Nicki Minaj Becomes A Barbie For Real, Only Has Her Own Army Of Barbz To Thank

by (@kat_george)

It’s finally happened; Nicki Minaj, the self-proclaimed “Barbie,” has become a Barbie for real. And Nicki is suitably rapt by the homage, telling Billboard, “It shows that my Barbz are special, and everyone loves them as much as I love them, so I want to thank them, most importantly” (“Barbz” being Nicki’s ever-growing legion of fans).

Nicki might be surprised at Mattel choosing her to model a Barbie upon, but we’re not, and it’s not just the moniker that’s pertinent. With her pink hair, stable of wigs, brightly colored fantasy outfits and exceptional proportions, Nicki was always destined to be a Barbie. The limited edition doll will be auctioned via on December 7 and all proceeds will be donated to Project Angel Food in support of those affected by AIDS.

Nicki Minaj: Barbie Doll a ‘Very Major Moment’ for Me [Billboard]

Madonna To Play 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show, We Suggest A Dream Set (Hint Hint)

by (@kat_george)

It’s official! After months of rumors, Madonna has been confirmed to be the guest performer at next year’s Super Bowl halftime show. Obviously our whole morning has been dedicated to speculation — we want to know what Madge will play! Considering the release of her new album is expected next spring, hot on the heels of the February 5 Super Bowl, we’re expecting Madonna to play a few new tracks, but there’s got to be room for a few classics too, right? We’ve put together our dream set list, what’s yours?

“Give Me All Your Love”: We heard a leaked demo of “Give Me All Your Love” in November, and the complete track will feature Nicki Minaj and M.I.A, so not only are we thinking it’s going to be Madge’s next big hit, we’re sort of hoping she’ll bring the girls out for a Super Bowl cameo.

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MTV2’s Sucker Free Awards Honors Rick Ross, Celebrates Rap and Hip Hop’s Hottest Artists

by (@Lacezilla)

Last night, MTV2 debuted its first annual Sucker Free Awards. Taped in November at Sunday night hot spot LIV Fountainbleau Miami Beach, the 7-category award show’s party atmosphere was hosted by MTV’s Sway Calloway and featured interview packages of and appearances and performances by most of today’s hot hip hop artists.

Chiming in with their well-informed two cents was Sucker Free Countdown host DJ Envy, Hot 97’s Miss Info and Funkmaster Flex, Jersey Shore’s Pauly D., and Power 105/MTV2’s Guy Code commentator Charlemagne The God. On the heels of last week’s debated Grammy nominations, unconventional categories like Club Banger Of The Year (awarded to Jay-Z and Kanye’s “N***** In Paris”) and Who’s Got Next showcased hip hop’s progressive nature, often nodding at mixtape popularity and artist buzz to govern the nominations instead of full album releases. But albums did get their shine, too; the Classic Album Of The Year category managed to merge hip hop’s “we need a board” mentality with popular culture.

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Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures Is Released To Mixed Reviews And High Emotion

by (@kat_george)

The highly anticipated posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures was officially released today amidst mixed reviews and high emotion. Amy‘s father, Mitch Winehouse, has expressed how emotional the process of producing the album has been, saying, “The estate, which I’m a part of – my ex-wife and I – we could decide to put it out or not put it out, and when we went to listen to the album it was a very difficult time for us. It was very emotional.” It seemed, on all accounts, that the sheer poignancy of Amy’s death would be enough to carry the album, and to have it connect with her legions of fans and admirers. However, the album, now released, has been met with mixed reviews.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer calls Lioness: Hidden Treasures “sublime,” “nostalgic, wine-soaked heaven.” The Guardian, however, was not so forgiving, acknowledging that the album is revealing of Amy’s struggles, but that it is subpar considering the strength of Frank and Back To Black. Cynically, the Guardian review surmises, “Presumably it was felt that was what was wanted by the audience Lioness: Hidden Treasures is expected to attract: not the kind of diehard fans who normally flock to posthumous collections of out-takes and demos, but mainstream record buyers, Radio 2 listeners, the Christmas market. Which, of course, tells you something else about Amy Winehouse,” positioning the album essentially as a cash grab by Amy’s estate.

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Tuned In: The Black Keys Rock Saturday Night Live

by (@kat_george)

Die hard Black Keys fans the world over are wide-eyed in disbelief as the unassuming band is skyrocketing their way to rock superstardom, mainly because we’re just so used to their defiant, organic sound flying ever so slightly under the radar. But the attention is well deserved, as the Black Keys’ dedication to rock’n’roll is completely unwavering, their music consistently inspiring. Since they made meme status with the “Lonely Boy” dancer, it only makes sense that the next logical step is a second appearance on Saturday Night Live. Performing “Lonely Boy” and “Gold On The Ceiling,” the Keys shine, upping the ante for their contemporaries and giving rock authenticity a much needed renaissance. If you like what you saw on SNL, be sure to tune in tonight for MTV Hive’s‘s live stream of the Black Keys in concert from New York City, at 9 p.m ET/6 p.m. PT.

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Last Lap: Previously Unreleased Britney Song Borrows Liberally From Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”, Sounds Awesome

by (@kat_george)

La Isla BonBritney-ita
Perhaps in honor of her 30th birthday, the Britney Spears fansite BreatheHeavy posted a previously unheard and unreleased Britney track today called “Love 2 Love U.” This would be fairly unremarkable if not for the fact that the song borrows the beat and the vocal cadence of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.” Listen below, and CHA CHA! [BreatheHeavy via Idolator]

Justin Vernon Of Bon Iver Thinks The Grammys Are Unimportant And Don’t Mean Anything
Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon put the Grammys on blast, saying, “it’s just not important and people spend too much time thinking about it.” Yeah, he went there. Maybe he’s got a bee in his bonnet over collaborator Kanye West‘s Album Of The Year snub? [Pitchfork]

Trent Reznor And Karen O Cover “Immigrant Song”Nine Inch Nails front man and musical genius Trent Reznor teamed up with rock goddess Karen O to over Led Zeppelin‘s “Immigrant Song” for the Girl WithThe Dragon Tattoo movie soundtrack. And it’s really awesome. [Stereogum]

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Shearer’s Spotlight: Jim’s Favorite Non-Holiday Songs For The Holiday Season


Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

Jim ShearerIf you’re already sick of holiday music—especially since department stores have been holding Muzak systems hostage since Halloween—here is a list of non-Christmas songs that still give an essence of the holiday season. (Rest assured, this list was not complied by doing a quick Google search; all of the following tracks are quality tested and in rotation on my iPod.)

1.) “Starlight,” Muse
One of the best “big-rock” love songs of the 2000’s.

2.) “Fake Plastic Trees,” Radiohead
A tune that always comes to mind whenever I zigzag through a plastic tree display at a department store.

3.) “Toys Go Winding Down,” Primus
Behooves me that this song has yet to be exploited on various Christmas music compilations.

4.) “Walking With A Ghost,” Tegan & Sara
Ebenezer Scrooge can totally relate.

5.) “Snowflake,” Malachai
Malachai’s The Ugly Side of Love was my sleeper-hit album of last year, and this is my favorite track from it.

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Billboard Names Taylor Swift Woman Of The Year; Did They Make The Right Call?

by (@kat_george)

Billboard announced today that Taylor Swift was honored with their Woman Of The Year prize. Does this mean the 21-year-old country star can do more than just memorize all the words to “Super Bass”? You bet your ass it does.

This year, Taylor put on an unbelievable tour for her album Speak Now, won Entertainer Of The Year at the Country Music Awards, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in three categories. There’s no doubt that Taylor is an accomplished young woman, but does this qualify her to be Billboard’s Woman Of The Year?

That’s a decision we’ll leave up to you, the VH1 audience. Who do you think should’ve been named Woman of the Year? Make your voice heard by voting in our poll below!

Report: Rihanna Has Been Put Under “24 Hour Health Watch” After Suffering From Exhaustion

by (@kat_george)

Poor Rihanna. The 23-year old performer is in danger of being seriously over-worked on her 101 date world tour, with reports flooding in that her health is suffering. It has been reported that RiRi broke down backstage in Dublin in November, almost cancelling her show, so she’s been put under 24 hour health watch — meaning that she’ll be under constant surveillance and now has a curfew — in a bid to curtail her overwhelming exhaustion.

It’s no wonder the star has been run ragged. Her Loud tour, which has kept her on the road for the last ten months, hasn’t been the only thing taking up RiRi’s time: she’s appeared on The X Factor and The Grammy Awards Nominations concert; she’s been looking for love, blitzing the charts as well as releasing her newest album, Talk That Talk, mid-tour. All in all, it’s been a jammed packed year for the “We Found Love” singer. We hope RiRi gets a good night sleep soon, or at the very least, takes another relaxing vacation with the gals.

Rihanna Reportedly On 24-Hour Health Watch (VIDEO) [The Huffington Post]

Tony Bennett Sketches Lady Gaga Nude For Vanity Fair, The Two Have Themselves A Titanic Moment

by (@kat_george)

This month, as part of a Vanity Fair cover story, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga had themselves a Jack and Rose moment, albeit without the illicit romance. In Titanic, the devilishly handsome Jack sketches the unattainable Rose as she lies sprawled and naked before him. Before any nudity ensues, however, Rose asserts, “The last thing I need is another picture of me looking like a porcelain doll,” and we’re thinking the line could have just as easily slipped from Lady Gaga’s lips. Bennett’s charcoal rendition of Lady Gaga is stripped down and raw — Mother Monster without all the accoutrements we’re used to seeing her robed with. Bennett’s drawing, in short, is of a human girl we’ve yet to really see. And it’s beautiful.

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