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Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Billboard 200 chart preview: Adele's '21' surpasses 7 million

Who else gets a Grammy bump? Whitney Houston's death spurs sales

 Like a tropical storm, Hurricane Adele just keeps getting stronger and stronger. Following her Grammy sweep on Feb. 12, her sophomore album “21,” will set all kinds of milestones next week. First it will celebrate its full year on the chart and it will do so at No. 1. In a nice twist, “21” will laud its 21st week at No. 1, which will give the title the most weeks at No. 1 (surpassing “The Bodyguard” soundtrack) of any album in the 20-year Nielsen SoundScan era.

And for the real news, “21,” after already selling 6.8 million copies in the U.S. is on track to sell up to 680,000 copies, making it the biggest week ever for the album. It’s never going to stop, is it? Not that we want it to. She will surpass the 7 million mark, making the album the biggest seller in the U.S. since Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts," released in 2005.

A fourth and final single from “21,” is coming: the stomping, rhythmic “Rumor Has It.” Its almost certain success will keep bringing new Adele fans to the table.  Her success also brings her first album, “19,” back into the top 10, as that 3-year old album will likely sell up to 90,000, according to Hits Daily Double.

On a sadder note, following her death on Feb. 11, Whitney Houston’s greatest hits soared back into the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 this week on sales of more than 60,000. That number climbs even higher next week, as “Greatest Hits” will rise to No 4 and move up to 90,000. (It’s a toss up between Houston’s “Greatest Hits” and “19,” as to which will end up at No. 4 and which will be No. 5).

Compilations also dominate the top 5. “Now That’s What I Call Music” and the “2012 Grammy Nominees” collection are in a dead heat for the No. 2 spot, with each slated to sell between 90,000-100,000. That’s a nice bounce for the Grammy set, which sold 55,000 this week.

Van Halen’s “A Different Kind Of Truth,” which bowed at No. 2 this week, will likely fall to No. 6. Both “Truth” and Paul McCartney’s “Kisses On The Bottom,” which came in at No.5 are too close to call for the spot, as both will sell between 60,000-65,000.

Rounding out the Top 10 are three Grammy winners and/or performers: Lady Antebellum’s “Own The Night,” the Grammy winner for best country album, will likely be No. 8, while performer Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” will capture No. 9 and Jason Aldean, despite his microphone malfunction while singing with Kelly Clarkson, will see his “My Kinda Party” rebound back into the Top 10, most likely at the bottom spot.


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<p>Brad&nbsp;Pitt in &quot;Moneyball&quot;</p>

Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Why it should be 'Moneyball'

No Best Picture nominee addresses the zeitgeist in more human terms

“We’re all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children’s game," a baseball scout says to a young Billy Beane in a flashback sequence in "Moneyball," one of this year's nine Best Picture nominees. "We just don’t know when that’s going to be. Some of us are told at 18, some of us are told at 40. But we’re all told.”

A “sports movie” is designed to follow a now familiar trajectory. There is an underdog (be it a group or an individual), an obstacle, a struggle, a conflict, a sequence where we believe that our hero will be forced to retreat and finally a life-affirming moment of triumph.

What is so fascinating about “Moneyball” is that it simultaneously follows and shatters those standards. It fundamentally disagrees with the overarching messages of the majority of sports films (just as its central character fundamentally challenged the way the financial team-building game of baseball was played). Many traditional sports movies either overtly or inherently deliver the message that our worth can be discovered, confirmed or solidified in one moment of victory and/or within the framework of a shiny, easily identifiable skill -- even if that skill is simply strength of will.

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<p>Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson of &quot;Fringe&quot;&nbsp;</p>
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Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson of "Fringe" 

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'A Better Human Being'

A strong episode for Anna Torv, but one that also missed some big opportunities
Know what? I like me some Anna Torv. I don’t say it enough, so I’m probably overdue in saying it. But watching her play a cool, calm, suddenly whole Olivia Dunham reminded me just how much I’ve missed that character on my television screen this season. So, do you reward a show for giving you what you want, or curse it for making you wait so long for it? That’s the choice before me with “Fringe.”
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<p>A scene from&nbsp;&quot;War Horse&quot;</p>

A scene from "War Horse"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Digging into the cinematography field

This has been bugging me. I'd say the two hardest categories to predict this year are, of all things, Best Costume Design and Best Documentary Feature. Guy worked through the former today, while I worked through the latter yesterday.

But Best Cinematography is also something I keep circling back around to. I can't figure out where the spoils will fall. I have 20 bucks on this with Anne, who is taking the same route just about everyone else is and expects ASC winner "The Tree of Life" to win.

It's obviously the safe call. And ASC has matched up with the Oscar winner 10 out of the 26 years it has been dishing out kudos. Lately it's been on a bit of an every-other-year pattern. Last year's ASC winner, "Inception," went on to take the Oscar. Not only that, of course, but Emmanuel Lubezki's work in "The Tree of Life" has nearly run the table with precursor awards and would have turned in a perfect score if BAFTA hadn't awarded "The Artist" and the North Texas and Utah crowds hadn't gone their own ways with "War Horse" and "Drive" respectively (and the former tying "The Tree of Life" at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards). That's a pretty powerful narrative that screams: This film is all about the visuals.

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<p>Chris Cornell</p>
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Chris Cornell

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Watch: Chris Cornell performs 'I Will Always Love You' for Whitney Houston

Soundgarden singer busts out the tune at a solo gig Thursday night

Well, who knew? It turns out Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell is a Whitney Houston fan. Last night, as his encore at his show at the Masonic Hall in SanFrancisco, Cornell sung a version of “I Will Always Love You,” accompanied himself on acoustic guitar.

It’s ragged and wooly, and we can’t tell if Cornell is reading the lyrics off a crib sheet on the floor, but it’s a lovely tribute. He never mentions Houston (or the song’s writer, Dolly Parton, by name), but there’s no mistaking to whom he is paying homage.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Viola Davis accepts the award for Best Actress at the 2012 NAACP&nbsp;Image Awards.</p>

Viola Davis accepts the award for Best Actress at the 2012 NAACP Image Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

'The Help' wins three at NAACP Image Awards

'Jumping the Broom,' 'Pariah' and 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' also awarded

The 43rd annual NAACP Image Awards were held this evening, and "The Help" was the big winner, taking down three prizes for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. "Jumping the Broom" also brought in two performances awards. Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>James D'Arcy and Andrea Riseborough in &quot;W.E.&quot;</p>

James D'Arcy and Andrea Riseborough in "W.E."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Costume Design

'Anonymous,' 'The Artist,' 'Hugo,' 'Jane Eyre' and 'W.E.' square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

If there’s one technical branch in the Academy that can be trusted above all others to prioritize the craft ahead of the film, it’s the costume designers: where others often merely check off consensus frontrunners, they routinely single out outstandingly costumed films with little to no buzz in any other race, whether it’s as highbrow as “I Am Love” or as downright dodgy as “Troy.”

They’ve certainly lived up to that reputation this year. Not only are three of the five nominees listed in this category alone, but two of them were widely panned by critics: nominating them seems a subtle assertion of independence on the voters’ part, particularly when they had the safer option of nominating less distinctive period garb from Best Picture nominees like “Midnight in Paris” and Costume Designers’ Guild nominee “The Help.” As is stands, only four of the Guild’s choices made the cut, as the Academy came to the rescue of arguably the baitiest threads of the bunch.

The nominees are...

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<p>Jason Mraz in &quot;I Won't Give Up&quot;</p>

Jason Mraz in "I Won't Give Up"

Today in New Music Videos: Jason Mraz, Lil Jon, Nas, Atmosphere

Red solo cups. Everywhere. Plus: Tyga, The Drums, K'Naan and more

Solo cups, the Toronto thug life, wolves and a tear-jerker: Here is a sampling of music videos floating around today, from Jason Mraz, The Drums, Lil Jon, Tyga and Atmosphere.

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Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Skrillex explains what lost boys do when they grow up in 'Bangarang'

Captain Hook has all the ice cream in Grammy winner's newest music video

How did Captain Hook get his hook? Skrillex has some idea.

The recent Grammy Award winner has released the music video for the title track to his brand new EP "Bangarang," and not only do things go bang: they go boom.

Lost Boys take the shape of the nasty neighborhood trouble-making kid-gang, those damn kids who kicked the back of your seat on the bus (cut it out). The local ice cream man -- who is, by the way, evil, because he eats too much ice cream and has a mustache -- is then hoodwinked by the crew. Fast-forward through some morally questionable upbringing, and you have all the handsome stars from your favorite new action film.

It's an entertaining spin on an old tale, though the violence may have you questioning your own sympathies for the ol' Hook Hand.

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<p>Promotional artwork for &quot;Iris:&nbsp;A&nbsp;Journey Through the World of Cinema&quot;</p>

Promotional artwork for "Iris: A Journey Through the World of Cinema"

Credit: Cirque du Soleil

84th Oscarcast beginning to take shape

Slowly emerging details indicate a self-reverential theme

Earlier this week, Michael Cieply wrote a thorough enough piece at The New York Times explaining what we know, but mostly what we don't know, about the upcoming Oscar telecast.

Typically by this time, we have things like stage sketches and quotes from the producers expressing various intents with the annual broadcast by this time. This year? Not so much (though it was announced they'd be yanking the original song performances).

In the wake of Ratnergate, perhaps the Academy has felt it better to just keep its head down, push through and get on the other side of things without drawing a lot of attention to the process. But producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer "have been conspicuously silent on [the show's] themes, challenges and the presumably fresh approach they will take," Cieply writes. Nevertheless, some things are now beginning to bubble up.

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Blink-182 celebrates 20th anniversary with tour

What's our age again?

May we be the 1000th person to say, “What’s my age again?” in reference to today’s news that Blink-182 will embark on a 20th anniversary tour this year.

Could it really be 20 years ago? The perpetual adolescents, some of whom are daddies now, will hit the road to celebrate two decades of arrested development on May 15 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., according to

The tour, will include stops at NJ’s Bamboozle fest, but so far most of the dates are in Europe.

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<p>Ricky Gervais and Warwick Davis in &quot;Life's Too Short.&quot;</p>

Ricky Gervais and Warwick Davis in "Life's Too Short."

Credit: HBO

Review: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's 'Life's Too Short' comes to HBO

'The Office' duo underwhelm with yet another celebrity-related mockumentary
When Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's showbiz satire "Extras" was coming to the end of its second and final season on HBO, Gervais told me that he felt he and Merchant had, between that show and the original "The Office," done as much as they could with the notion of people who will do anything to be famous.
"We're never going to do anything to do with media again," he told me, explaining that they were probably going to be done with it after "The Office," until they realized their newfound celebrity gave them a chance to do one more story on a higher level featuring cameos from their new pals. "It seemed right. We were fresh to it and we thought we had a fresh approach to it. We never would have done it if we couldn't find a new angle. There's no point in telling someone something twice. It's worth exploring the same themes -- relationships, wasting your life -- all of those things are worth because they're fundamental. It's not like humans have moved on, you know, 'We're going to give up relationships.' But we've pretty much, that's our Picasso blue period -- that's our fame period."
As it turned out, Gervais and Merchant weren't quite done with their fame period, after all. That second season of "Extras" was followed by a Christmas special that repeated some of the satiric points they had made on in the regular episodes, albeit at greater length and with more of a dramatic bent. And now the two have created "Life's Too Short," yet another mockumentary about a man — little person actor Warwick Davis (the lead Ewok in "Return of the Jedi" and Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films, among other roles), playing a debased version of himself — willing to suffer endless humiliation to hang onto his incredibly modest level of celebrity. (The first season already aired in the UK, and it debuts Sunday night at 10:30 on HBO.)
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