Grace Potter Says VH1 Divas “By Far The Biggest Thing We’ve Ever Done”

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In a nationally televised concert that included some of the biggest names in pop (Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj), a smaller rock band from Vermont with a vintage blues/soul twist grabbed the spotlight and turned it on its head. The event was VH1 Divas Salute the Troops, the band Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. We asked the Nocturnals’ gorgeous frontwoman Grace Potter about her show-stealing experience, and she told us performing at VH1 Divas is “by far the biggest thing we’ve ever done.” Apparently, the social media and search engine stratospheres agreed. Almost immediately after their high-energy set aired, including their recent hit “Paris (Ooh La La)” and a duet with veteran rockers Heart (“Crazy On You“), the term “Grace Potter” shot to #5 on Google’s hot searches and lit up Facebook and Twitter, ultimately crashing Grace Potter’s website under a strain of heavy referrals.

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Exclusive: Nicki Minaj Raps “Right Thru Me” On VH1 Divas (10-Second Miniclip)

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When we first tweeted from VH1 Divas Salute the Troops rehearsals and then for the taping of the show last Friday, it was Nicki Minaj fans who seemed most hungry for details. Known sometimes as barbz, her fans were happy (and unsurprised) to that hear Nicki killed it in rehearsals, sounding so good on the mic it was easy to see why she’s already earned the Queen of Hip-Hop title in a relatively short time on the scene.

Her fans also lapped it up when we reported that Nicki Minaj would duet with Katy Perry (“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) and perform “Right Thru Me” for TV and do “Roman’s Revenge” and “Moment 4 Life” just for the troops. But they also wanted to know what she wore, what she said, and what her hair looked like (a giant blond wig).

So it’s not surprising that Nicki fans were not too pleased after the show aired last night and we couldn’t release any of her performances online due to rights issues. This 10-second clip of Nicki rapping will give you a small taste of her VH1 Divas gig, and a chance to glimpse that behind move in a mini-dress! Catch VH1 Divas on repeat airings (tomorrow at 11:30am and 4pm EST) to see Nicki’s full set.

Bonus #1: Nicki Minaj’s Top 20 Most Bootylicious Pics

Bonus #2: Nicki Minaj’s VH1 News interview (and pics) after the jump!

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Last Night’s Bag O’ Clips

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On VH1 Divas Salute the Troops, Katy Perry proved during her “Firework” performance that…

…if you can get away with dressing like Jessica Rabbit, you should dress like Jessica Rabbit.

And on the Season 2 premiere of Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business

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VH1 Divas: Katy Perry And Nicki Minaj Doin’ It For The Troops

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Entertainment Tonight hung out with us yesterday at rehearsals for VH1 Divas Salute the Troops and talked to the performers to find out what the show means to them and why they’ve decided to be a part of it. Aside from having always wanted to visit a base, Katy Perry said it’s not like a “regular” concert.? “It’s a concert with heart and with purpose and I love doing things with purpose.” Katy’s Divas duet partner Nicki Minaj (SPOILER: They’re teaming up for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) is performing for her aunt, who’s a career army gal, and all troops because they “risk their lives for us.” Said Nicki: “This is definitely one of my most meaningful performances.”

Host Kathy Griffin, who became a veteran at entertaining troops by touring the Middle East, said the men and women in uniform “just want to let off some steam.”?Judging by Kathy’s stand-up routine at rehearsals, we’re pretty sure she’ll help them let of plenty of steam when the show tapes tonight. (SPOILER ALERT TWO: Lindsay Lohan and Bristol Palin are definitely on Kathy’s hit list!) [Photo: Getty Images]

Watch VH1 Divas Salute the Troops on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 9/8c. Entertainment Tonight clips after the jump!

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T.I. Tells The Story Behind “No Matter What”

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In this exclusive outtake performance that was recorded for (but won’t end up making the final cut of) VH1 Storytellers: T.I. (premiering Friday, December 10 at 11/10c), our man talks about the origin of the Paper Trail ballad “No Matter What.” As he relays to the crowd, he wrote the track in light of the shabby treatment he received from people he considered friends after his weapons arrest in 2007. Instead of writing the typical T.I.P. “ghetto anthem,” he went for something “that no matter how much you don’t like T.I., you have to sit and listen and learn from it.” So do that now, if you haven’t already.

VH1 Divas 2010 Sneak Preview: Here’s What The Dresses For The Opening Number Look Like

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As we lead up to this weekend’s airing of the VH1 Divas 2010 special on Sunday night at 9/8c, we thought we’d give you a sneak peak at a sketch of the outfits that Keri Hilson, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj will be wearing during the event’s opening performance. These dresses were designed by the renowned duo The Blonds, a hot fashion team perhaps best known for dressing Katy in her “California Gurls” video and making Miley’s giant peacockian bird of prey costume come to life in the video for “Can’t Be Tamed.” If these outfits look this cool in a sketch, we can’t wait to see the ladies wearing them on stage on Sunday night!

Be sure to follow @thefablife on Twitter all weekend long for VH1 Divas 2010 exclusive sneak previews of rehearsals, behind the scenes commentary and more, all coming to you live from San Diego.

VH1 Storytellers: T.I. – Watch A Preview

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Above is a clip of T.I. explaining and performing his classic “Rubber Band Man” for his VH1 Storytellers special, which airs Friday, December 10 at 11/10c. If you thought that his song was about a dude obsessed with office supplies, you thought wrong! Really wrong.

But admit it: you thought that.

VH1 Divas Adds Brandy, Snooki and The Situation

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VH1 Divas Salute the Troops, airing Sunday at 9/8c, just got a little more interesting with Snooki and The Situation joining the lineup as presenters. Also presenting are VH1′s Brandy, hottie Marisa Miller and comedian Jeffrey Ross.

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart are new additions to the performer lineup, which includes Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Keri Hilson, Paramore, Sugarland and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Kathy Griffin will serve as host. Full press release after the jump.

In other Divas-related goodness, Old Navy is calling upon its customers to help keep U.S. troops stationed around the world connected to their loved ones at home during the holidays. As part of Operation Phone Home, minutes can be bought in-store or online at OldNavy.com from Dec. 3-9. Get all the details.

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Keri Hilson Talks About Her Tomboy Style, Loving Discount Stores

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While gearing up to perform for VH1 Divas Salute the Troops on Dec. 5, Keri Hilson swung by VH1′s offices to school us in fashion and take us through her outfit — from head to toe. We were a little bit surprised to hear the “Pretty Girl Rock” singer say she never likes to be “too girly.” Sure, we remember how stunning Keri looked rocking cut-off jeans and a wife-beater in the video for “Knock You Down.” But never?

“My fashion philosophy is to be myself, which is the tomboy within,” she says. “Even when I’m wearing heels there’s a certain masculine meets feminine factor.”

Even more surprising: the Grammy Award-winning Avon spokesmodel claims to “love” discount stores, including Marshalls, Ross Dress for Less and T.J. Max. “I’ll be looking through the racks right next to you,” she says. “And shoot you a smile.” Whoa, now that would knock us down. [Photos: Jen Marigliano]

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VH1 Divas Salute the troops will air Sunday, Dec. 5 at 9/8c. Additional performers include Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Paramore, Sugarland, and Grace Potter?& the Nocturnals. Keri’s new album, No Boys Allowed, will be released Dec. 21.

Nicki Minaj Blows Rihanna’s Mind. Does She Blow Yours?

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Since we’re keeping tabs on our VH1 Divas Salute the Troops performers (tune in Dec. 5), we can’t ignore all of the fuss surrounding Nicki Minaj‘s debut Pink Friday, released today to mixed reviews. Some critics are praising Nicki for taking listeners of her alter ego-packed album on a fantastical journey that fuses hip-hop and pop. And while Nicki has been the equivalent to a pinch hitter as a guest rapper, hip-hop purists say Nicki’s bringing too much sugary pop to Lil Wayne‘s Young Money record label.

Judging from a recent VH1 News interview, we’re guessing Rihanna will not be among those in the hip-hop community that have a gripe. “Nicki is a rapper … and has all of these quirky melodies and lyrics,” said Rihanna, who first worked with Nicki while making Rated R. “Then she started sending me these crazy ballads. It just made me say, ‘What the heck, you wrote that s*** too?’”

Have thoughts on Nicki Minaj or Pink Friday? Leave them in the comments section. And don’t miss VH1 Divas on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 9/8c.