Toby Keith has topped a Forbes list of highest-paid country singers for the second year in a row. The Red Solo Cup hitmaker has raked in $65 million (£38 million) since June, 2013, according to editors at the magazine.
The sum includes profits from his own record label, Show Dog - Universal, as well as his endorsement deal with Ford, his I Love This Bar and Grill restaurant franchise, and his liquor range, Wild Shot.
Over the past six years, Keith has earned more than $335 million (£197 million), according to the magazine.
Taylor Swift stays put at number two from last year's list, having earned $64 million (£37 million) in the past 12 months, while Kenny Chesney is at three with $44 million (£26 million), and Jason Aldean ($37 million/£22 million) and Luke Bryan ($34 million/£20 million) round out the new top five.
Pop parody king 'Weird Al' Yankovic is having a laugh at the top of the U.S. album chart after debuting his latest collection of comedy tunes at the top of the Billboard 200. The 54 year old's new release, Mandatory Fun, has rocketed to number one, giving the star his first chart-topper.
Weird Al took to his Twitter account on Wednesday (23Jul14) to alert fans to the news, writing, "It's official. MANDATORY FUN enters the Billboard album chart this week at #1. Wow. WOW."
He added, "If you'd told me 30 years ago this would happen, I never would've believed it. If you'd told me 2 WEEKS ago, I never would've believed it.
"I'm so pleased everybody is enjoying the album, and I'm enormously grateful for everyone's support. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU."
Mandatory Fun is Weird Al's 14th studio album, and features comedy takes on hits like Pharrell Williams' Happy (Tacky) and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines (Word Crimes), but the highlight is his reimagining of Iggy Azalea's Fancy, which Yankovic has turned into a handyman anthem, called Handy.
He promoted the new album by releasing eight music videos in eight consecutive days, and recently hinted the new release may be his last: "I hate to draw lines in the sand and say this is absolutely the last album, but it sure looks that way. It's the end of my record deal."
Jason Mraz's Yes! debuts at two on the new countdown and rockers Rise Against enter at three with The Black Market.
Meanwhile, pop/reggae group MAGIC! land a second week at the top of the Hot 100 with Rude.
Iggy Azalea's Fancy and Sam Smith's Stay With Me are unmoved at two and three on the new singles countdown, while Ariana Grande's Problem and Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz round out the top five.
Newcomers Marcus Callender and Jason Mitchell have reportedly been cast to play Dr. Dre and Eazy-E in the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The project has been in the works for several years, but director F. Gary Gray is now ready to move forward with the film and has cast Callender and Mitchell to round out the lead roles, according to Billboard.com.
Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. has reportedly been tapped to play a younger version of his father in the film, which is scheduled to begin principal photography in August (14).
Straight Outta Compton tells the story of Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan were crowned the kings of the 2014 CMT Music Awards after they each took home two trophies at the TV network's annual prizegiving on Wednesday (05Jun14). Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard earned prizes for Duo Video of the Year as well as Collaborative Video of the Year for This is How We Roll featuring Bryan.
The Drunk On You hitmaker landed a second award, CMT Performance of the Year, for a separate duet with Lionel Richie thanks to their Oh No/All Night Long set from the 2012 CMT Artists of the Year TV special.
The trio dominated the show at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee from the start of the ceremony, when they were joined by ZZ Top and R&B star Jason Derulo to sing and dance to a mash-up of his song Talk Dirty and Florida Georgia Line's This is How We Roll to kick off the programme.
It was also a big night for Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, and Miranda Lambert, who won the Video of the Year, Male Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year, respectively. This is the second year in a row in which the trio has taken the top honours.
The ceremony, which was hosted by three-time emcee Kristen Bell, also included sets from Keith Urban, Hunter Hayes, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town.
John Legend sang a special version of his hit All of Me arranged by Hunter Hayes, while Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles joined in with vocals, and Lee Ann Womack and Kacey Musgraves took on Alan Jackson's Livin on Love just before Underwood presented him with the first-ever CMT Impact Award.
The top winners are:
Video of the Year - See You Again by Carrie Underwood
Female Video of the Year - Automatic by Miranda Lambert
Male Video of the Year - Doin' What She Likes by Blake Shelton
Group Video of the Year - Done by The Band Perry
Duo Video of the Year - Round Here by Florida Georgia Line
Breakthrough Video of the Year - Wasting All These Tears by Cassadee Pope
Collaborative Video of the Year - This is How We Roll by Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan
CMT Performance of the Year - Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie for Oh No/All Night Long from 2012 CMT Artists of the Year
CMT Impact Award - Alan Jackson
Led Zeppelin star Robert Plant has revealed he's puzzled why bandmates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones didn't tour without him after the group's one-night-only reunion in 2007. Talk of a tour has been constant ever since Plant joined his pals onstage at the O2 Arena in London for a tribute to late music mogul Ahmet Ertegun, and now guitarist Page admits there were plans to hit the road with late drummer John Bonham's son Jason.
In a new Rolling Stone chat, Page says, "At the time of the O2 show we were led to believe there were going to be more (gigs). You'll have to ask Robert why he changed his mind. I don't even know if he considered it. I don't know what he thinks."
Plant has fired back by insisting his two bandmates and Jason Bonham should have recruited another singer, and toured with them, stating, "They kept rehearsing after O2 and they had a singer. I don't know what happened. It seemed like a great idea to me."
Page admits he and Jones came close to performing with a stand-in, believed to be Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, but tour plans fell apart when the bass player received a call to join Dave Grohl's Them Crooked Vultures.
He adds, "Singers were being thrown at us from here and there. The material we were coming up with was really, really good. Obviously, other people wanted to just get us out on the road quickly. I wasn't feeling comfortable. Going out with the three members from the O2 show and another singer might have looked like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.
"(When Jones was offered the Them Crooked Vultures gig) I guess that was a pretty definitive statement."
Meanwhile, Plant insists he is glad he resisted the temptation of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour following the 2007 gig, adding, "A tour would have been an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that's s**tty about about big-time stadium rock. We were surrounded by a circus of people that would have had our souls on the fire. I'm not part of a jukebox!
"I don't think there's any reason for me to do that (tour with Led Zep)... Do you know why the Eagles said they'd reunite when 'hell freezes over,' but they did it anyway and keep touring? It's not because they were paid a fortune. It's not about the money. It's because they're bored. I'm not bored."
Open Road Films via Everett Collection
David Ayer's Sabotage is just the latest stop in Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback tour, though it probably won't do the actor too many favors. Schwarzenegger plays John "Breacher" Wharton, the leader of an elite DEA task force that specializes in taking down drug cartels. Each member of the team is a blunt instrument drunk off of their alpha male (and female) machismo, but to be fair, they are damn good at what they do. They're masters at going in hard, killing whoever needs killing, and heading to the strip club and drinking themselves into a stupor before the next round of street sweeping. Unfortunately, it turns out years of busting cartel bosses and being deeply unpleasant to everyone you come into contact with eventually catches up to you, and members of the squad start dying in ghastly and elaborate ways. And just like that, we have what basically amounts to an Agatha Christie novel with a gym membership and a pile of meth.
Unfortunately, and as expected, giving Agatha Christie a couple of reps at the gym and a pile of drugs turns her into a blithering idiot, because Sabotage is incredibly stupid. The central mystery somehow manages to be both preposterous and predictable at the same time. The film's one saving grace is its action. The action scenes are adrenal and exciting and unbelievably gory. Bloated corpses are poked and prodded, viscera hangs like ropes from a rafter. This film takes immense pleasure in being completely disgusting. It’s downright gleeful about it. Here's a full shot of a soiled toilet, just because. Here's a piece of skin hanging on some metal, why not. Isn't that cool?
While Sabotage does manage to thrill in spurts and stutters, there's absolutely nothing beating at the heart of the film. All of the main characters are completely and utterly repugnant, and you'll pity anyone who has to endure their company throughout the film. When characters do start to die, you won't feel all that broken up about it. In fact, you may even feel a twinge of joy, like the earth was suddenly unburdened from a pure source of rampant douchebaggery. Just imagine the most disgusting, and off-putting person you can, and then give them a gun, a badge, and a fierce sense of entitlement, and you have every single member of the film's DEA squad. They're all terrible.
And if that weren't bad enough, the acting ranges from mediocre to terrible. The usually wonderful Olivia Williams and the capable Sam Worthington continually forget which continent they're on, their accents dropping in an out like a bad radio connection; Schwarzenneger has a complete inability to emote anything apropos of the situation at hand. When looking upon a pile of ooze that was formerly in the shape of one of his best friends, his disappointment is more akin to seeing a temporarily occupied gym bench on chest day. All of the charm the actor showcased in something like the recent Escape Plan is washed out by Breacher's moping about his dark past, and when Schwarzenneger isn't allowed to be fun, then he's completely boring.
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Really, I should hate Sabotage. It’s a completely stupid and mean spirited film, but there’s a strange charm to the depravity of it all. There's an audaciousness to it. The film goes as far as it can to push limits, and succeeds at being appaling. It’s a film that knows how stupid and ugly it is and champions that fact. It’s playing in its own filth, and as gross as that is, at least it’s having fun. This is the kind of film that will be in heavy rotation at the local frat house. That’s doesn’t mean the film is good or even okay, but if you like watching horrific violence, awful mysteries, and awful people being awful, then boy do I have a film for you.
Phew! They're finally over. The Academy Awards sure felt like a marathon this year. With about three too many montages honoring any and everything in movies (I think there was even an ode to sticky movie theater floors), a band that seemed really trigger shy about playing off some of the longer speeches (which is a good thing and a bad thing), and the many musical performances, the Oscars stretched all the way into early Monday for those of us on the east coast. The one saving grace was Ellen DeGeneres who more than capably handled the proceedings. Here's what we thought of her various gags during the show.
The MonologueWhile Seth McFarlane layed on the theatrics in such thick globs for his monologue last year, Ellen DeGeneres took more of a classic route. The Oscar hosting veteran was sitting right in her comfort zone, flicking off nuggets of wit with ease and showing the world that she's definitely an old pro at this. Some of the best jokes included YELLING AT JUNE SQUIBB, insisting that she wouldn't bring up Jennifer Lawrence's mishap with a traffic cone before the show, and a 12 Years a Slave gag that really woke up anyone whose attention started to drift towards the end of the opening. Ellen delivered an self-assured and funny monologue that walked a fine line between gentle ribbing and hard hitting jokes. She wasn't wearing the kid gloves, but she wasn't pulling her punches either. Grade: A- (Sub-Tina/Amy, but good)
The Pizza GagIn what was the longest gag of the night, Ellen delivered a delightfully absurd routine about ordering pizza that ran through the entire show. Towards the beginning of the broadcast, DeGeneres asked the audience if they wanted to split a pie in what we thought was just a one-off joke. But later on in the show, the pizza actually arrived with Ellen and a delivery boy handing out slices to the denizens of Hollywood. It turns out that stuffy award shows really makes you hungry, and the audience seemed pretty ravenous, grabbing at the slices like pizza was some kind of foreign and novel concept to them all, designer dresses and tuxes be damned. (If you listened closely, you could hear Vera Wang screaming in the distance.) The bit returned for one last time when Ellen grabbed Pharell's mountie hat and askd for everyone to chip in. Harvey Weinstien forked over 200 bucks, but Brad Pitt could only manage a measly 20 dollars (get it together, Brad, you're on TV) and Lupita Nyong'o shared some lip gloss (that's Academy Award-winning lip gloss now). The joke might have overstayed it's welcome, but who knew celebrities would get so excited over pizza? They really are just like us!Grade: B+
Lottery Tickets for LosersAfter the Best Supporting Oscar was awarded to Jared Leto, Ellen wandered over to Bradley Cooper and gave him two whole lottery tickets as a consolation prize for losing the award, and a quarter (which she needs back) to use on the scratchers. The lottery ticket joke was a quick little diddy of a gag that fit snugly in with the theme of the rest of her show. We have exclusive info through some inside channels that Cooper reportedly won a "try again next time" from the tickets. Grade: B
The Selfie Tweeted 'Round the WorldWhen Ellen says she's going to take the most retweeted selfie ever, she's not joking around. The host enlisted Merryl Streep to take a selfie with her, which led to pretty much every actor in Hollywood crowding around a single phone to get into the shot. After some awkward jostling, and negotiating on who should actually take the picture (Bradley Cooper had the longest arms) the pic was finally taken and shared with the Internet, where it quickly broke Twitter. It was Streep's first tweet, and it dismantled an entire social network. The woman does have 18 Academy Award nominations, so I guess we should have expected her to be the best tweeter ever. #StreeptweetGrade: A-
Everything ElseEllen was never away from the screen for too long during the show, constantly popping up for a quick joke or two in between the awards and the near infinite amount of montages. She offered some quick riffs about her slew of outfits, bantered with bemused celebrities, and filled her time on screen with various non sequiturs that received good chuckles over just how cute yet slightly bizarre they all were. Some of them had us scratching our heads (exactly why was she holding a guitar while introducing Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis?) but on the whole, most of them worked wonders.Grade: B
OverallEllen hosted a fun and slightly off-kilter yet stripped down Oscars telecast that lacked the theatrics. She was consistent bright spot in an awards ceremony that went on a bit too long for comfort. Ellen had an easy confidence about the whole ordeal, and the bits didn't feel too forced or too self involved. Best of all, she made the awards fun for the celebrities in the audience, and actually made them relatable to those of us watching at home. Who can resist the allure of a selfie or a greasy slice of pizza? Not you or me, and certainly not Brad Pitt or Kevin Spacey. It wasn't outrageous like say, Seth McFarlane's gig last year, but it was certainly classic Ellen.Grade: B+
Katy Perry has kept another 2014 BRIT Awards performer off the top of the U.S. pop charts as her Dark Horse continues to gallop to victory. Perry performed the hit onstage at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday (19Feb14) as Billboard Hot 100 chart compilers back home announced the track had held onto the top spot for a fourth week, keeping Pharrell Williams' Happy in second place.
Williams will be hoping to take over at the top of the charts next week as he prepares to perform the Despicable Me 2 tune at the Oscars on 2 March (14).
Meanwhile, Jason Derulo's Talk Dirty stays put at three and A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera's Say Something and Drunk in Love by Beyonce - another BRIT Awards performer - round out the new top five.
Miranda Lambert and Tim Mcgraw will lead the way at the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards after scoring seven nominations apiece. The House That Built Me beauty will attempt to defend her title as the Female Vocalist of the Year after taking home the accolade for the past four years; she will compete against Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and double Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves, while the star is also in the running for Entertainer of the Year, a category which also features her husband Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Swift and George Strait.
Lambert is also up for Single Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Video of the Year for Mama's Broken Heart, which was co-written by Musgraves, and she has earned a double mention in the Vocal Event of the Year shortlist for her Keith Urban duet We Were Us and Boys 'Round Here with her band Pistol Annies.
Meanwhile, McGraw's Two Lanes of Freedom is nominated for Album of the Year, and Highway Don't Care will give Lambert a run for her money in the Single Record, Vocal Event and Video of the Year categories.
The Male Vocalist of the Year honour will be a fight between six-time nominee Urban, Bryan, Lee Brice, Shelton and Jason Aldean, while the acts up for Vocal Duo of the Year include Big & Rich, Florida Georgia Line and Thompson Square, and Vocal Group of the Year features Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry.
Bob Dylan has earned his first ACMA nomination for Song of the Year - he wrote Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum's hit Wagon Wheel.
The nominees were announced online by stars including Katy Perry and actress Beth Behrs, and the winners will be revealed at a ceremony on 6 April (14). Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will return to host the prizegiving from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Hip-hop star Pharrell Williams has beaten out Pitbull and Ke$Ha to reclaim the top spot on the U.K. singles chart with his song Happy. Pitbull and Ke$ha’s Timber ended Williams' run at the top - or so it seemed. He's back to begin another term.
Timber does just that and falls a spot to two, while Avicii’s Hey Brother is at three. Jason Derulo’s Trumpets and Fuse ODG's Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) round out the top five spots on the singles chart.
Meanwhile, on the albums chart, Ellie Goulding's Halycon stays put at number one, despite a charge from Beyonce's self-titled fifth studio album, which sits at two, and Gary Barlow’s Since I Saw You Last, which rounds out the new top three.