As the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards gears up to take place on Aug. 28, there are likely many surprises in store for the show, especially since the network celebrated its 30th birthday this month. But there's one surprise revealed this week that viewers may not have been expecting — the show will go on this year without a dedicated host. Could MTV be taking a page out of the GRAMMY Awards' book by putting on a hostless show, or does the network feel it couldn't match last year's host, comedian Chelsea Handler, who was unexpectedly "impregnated" onstage while hot tubing with the cast of "Jersey Shore"? As the cliché goes, the show must go on, and it will. The show is already chock-full of performances, including GRAMMY winners Beyoncé, Ne-Yo, Adele, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Lil Wayne, among others. Speaking of surprises, the Fame Monster seems to have something up her sleeve. "I'm really very honored and excited to open the show," said Gaga. "But I won't reveal anything; I want it to be a surprise." At the 2010 MTV VMAs, Gaga showed up in a meat dress, and she arrived encased in a large egg at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in February. What will she do next? "I'm pretty good at knowing what my fans want me to do," said Gaga.
In related Lady Gaga news, the GRAMMY-winning artist is taking a trip to Springfield, Ill., but it's not for a continuation of her Monster Ball tour. Gaga is set to appear in an upcoming episode of "The Simpsons" in a special installment titled "Lisa Goes Gaga," in which Gaga comes to Springfield to save the day after learning the town is suffering from low self-esteem. How does Gaga feel about joining Marge, Homer, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and the rest of the animated cast? "I would say this is one of the coolest things I've ever done," Gaga told Entertainment Weekly. "My dad's probably going to do 80 backflips when the episode comes out." We're sure Gaga will do great, and the episode probably will be one of the coolest things she's ever done, but what will her advice be for the town of Springfield? We can guess she'll probably say, "D'oh, baby, you were born this way."
For some recording artists, scoring a hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 might be considered lucky. It could be argued that those scoring multiple hits are good. But if an artist is really good, they might end up on a list of banned songs. That's where Katy Perry, Take That and Lady Gaga, among others, found themselves upon the release of the China Ministry of Culture's list of 100 banned songs. Gaga's "Judas," which name-drops the apostle who betrayed Jesus, made the offensive grade as did Perry's No. 1 hit "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," a romp that weaves between "skinny-dipping in the dark" and a "ménage à trios." A peculiar song on the list is Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," a song ripe with sentiments of innocent love and devotion. Perhaps government officials were offended by this recent Chinese cover on YouTube? If you are fluent in Chinese, you can view the entire list here.
At first glance, crying is probably the most un-metal thing a metal musician or fan could do. But maybe crying will emerge as the hot new trend in metal now that Metallica have shown it's OK to show a more vulnerable side. The GRAMMY-winning metal unit has collaborated with fellow GRAMMY winner Lou Reed for a left-field project, Lulu, which is due Nov. 1. During the recording sessions, the camps were working on a song titled "Junior Dad" and Reed's lyrics sent Metallica vocalist James Hetfield and guitarist Kirk Hammett grabbing for the Kleenex. "[He] managed to take out both guitar players in Metallica in one fell swoop with his amazing poetic lyrics," Hammett told UK's Mojo magazine. "I had to run out of the control room, and I found myself standing in the kitchen, sobbing away. James came into the kitchen in the same condition. He was sobbing too. It was insane." The song struck an emotional chord with Hetfield and Hammett due to the former's father abandoning him when he was 13 and the latter still grieving over the recent death of his father. So while there may be no crying in baseball, Metallica have proved that tears are the new metal.
In arguably more startling metal news, with dark chestnuts such as "Tourniquet," "Coma White" and "Death Song" to his name, one would think Marilyn Manson is infatuated with all things gory and gruesome. But in a surprising turnabout, guitarist Dave Navarro has revealed that the Antichrist Superstar is positively frightened by the sight of blood. "It freaked him out," Navarro told Q magazine. "He would get his assistant to put on rubber gloves and clean it up. I thought it was funny to be able to freak out Marilyn Manson." No stranger to a cover song, Manson has put his spin on songs such as AC/DC's "Highway To Hell," Eurhythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love." But we're betting against a cover of the Rolling Stone's "Let It Bleed" anytime soon.
Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" is tops on the Billboard Hot 100 and Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" featuring Christina Aguilera is No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.
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