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MTVThe MTV Video Music Awards have given us plenty of controversial moments, but this year, show organizers hope that in addition to the usual wardrobe malfunctions and onstage feuds, the stars will throw politics into the mix.

"By all means, in a political year, we’re counting on artists to take this moment and address young America and give them some point of view of what’s going on in the world," says MTV executive Erik Flannigan.  But of course, he admits they're also counting on big musical moments, like one from performer Britney Spears.

"I think she knows what her history is," Flannigan tells ABC Radio. "She’s walking into the building knowing what she’s done on this show before. So, just as [important as] it is for us to top ourselves, I know it is for her [too]."  Flannigan says Britney's performance of her latest hit "Make Me" will be "unprecedented."

Rihanna will take home the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award on Sunday, and Flannigan says, "We’re gonna see a lot of different Rihanna looks – not just visually but musically. And the way you see it appear through the show is gonna be a little bit different too."

This year, for the first time, the VMAs are being held at New York's Madison Square Garden.

"The moment you’re inside Madison Square Garden, you’re at a different level," Flannigan says. "So in some ways, I think this is a show that leans into the history of the building...we’re gonna take advantage of every single inch of it."

Flannigan's also excited that U.S. Women's Gymnastic Team members, as well as Michael Phelps, will be on hand as presenters.  "I think they’re gonna be the ones who everyone wants to take a picture with," Flannigan laughs. "Celebrities included!"

The MTV VMAs air at 9 p.m. ET Sunday night.

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ABC/Randy HolmesThis fall, the third season of Empire returns -- and none other than "The Voice" herself, Mariah Carey, will make a guest appearance on the show. 

In a new trailer, Mimi is shown in two scenes as a singer named Kitty.

"You always got a trick up your sleeve," Mariah says to Cookie in one portion of the video. 

Further in the trailer, she sings next to actor Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in the television drama.  

The five-time Grammy winner has worked with Empire's creator, Lee Daniels, before, with roles in his films Precious and The Butler.   

FOX's Empire returns September 21 at 9 p.m. ET.  

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Safehouse Records/Island RecordsChord Overstreet, the first artist signed to Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato’s record label, released his debut single today. The guitar-driven ballad, called “Homeland,” was written as an ode to the small town outside of Nashville where Chord grew up.

“’Homeland’ was inspired by all the times I feel homesick,” the singer explains in a statement.  “I was thinking about where my dad taught me to drive in the small town where I'm from.  I’ve gone back there recently, and although everything in the near surroundings has been built and grown, my small town remains the same.”

Chord got his big break on the TV show Glee, on which Demi also guest-starred. Last year, he signed with Safehouse Records, which was founded by Demi, Nick and their manager, Phil McIntyre.

Nick tweeted about Chord’s new single today, writing, “So pumped for my friend [Chord Overstreet] and the release of his new song Homeland!”

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Credit: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images for CoachellaBefore he hooked up with Sia for some "Cheap Thrills" -- their #1 collaboration -- the last time Sean Paul was #1 on the pop charts was a decade ago.  He tells Billboard it was an "amazing feeling" to be back in the spotlight.

"For the ten years that I was not being on those charts you would hear the question: ‘Where have you been? You went away.' No. I'm always in the studio. I'm always touring," the reggae star tells Billboard. "Maybe I'm not on the big shows that you see on your TV, but I'm always touring. That's how I keep this whole thing alive. Those ten years were spent wisely doing every collaboration that I could that made sense."

As for the Sia duet, Sean Paul says she approached him with the song and he thought, "What a big sound, nice hook and melody she had put down."  He adds, " I'm a huge fan of her voice. She spans generations. My mum is a big fan of her voice and her songs and writing."

Sean Paul, who also recently guest-starred on new singles by MAGIC! and Jay Sean, says of Sia, "I can't believe “Cheap Thrills” is the only song that she's had that went to number one on the charts. When I heard that I was shocked. I could have sworn that she’d had other songs at number one because I'd heard them so much on the radio and TV. For me, she’s been a number one artist for a long time."

Sean Paul just signed a deal with Island Records, and plans to release new singles this fall.

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Getty Images via ABCCoinciding with her scheduled MTV Video Music Awards performance Sunday, Ariana Grande is debuting the music video for her latest single, “Side to Side,” featuring Nicki Minaj.

The video will premiere on Guess.com, the website for the iconic clothing brand GUESS. Ariana will be wearing GUESS’ new athletic line in the clip, and viewers will have the chance to shop looks inspired by her outfits in the video.

The music video premiere will help launch GUESS Music, a joint project between GUESS and Republic Records that aims to bring together the worlds of fashion and music.

Ariana and Nicki are set to deliver a debut performance of “Side to Side” at the VMAs Sunday. The ceremony airs live from New York’s Madison Square Garden at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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Craig Sugden/CBSAdele’s rapping skills were good enough to win her an award. The singer picked up TV Moment of the Year at the Edinburgh International TV Festival for her rendition of a Nicki Minaj rap during her episode of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke.”

She flawlessly recited Nicki’s verse in the Kanye West hit “Monster” for the segment, which aired in January. Her “Carpool Karaoke” went on to become the most popular “Carpool Karaoke” on Twitter, as well as the most viral late-night video since 2013.

Even Nicki approved of Adele’s rapping. "Pull thru, QUEEN!!!!! #Adele," Nicki tweeted. "#Monster the attitude & fingers to match. #Oh #Ok #IcoNic."

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Kevin Mazur/WireImageUsher dropped by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night to promote his new film, Hands of Stone, but while there he made a big announcement regarding his new album.

The singer revealed that his latest effort, Hard II Love, is now available for pre-order on iTunes. Scheduled to be released September 16, it's comprised of 15 tracks. The complete track listing has not yet been revealed on iTunes.

Hard II Love is the follow-up to Usher's 2012 disc, Looking 4 Myself.

While you await the album's release, you can check out Usher in Hands of Stone, in which he plays boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard opposite Edgar Ramirez's Roberto Duran.

Usher noted the intense preparation he put in for the role. "I trained for a year, boxing. And in preparation I really wanted to understand what it was to think, move and feel like a boxer," he explained. "I had to lose about 20, 25 pounds, I ate for my blood type.

"You can play any sport. But you can't play boxing," he emphasized.

Hands of Stone, also starring Robert De Niro, is in theaters now.

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ABC/Ida Mae AstuteTaylor Swift has already donated a million dollars to Louisiana flood relief.  Now she’s opened her checkbook once more to help out the residents of Baton Rouge.

The Baton Rouge Food Bank posted a photo on their Instagram Thursday showing the staff holding a sign that reads “Thanks, Taylor!”

“@taylorswift donated $50,000 to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank!” the photo’s caption reads. “The #laflood destroyed our warehouse but we are going to shake it off!”

The Salvation Army thanked Taylor as well, tweeting, “Thank you @taylorswift13 for helping us serve the #LouisianaFlood survivors by donating to our relief efforts! #DoingTheMostGood.”

 

Thank you @taylorswift13 for helping us serve the #LouisianaFlood survivors by donating to our relief efforts! #DoingTheMostGood

— Salvation Army USA (@SalvationArmyUS) August 26, 2016

 

In a statement to ABC Radio last week via her rep, Swift noted that Louisiana residents "made us feel completely at home" when she and her touring crew launched the U.S. leg of her 1989 World Tour in the state last year.

Swift added that it’s "heartbreaking" to watch people be forced out of their homes, and encourages people to "help out and send your love and prayers" to flood victims.

The widespread flooding killed at least 11 people and damaged over 40,000 homes.

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Sonja Flemming/CBSCoinciding with the Friday release of her new album, Glory, Britney Spears appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden Thursday night for a brand-new edition of “Carpool Karaoke.”

Dressed in a black lace top and sporting a black choker and black sunglasses, Britney played coy with Corden when he asked her what one of her most famous songs, "Oops!... I Did It Again," is about. “I think it’s just a song,” she replied, before the duo launched right into it.

When the conversation turned to kids, Britney announced that she wants three more -- she already has two boys -- saying she just has to “find the right guy first.”  When Corden pressed her about what she’s looking for in a man, Britney said, “I think I might not ever go to men again…” before clarifying that she’s not going to marry anyone because she doesn’t believe in marriage anymore.

Corden and Spears belted out “Womanizer” before working out her new song, “Make Me…” from Glory.

Corden then asked Britney about aliases she uses to check into hotels.  Britney said she has tons of aliases, including “Anita Dick,” which made Corden laugh hard.  

A brief version of “Toxic” was followed by a conversation about spanking and bondage, with Britney saying  one of her friends told her about a new form of bondage that involved tickling -- for men.

Spears and Corden wrapped the segment with a duet on “Baby One More Time,” with Corden attempting to replicate Spears' vocal trills. 

Glory was released at midnight. Spears will be performing "Make Me..." at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday.

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MTVThe Best New Artist nominees for Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards include four actual newcomers, and a guy whose first VMA nomination came seven years ago: Joe Jonas.

As a member of the Jonas Brothers, Joe got his first VMA nods in 2008, but since he's in a new band, DNCE, he's eligible again. "It’s kind of bizarre to be nominated for Best New Artist, ‘cause I feel like I’ve been around for a minute. But that’s I guess a good thing," he tells ABC Radio. "It’s showcasing that this is a new experience for me."

The "Cake By the Ocean" hitmakers are up against Lukas Graham, Zara Larsson, Desiigner and Bryson Tiller, which is why Joe says, "I honestly would be shocked if we won, because all the artists nominated are incredible." 

Lukas Graham Forchhammer, frontman for Lukas Graham, says if his band ends up winning, they plan to "strip on stage...while I freestyle rap and then we’re going on a five-week bender."  Lukas Graham is also playing the MTV pre-show: not bad for a guy who grew up in Denmark and never watched the VMAs.

"We’re sitting right next to the big stars of our [time] and that’s...pretty amazing," he tells ABC Radio.  But the Danish singer has other things on his mind besides awards: his first child is due in less than a month.  "I’m gonna go back home and practice changing diapers," he laughs.  

Performers on Sunday's telecast include Rihanna, who's getting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, as well as Britney Spears, G-Eazy, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Ty Dolla $ign, The Chainsmokers and Halsey.  

The 2016 MTV VMAs will originate from New York's Madison Square Garden for the first time, and the fun starts at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday night.

Here are the nominees for Sunday night's show:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Adele -- “Hello”
Beyoncé -- “Formation”
Drake -- “Hotline Bling”
Justin Bieber -- “Sorry”
Kanye West -- “Famous”

BEST FEMALE VIDEO
Adele -- “Hello”
Beyoncé -- “Hold Up”
Sia -- “Cheap Thrills”
Ariana Grande -- “Into You”
Rihanna ft. Drake -- “Work” (short version)

BEST MALE VIDEO
Drake -- “Hotline Bling”
Bryson Tiller -- “Don’t”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna -- “This Is What You Came For”
Kanye West -- “Famous”
The Weeknd -- “Can’t Feel My Face”

BEST COLLABORATION
Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar -- “Freedom”
Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign -- “Work From Home”
Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne -- “Let Me Love You”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna -- “This Is What You Came For”
Rihanna ft. Drake -- “Work” (short version)

BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO
Drake -- “Hotline Bling”
Desiigner -- “Panda”
Bryson Tiller -- “Don’t”
Chance the Rapper featuring Saba -- “Angels”
2 Chainz -- “Watch Out”

BEST POP VIDEO
Adele -- “Hello”
Beyoncé -- “Formation”
Justin Bieber -- “Sorry”
Alessia Cara -- “Wild Things”
Ariana Grande -- “Into You”

BEST ROCK VIDEO
All Time Low -- “Missing You”
Coldplay -- “Adventure Of A Lifetime”
Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato -- “Irresistible”
twenty one pilots -- “Heathens”
Panic! At the Disco -- “Victorious”

BEST ELECTRONIC VIDEO
Calvin Harris & Disciples -- “How Deep Is Your Love”
99 Souls ft. Destiny’s Child & Brandy -- “The Girl Is Mine”
Mike Posner -- “I Took a Pill in Ibiza”
Afrojack -- “SummerThing!”
The Chainsmokers ft. Daya -- “Don’t Let Me Down”

BREAKTHROUGH LONG FORM VIDEO
Florence The Machine -- The Odyssey
Beyoncé -- Lemonade
Justin Bieber -- PURPOSE: The Movement
Chris Brown -- Royalty
Troye Sivan -- Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy

BEST NEW ARTIST
Presented by Taco Bell
Bryson Tiller
Desiigner
Zara Larsson
Lukas Graham
DNCE

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORIES
Presented by Orbit Gum

BEST ART DIRECTION
Beyoncé -- “Hold Up”
Fergie -- “M.I.L.F. $”
Drake -- “Hotline Bling”
David Bowie -- “Blackstar”
Adele -- “Hello”

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell – “WTF (Where They From)”
Beyoncé – “Sorry”
FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X”
Florence The Machine – “Delilah”

BEST DIRECTION
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Coldplay – “Up&Up”
Adele – “Hello”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Tame Impala – “The Less I Know The Better”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Adele – “Hello”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Alesso – “I Wanna Know”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

BEST EDITING
Beyoncé – “Format
Adele – “Hello”
Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Coldplay – “Up&Up”
FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X”
Adele – “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”
Zayn – “PILLOWTALK”

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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for WalmartRobin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have made a filing in an appeal of the copyright infringement verdict in the "Blurred Lines" case.

An opening brief filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal on Wednesday calls for either the verdict to be overturned or a new trial.

Lawyers contend that jurors were only supposed to consider whether or not Thicke and Williams improperly copied notes from the sheet music to Marvin Gaye hit "Got to Give It Up" for their song, "Blurred Lines."

"What happened instead," according to court documents, "was a cascade of legal errors warranting this court's reversal or vacatur for new trial."

The filing alleges a judge gave jurors several improper instructions during the trial, which ended with Gaye's family being awarded more than $7 million -- later lowered to $5.3 million.

The Gaye family also received a 50-percent interest in ongoing royalties from "Blurred Lines."

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Jun Sato/GC ImagesJustin Bieber helped his rumored girlfriend Sofia Richie celebrate her 18th birthday in a West Hollywood club on Wednesday night.

"Justin arrived with his guy friends around 10 p.m. Sofia joined him later and they stayed until after 1 a.m.," an clubgoer tells People magazine. "They sat separately and had big groups with them."

The entertainment magazine reports that a day earlier, the model posted a Snapchat from a doctor's office and complained, "Of course I'm sick [the] day before my birthday.. Anything else want to go wrong?"

That reportedly didn't stop her from dining with friends that night. 

The 22-year-old "Sorry" singer and Sofia, the daughter of Lionel Richie and Diana Alexander Richie, were first spotted holding hands earlier this month.

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Aaron Richter shot exclusively for BillboardShawn Mendes might not be as innocent as he looks. In a new cover story with Billboard, the singer admits he once hooked up with an older woman.

The 18-year-old says one of his new songs, “Patience,” "is about a girl older than me who I hooked up with, but the next day was so scared because of how young I was. I have a sore spot for older people who are weird around younger people."

He also says he feels weird about being called a sex symbol -- unless, of course, he’s in a relationship. "Being a sex symbol isn't cool unless you're in love with a girl and she calls you a sex symbol," he says.

But as of right now, Shawn tells Billboard that sex has been “impossible” with his current schedule. He may not be bringing girls back to his bus just yet, but he also wants to be able to grow up without scrutiny. He uses his fellow Canadian, Justin Bieber, as an example of how tough it can be to go from a teen pop star to an adult pop star.

"Stop looking at him in a negative view and accept him as who he is,” Shawn says. “We don't get mad at punk rock bands for doing s*** like [he does], because that's their personality. I just find it very confusing."

Shawn's new album, Illuminate, comes out September 23.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images via ABCLast year, Meghan Trainor revealed she'd written and recorded a song with Harry Styles of OneDirection, but she didn't say when, or if, we'd ever hear it.  Well, we'll finally get our chance in October -- except Harry isn't the one singing on it.

Michael Buble told ET Canada he's recorded the song, called "Someday," as a duet with Meghan on his upcoming album, Nobody But Me.  "For the first time ever, I’ve recorded an original [song] that I didn’t write,” he added.

Michael praised Meghan as the "most talented 21-year-old in the world," and raved, "Listen, she’s a great singer and a great entertainer. What [people] may not know is what an incredible writer she is, what an incredible musician she is, [and] the fact that she’s a bada** producer.”

Nobody But Me comes out October 21.

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Image Group LA/ABCEarlier this year, Taylor Swift was announced as the headliner for the 2016 U.S. Grand Prix. Now, she’ll have some company. The Weeknd has signed on to perform during the final day of the three-day Formula 1 racing event.

He’ll be taking the stage at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas to play a full concert on Sunday, October 23. All Sunday ticket holders will have access to The Weeknd’s show.

As previously confirmed, Taylor is set to perform a full concert after the end of track activity on Saturday, October 22. The event kicks off October 21.

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Lester Cohen/Getty Images via ABCRihanna plans to give viewers a whole lot to talk about Sunday night after her scheduled appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Rih Rih will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award during the televised event, but instead of giving a speech, she'll instead perform to honor herself, the show's executive producer, Jesse Ignjatovic, tells Entertainment Weekly

"If we're talking on Monday the 29th or after the show Sunday, everyone will be surprised with what she's done to make this honor her own and something that's extremely impactful," says Ignjatovic. "I can tell you it's going to be one of those 'holy crap' VMA moments. She's not playing. She's bringing it," he adds. 

Rihanna's got good company. Previous Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award winners include MadonnaKanye WestBeyoncé and the late Michael Jackson himself.

The MTV Video Music Awards airs live Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. 

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Michael Tran/FilmMagicIf you were hoping for a steel cage death match between Taylor Swift and Kanye West at this Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, you're out of luck: Taylor's not coming.

People magazine reports that even though the singer's been hanging out in New York City lately, she was "never scheduled to attend," says an insider.  One reason may be that she's not actually nominated for anything this year.

Kanye and his wife Kim Kardashian will be there, though.  Among his many nominations, he's up for Video of the Year for "Famous," his controversial video that features wax replicas of a number of celebrities, including Taylor, naked in bed.

Kanye, Kim and Taylor are currently embroiled in a feud over the fact that Kanye and Kim released audio of a phone call they'd had with Taylor which proved that the pop superstar had foreknowledge of Kanye's plans to mention her in the song "Famous."

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images via ABCMadonna knows how to make an entrance. The singer surprised an audience of about 400 people Wednesday night at a 25th anniversary screening of her tour documentary, Madonna: Truth or Dare.

The Queen of Pop, wearing a red off-the-shoulder dress, showed up unannounced at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, where the screening was taking place.

"She came out to support Alek Keshishian, her longtime friend and director of the celebrated documentary," a source tells People.

Madonna also took the time to interact with fans and pose for photos. Her daughter, Lola, was there too.

"Surreal Moment! At the MOMA!!" Madonna wrote on Instagram. "So nice to watch a film in a museum. So many freedoms we take for granted that we did not have then. Thank you Alek Keshishian. We changed history with this film."

Madonna: Truth or Dare was first released in May of 1991. The then-controversial documentary followed the singer as she embarked on her Blond Ambition World Tour.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Surreal Moment! At the MOMA!! So nice to watch a film in a museum. So many freedoms we...https://t.co/fsLeHhBlFB pic.twitter.com/vcuk7Ea9AF

— Madonna (@Madonna) August 25, 2016

 

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Frank ApollonioThe MTV Video Music Awards line-up is really coming together. The Chainsmokers will be performing “Closer” with Halsey at this Sunday’s ceremony.

They join previously announced performers Britney Spears featuring G-Eazy, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas featuring Ty Dolla $ign, and Video Vanguard honoree Rihanna.

“Closer” is nominated in the Song of Summer category, while The Chainsmokers' previous single, “Don’t Let Me Down,” is up for Best Electronic Video.

The VMAs air live from New York’s Madison Square Garden on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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Francesco CarrozziniOneRepublic take a trip South of the Border in the video for their new single, "Kids."

The clip, set in Mexico City, follows a teenage girl who goes out on the town and catches the eye of a teenage boy, who follows her around looking for an opportunity to talk to her.  They both end up on balconies on opposite sides of the street, and he throws a paper airplane at her.  Finally, they both come down to the street and stare into each others' eyes, at which point he grabs her hand and leads her through a crowd to a stage where OneRepublic are performing.

The story of young love goes with the lyrics, which find Ryan Tedder reflecting on his reckless youth, singing, "Back when we were kids/Swore we would never die."

The band is also planning a "3D, 360-degree virtual reality experience" version of the "Kids" video in the near future.

"Kids" is the second song released from OneRepublic's upcoming album, which the band has just announced will be titled Oh My My and will be out October 7.

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