Anatomy — Nashville has gone so far off-course that some fans have already abandoned it. It's not completely a lost cause, though. With the second season winding down, there are still ways to fix it.
For starters, keep the cameos to a minimum. Just because Rascal Flatts or some NASCAR driver is available doesn't mean that you need to put them on the show. Once and a while is fine, but not every episode... and not when there really isn't any purpose to their being around. Next, lose the political intrigue. No offense to Eric Close, but we don't really care about Mayor Teddy.
Most importantly, put the focus back on Rayna and Juliette. Britton and Panettiere aren't just capable actresses, at their best they are both mesmerizing. Preventing them from engaging with each other — whether in conflict or in country congeniality — is like moving Scandal's Olivia Pope out of D.C.; the whole reason for the show would be lost. Keeping Juliette down too long is a mistake, just as it would be to tone down her ego or her conniving. We don't need her in a happy relationship with Jonathan Jackson's Avery... we need her using all of her assets to get back to the top.
Similarly, Britton needs a good, juicy storyline to sink her teeth into. Having a happy and contented Rayna is not in the best interest of the show. She should be scraping and clawing to maintain her career, not chit-chatting with other country music royalty about her fledgling record label.
The show is teetering on the brink of oblivion — or, worse, irrelevance — and needs to act fast to bring back into focus the stories that drew us in at first. Otherwise, it will be a tough sell to get viewers to come back for season three… if there even is one.