Lady Gaga Officially Releases 'Born This Way'

Streamline/KonLive/Interscope(NEW YORK) -- It all started back in September, when Lady Gaga announced the title of her second album at the MTV Video Music Awards: Born This Way.

Ever since then, Little Monsters worldwide have been dying to get their hands on the disc that Gaga boasted would be "the greatest album of this decade."  The hype was amped up when, at the stroke of midnight this past New Year's Eve, Gaga confirmed the album's release date: May 23.  And that day has finally arrived.

By now, most Gaga fans have heard the album -- it leaked last week, right before she was scheduled to stream it online for European fans.  She's also officially released about half the tracks, either on iTunes or via her deal with the online game FarmVille, including "The Edge of Glory," "Fashion of His Love," "Electric Chapel," "Judas" and the number one hit title track.

After performing on the season finale of Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Lady Gaga will continue her media blitz with appearances on The View and The Late Show with David Letterman on Monday. She'll also appear on the finale of American Idol on Wednesday, and will be the focus of an MTV special called Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside, which will air Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

On Friday, she'll perform on ABC's Good Morning America as part of the show's summer concert series.

In addition, to maximize Born This Way's sales, Hits magazine reports that the disc will be sold in 21,000 non-traditional retail stores, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Hot Topic, Mandee's, Starbucks, and Radio Shack.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Billboard' Music Awards Recap: Justin Bieber and Eminem Win Big

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage(LAS VEGAS) -- Britney Spears made her mark at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night, performing not once, but twice at the Las Vegas event.

She surprised the crowd by joining Rihanna on stage to open the ABC broadcast.  They duetted on Rihanna's hit "S&M," grinding against stripper poles and engaging in pillow fights with male dancers while wearing skimpy leather outfits.  It was certainly a provocative way for Billboard's awards show to end its five-year hiatus.

In the third and final hour of the broadcast, Spears returned to the stage to work the remix of her hit "Till The World Ends" with her tour partner, Nicki Minaj.  Before Spears showed up, Minaj performed "Super Bass" while surrounded by a crew wearing similar blonde wigs.

Beyoncé's career was celebrated with the presentation of the Billboard Millennium Award.  First lady Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, U2's Bono and Beyoncé's parents were among those who shared kind words about her in a videotaped tribute.  It was followed by her live rendition of her new single, "Run the World (Girls)."  She then accepted her award, thanking her family, husband Jay-Z and the members of Destiny's Child, including the ones who left the group before they really hit it big.

A paparazzi-worthy moment came when Justin Bieber accepted the award for top new artist.  He kissed Selena Gomez immediately following the announcement, providing the first televised confirmation that the two are dating.

Bieber was the big winner at the awards show, along with Eminem: each artist received six trophies.  Bieber's victories came in the categories for top new artist, top social artist, top streaming artist, top digital media artist, top pop album and top streaming song.  Eminem picked up awards for top artist, top male artist, top Billboard 200 album, top rap artist, top rap song and top rap album.

Neil Diamond was the recipient of the Billboard Icon Award.  He closed the show by serenading the crowd with his hits "Sweet Caroline" and "America."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'You Light Up My Life' Songwriter Found Dead in NYC Apartment

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Songwriter Joseph Brooks, best known for his Academy Award-winning hit “You Light Up My Life,” was found dead of an apparent suicide in New York City on Sunday. reports that Brooks was found in his Manhattan apartment on the couch with a plastic dry cleaning bag around his head, a towel wrapped around his neck, and a hose leading from the plastic bag to a tank of helium.  He was 73.

New York Police spokesman Paul Browne said a friend who was supposed to have lunch with Brooks discovered his body around 12:30pm.  A note was left from the songwriter, but police have not revealed its contents.

Brooks was arrested in 2009 and pleaded not guilty to rape charges.  He was awaiting trial on some 82 counts of sexual abuse stemming from charges that he sexually assaulted more than a dozen young actresses after he lured them to his apartment by promising them movie roles.

Brooks' son, Nick Brooks, is also awaiting trial on charges that he strangled his girlfriend in a hotel last year.

A medical examiner will perform an autopsy on Brooks to officially determine the cause of death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Taylor Swift Tornado Benefit Show Raises $750,000 in Ticket Sales

Jordan Strauss/WireImage(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Taylor Swift opened the final dress rehearsal for her Speak Now North American tour to fans Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.

Proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales all went to the tornado relief effort in Alabama.

During the concert, Swift told the crowd, "We don't have the final tally yet, but we do know that so far just based on tickets alone, you have raised over $750,000."

As for the show itself, Swift's Speak Now show is her most highly-produced presentation yet.  Kicking off with "Sparks Fly," the singer's new set features a ton of pyrotechnics, costume and set changes, elaborate dance routines and even Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics and a full onstage ballet routine.

Over the the two-hour show, Swift played all but one of the songs from the Speak Now album, switching between ukulele, banjo, guitar and piano throughout the night.  Staples from her catalog, such as "Our Song" and "Love Story," rounded out the song list.

Swift's Speak Now tour launches in North America Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Katy Perry Sad After Husband Kicked Out of Japan

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Katy Perry was left heartbroken in Japan after her hubby Russell Brand was booted from the country over the weekend.

He went to Japan to visit her during her tour but, according to tweets from Perry, he was deported due to unspecified incidents involving Brand over 10 years ago.

She wrote on Twitter, " husband just got deported from Japan. I am so. sad. I brought him all this way to show him my favorite place...But of COURSE I ♥ my Japanese fans & the show #MUSTGOON no matter the daily aftershocks or husband kidnappings!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Pirates' Take Control of Box Office

Comstock Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ruled the box office over the weekend, raking in an estimated $90.1 million.

The second most popular movie according to weekend box office estimates was Bridesmaids, which took in $21.1 million.

Thor ($15.5 million), Fast Five (10.6 million) and Rio (4.7 million) round out the weekend's top five at the box office, in that order.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Actor Jeff Conway Hospitalized, in Critical Condition

AbleStock[dot]com/Hemera Technologies(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor Jeff Conaway is in critical condition at a Los Angeles hospital.

His manager, Phil Brock, said Thursday the 60-year-old actor was found unconscious on May 11, with initial reports citing a drug overdose - possibly from painkillers - as the cause of the hospitalization.

Celebrity Rehab's Dr. Drew Pinksy came to Conaway's defense Friday, tweeting, "Just visited Jeff Conaway. He is stable & looks like he will recover from his pneumonia.Not an OD like press is alleging & certainly not dead"

Dr. Pinsky also clarified the initial reports that Conaway was in a coma, tweeting that the actor is in an induced coma on a Propafol drip.

"Pneumonia with sepsis. No evidence of intentional OD."

In 2008 Conway appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab series, where he admitted his addiction to cocaine, alcohol and painkillers and talked about his sexual abuse as a child and his co-dependent relationship with his addict girlfriend Vikki.

During his second season on the show, Conaway left rehab before graduation and was seen taking painkillers after he arrived home.

Conaway began acting on Broadway at age 2, but it was his role as Danny's sidekick Kenickie in Grease that earned him fame.

He went on to star as out-of-work actor Bobby Wheeler in Taxi.

After a number of television and film appearances, he landed another series playing Sgt. Zack Allan on Babylon 5.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stephen Colbert Super PAC Hits A Snag

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In April, late night comedian Stephen Colbert launched a "super PAC," the newest form of political fundraising committee, allowing him to reprise his previous efforts to lampoon the outsized role of corporate money in American elections.

But over the past month, what started as a humorous dressing down of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark campaign finance ruling in the case of Citizens United has turned into a unexpectedly serious look at the complexities of the way the government regulates political spending.

In recent days, campaign lawyers of all stripes have weighed in on the legal issues facing Colbert's super PAC, and the comedian himself had to hire a high-powered Washington election lawyer to try and resolve whether talking about his fundraising committee on his late night show, The Colbert Report, could create legal headaches for Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom.

Colbert has even sought formal guidance from the Federal Election Commission on several tricky legal questions. Though when he arrived in Washington to submit his request to the regulatory panel, he made it abundantly clear this is still more about laughs than anything else.

The real issue facing the FEC is whether the air time Colbert uses to promote his super PAC could be legally construed to be an in kind corporate contribution, and if so, whether Viacom will be forced to try and determine how much that air time is worth.

Election lawyer Trevor Potter is trying to join his client in straddling the line between yuks and genuine legal questions. Potter has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to help clarify Viacom's legal responsibilities and has even appeared on Colbert's show to loft softballs for easy punch lines.

"Can you name anyone who has gone to jail for breaking the law with their PAC?" Colbert asked Potter on a recent episode.

"Not a person," Potter replied.

"Ah," Colbert shot back. "That's my kind of law!"

Scott Thomas, a former FEC commissioner, said his former FEC colleagues have a challenge on their hands. Some aspects of Colbert's filing are clearly going to be tough to take seriously. But there are implications, he said, for other political figures who make partisan appeals on television news shows.

"Depending on how the FEC rules, this could turn into a green light for Fox or MSNBC to start to allow personalities to actively solicit donations on their shows," Thomas said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Billboard Music Awards Air Sunday Night on ABC; Rihanna Leads Nominations

Island Def Jam(LAS VEGAS) -- The 2011 Billboard Music Awards will air Sunday night, May 22, on ABC, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  Rihanna leads the nominations for the awards with a whopping 18 nods, including top artist.  Eminem has 16 nominations, Lady Gaga has a dozen and Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber have 11 nominations each.

The show will feature some interesting musical collaborations -- Mary J. Blige and Lil Wayne will team up for a number, while Far East Movement will join Ryan Tedder from Onerepublic and Snoop Dogg for, respectively, the songs Rocketeer and If I Was You (OMG).  In addition, Pitbull will perform Give Me Everything with Ne-Yo and Nayer.  Also, Train frontman Pat Monahan tweeted on Thursday that there would be some sort of "sweet" opening number that he would be a part of.

Other performers on the bill include Ke$Ha, Cee Lo Green, Lady Antebellum, The Black Eyed Peas, Nicki Minaj and Taio Cruz.  Presenters include Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Randy Jackson, Joe Jonas, Kelly Rowland, Scott Weiland, Matthew Morrision, Keri Hilson and Trey Songz, among other.

Beyonce will receive the Billboard Millennium Award for her work "as an innovative artist who is defining her times."  Neil Diamond will receive the Billboard Icon Award, which honors "an enduring legend in music."  Both artists will also perform.  The awards will be hosted by Hangover star Ken Jeong.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Katy Perry's Tour Demands: 'Absolutely No Carnations' & No Talking to Her

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- The Smoking Gun website has gotten hold of Katy Perry's tour rider, the list of backstage requirements -- some say demands -- that an artist makes when they hit the road.  Katy's is pretty specific, not so much when it comes to food, but when it comes to flowers, of all things.

The rider states that in her dressing room, Katy must have "white and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies." If those flowers are not available, the rider says that Katy will accept a "selection of seasonal white flowers, to include white orchids."  But there's one particular blossom promoters are forbidden to put in the dressing room -- the rider says, "ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS,” all caps, underlined.  In addition, Katy specifies that her dressing room must be draped in cream or soft pink, and furnished with "French ornate style" floor lamps, a refrigerator with a glass door and "two cream-colored egg chairs, one of which should have a footstool."

When it comes to her hotel, Katy insists on a presidential suite in a five-star hotel, with free breakfast and Internet.  One entire page of the rider is dedicated to instructions for her driver, including the fact that he or she isn't to "start a conversation with" or "talk" to Katy, nor "stare at" her in "the backseat through the rearview mirror."  And, of course, no asking for pictures or autographs.  The rider also specifies that the driver's side window must always be "halfway down" at each pickup and drop-off.

As for her backstage food requests, Katy likes Pinot Grigio wine, dry-roasted salted edamame, organic fruit and freeze-dried strawberries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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