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<p>Katy Perry arrives at the 2013 American Music Awards</p>

Katy Perry arrives at the 2013 American Music Awards

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Live blogging the 2013 American Music Awards

What do Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga have in store for us?

7:50 p.m.: The American Music Awards are the populist equivalent of the Grammy Awards. Voted on by the fans (via Twitter), the AMAs offer less prestige, but a looser, more fun evening. Katy Perry will open the evening with "Unconditionally," but expect the proceedings will be much less staid after that, especially with Pitbull at the helm as host. Who will be TLC's special guest? We're hoping Lady Gaga. How will Miley Cyrus capture the spotlight after twerking at the VMAs and lighting up a joint at the EMAs?

I'll be blogging the proceedings live, so please join me for the evening.

8:00 p.m.: And we're off! Katy Perry is recreating "Memoirs of a Geisha" for show opener, "Unconditionally."  Instead of focusing on the performance, all I can think about is how utterly exhausting it must be to have to come up with a different concept every time she performs. Guys don't have to do that. On my, now she's doing semaphore with a Japanese umbrella. Her voice sounded a little ragged, but it also seems like a tough song to sing.

8:06 p.m.: Pitbull is hosting this year, which is a smart move if they're trying to capture the Latin audience as well. And we've hit a low point 8 minutes in. Pitbull, who has been telling anyone who will listen for the last few weeks, that women have been twerking in Miami since  the '80s, so he's brought out a few women to demonstrate. Can this please signal the VERY end of twerking on TV? 

8:10 p.m. Taylor Swift, who looks stunning, presents best pop/rock male to Justin Timberlake, his fourth win in the category. Timberlake does a good job of acting humble and acting like he's 85 years old by commenting on this new-fangled thing called Twitter. Voting by fax is so 1985.

8:18 p.m. One Direction is performing its new ballad, "The Story of My Life."  The song deserves to be a hit. Musically, it reminds me of Phillip Phillips' "Home." It's a nice, stripped down performance with the five lads trading off singing lines on a spare stage. Harry Styles is having a good night singing live; Louis Tomlinson not so much.

8:22 p.m.: Artists have the choice of singing live of lipsyncing on the AMAs, and, it looks to me like Ariana Grande is lipsynching- or at least singing along with a track--to "Tattooed Heart," but I'm watching on a computer screen, so I don't have the best view. Regardless, she has a great voice. She wants to be Mariah Carey, and she needs to focus on being Ariana Grande because that's good enough. Where's Stuart Smalley  when you need him? Was she born when he was around? 

8:24 p.m.: How the heck is Ciara up for best soul/R&B female? Only one song from "Ciara" even made the R&B top 10.  The award goes to Rihanna, who is looking amazing, and who gives an awards speech thanking the fans delivered with the excitement I reserve for having to get a root canal.

8:36 p.m.: Drums are obviously the unifying theme of the night. After one was prominently featured in Katy Perry's opening number, Imagine Dragons go all Blue Man Group on stage bashing all manner of drums in a mash up of "Demons" and "Radioactive." The drums and band share the stage with all the dry ice available in Los Angeles. The band rocks far harder on stage than it does on the radio version of its songs.

8:38 p.m.: Taylor Swift wins best country album for "Red." She is so loyal to country radio even though she's really a pop artist, that I almost can't begrudge her the award. Luke Bryan, whom she beat, probably cannot say the same.

8:44 p.m.:  Akon and Michael Bolton present rap/hip hop album to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for "The Heist," who are on tour and in Miami.  Macklemore decides to make it a political moment and speak up against racial profiling since the band is in Florida, home of murdered Trayvon Martin. Ryan Lewis  is left to thank the fans. Appropriate forum to bring up this issue? Or since "Same Love," have M&RL become the self-appointed ambassadors of civil rights?  I agree with everything Macklemore says, just don't know if it's the right place.

8:50 a.m.: What has "Wake Me Up" wrought? How many dance/country hybrids are we going to see (not that "Wake Me Up" was the first.) Pitbull and a nearly unrecognizable Ke$ha in Daisy Dukes and boots perform their top 10 hit, "Timber," with country cuties line-dancing in the background. The dancing is a little 1998 and I'm sure that Luke Bryan is having a hard time not jumping up on stage, but I can't help it, I  like the song. Let's see how many times I can randomly mention Luke Bryan tonight.

8:57 p.m. Dave Grohl musters a nice golf clap as he and Joan Jett announce Imagine Dragons as winners of best alternative rock album. Then lead singer Dan Reynolds thanks Grohl and Jett, completely winning over Grohl. If you don't like Imagine Dragons, just go watch how they interact with their fans in the "Demons" clip, especially their biggest fan, a 17-year old boy who died of cancer. It will make you believe in the power of music.

9 p.m.: Marc Antony wins favorite Latin artist. who, apropos of nothing, wants to remind us to be alive, not just live. Hey, if Macklemore can quite MLK Jr., Antony can throw out any platitude he wants.

9:02 p.m.: Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids are performing a great version of the bluesy "Drink You Away," far and away the best tune on "The 20/20 Experience Vol. 2" and the best performance of the evening so far. I feel like I'm in a Memphis speakeasy. Man, that's a lot of people on stage. He just made everyone else but Imagine Dragons look like posers. Huge standing ovation.

9:12 p.m.: We have a showdown for best pop album between Taylor Swift and One Direction for best pop rock album (along with Justin Timberlake).And it goes to One Direction for "Take Me Home." Remember, it's fan voted...the AMAs shows admirable restraint by not getting a reaction shot from Swift.

9:14 p.m.: The Ceremonies intro Florida Georgia Line.Who are the Ceremonies, you may ask? They are three brothers from Los Angeles, who are managed by Troy Carter, who, until recently, managed Lady Gaga. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they were booked to present while Carter still managed Gaga, if you get what I'm hinting at here. FLG is performing "Cruise" for the 1,329th time this week alone, and yet they still manage to look happy about it. Nelly joins them and then they go into Nelly's "Ride With Me," which helps liven things up a bit, although between this and the line dancing in "Timber," makes me feel like the whole show is happening in some kind of time warp.

9:19 p.m.: Ariana Grande wins new artist of the year, which, along with One Direction's win for best pop/rock album,   goes to prove that the average demo voters is 12 and overwhelmingly female. Grande pulls her acceptance speech out of her cleavage and then manages to deliver it in record speed. Just made me like her even more.

9:26 p.m.: OK, WTF? Is Bill Maher presenting the Icon Award to Rihanna because he wants to sleep with her? There really can't be any other reason, can there? Is Robert Reich going to introduce Lady Gaga? Rihanna is performing "Diamonds." Or rather lipsyncs "Diamonds." Shouldn't icons be required to sing live? 

9:36 p.m.: "I can't believe that at 25 years old, I'm holding an Icon Award," says Rihanna after her mom presents her with the Icon award. It's a sweet moment and Rihanna has accomplished a tremendous amount in a relatively short period of time, but I'm with her... it's still too early for this kind of award. However, keep in mind that awards like the Icon Award are completely discretionary and can often be used to convince a superstar to show up and perform. I'm just saying...

9:42 p.m.: Did Justin Timberlake just sing along to his own song as he goes onstage to accept best soul/R&B male? He wants to talk about how cute Rihanna's mom is. Is it just me or is he coming off as a little bit of a jerk tonight? That was still a great performance though.

9:47 p.m.: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are performing "Can't Hold Us" with Ray Dalton live from Miami and it's a high energy shot of adrenalin. Another highlight of the night, but I'm blinded by my tears since I stupidly forgot to get tickets for their upcoming sold-out tour stop in Los Angeles.

9:51 p.m. Taylor Swift wins top female country artist. It's her 13th AMA award and if you are even a passing fan of Swift's you know that's her favorite number.

10:00 p.m.: Definitely an emphasis on the Latin audience tonight, which makes Jennifer Lopez's salute to the great Celia Cruz even more appropriate- as if you need a reason to pay tribute to the Queen of Salsa. Between the exhilarating dancing, Lopez's three costume changes and her performance (yes, she's lip syncing, but I'm giving her a bit of a break on that), it's a really fun spectacular.

10:02 p.m.: Florida Georgia Line and Nelly win the award for single of the year for "Cruise." It's a new award because the presenters say until iTunes, you had a buy a full album. Really? What do you call all those 45s I still have in my closet? 

10:03 p.m.: Sarah Silverman says what everyone else is thinking when  she remarks that two white guys (Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke, who's nowhere to be seen tonight) are competing against Rihanna for best soul/R&B album, as "The 20/20 Experience" wins. But after I just cut down JT a few paragraphs back, he comes back with a brilliant retort: "That's the first time I've ever been racially profiled by a white woman." Is racial profiling the theme of the night? Essays have been written about the continuing appropriation of black culture by white artists... there was a whole new round of them after Miley Cyrus twerked on the VMAs, so maybe for tonight, we just let Justin Timberlake enjoy the spoils of winning any award that One Direction isn't up for.

10:14 p.m. A Great Big World, or at least Ian Axel from the duo, performs "Say Something" with Christina Aguilera backed by a string section. It's beautiful. A Great Big World could be the next fun., and this song  could be as big as Pink and Nate Ruess from fun.'s "Just Give Me A Reason." I know I'm recommending a lot of ancillary homework tonight, but check out the video for "Say Something" if you haven't yet. Bring Klennex.

10:19 p.m. Kendrick Lamar performs a capable but hardly medley of "Swimming Pools" and "Poetic Justice." Kendall Jenner, who may or may not be dating Harry Styles, presents best EDM artist to Avicii. Why is he always wearing a cap when it's clear he's got a great head of hair? Stop it.

10:26 p.m.: Lady Gaga and R. Kelly play Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy (or in this case, President Kelly) in their performance of "Do What U Want" in a fake West Wing setting. All I can imagine is Kelly is looking up Lady Gaga's skirt while she's dancing on his desk. They simulated sex about 20 ways to Sunday on "Saturday Night Love" last week, but it looks lie the AMAs are making them use a little restraint as the cameras judiciously cut away when it looks like she's gotten down on her knees in front of him. There's rear projection of a Lady Gaga playing piano as a kid, while the adult Gaga finishes the song on top of a piano as newspaper stories about her being over scroll by. I think I need to digest this one for a second.

10:36 p.m.: Luke Bryan wins top country male over Justin Timberlake. Just kidding, he wasn't nominated in that category. He beats Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton. And he wins just in time for him to perform.

10:39 p.m.: One Direction wins best pop rock band/duo/group. I wonder what the difference is between a band and a group? Maybe a band actually plays its own instruments? See Ariana Grande's win for why this just happened. If you had to be 18 or older to vote ,tonight's results would look very different.

10:44 p.m. Luke Bryan performs "That's My Kind of Night," a song that has come to represent to critics everything that is wrong with mainstream country radio, while fans have crowned it as one of the most popular songs in country music history. Guess whose opinion Bryan cares about? 

10:47 p.m. TLC with Lil Mama, who played the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez in VH1's biopic are lipsyncing "Waterfalls." I don't know why they're even wearing mics. It's lovely to hear the song, which still sounds great, but the whole thing feels more like a karaoke performance  than anything else.

10:53 p.m.: Miley Cyrus having a computer generated, wide-eyes cat singing "Wrecking Ball" behind her may be one of most brilliant things I've ever seen just because it makes no sense. .She proves she can sing and still will get all the headlines tomorrow. My hat's off to her. I can't fight it anymore.

10:58 p.m: Taylor Swift wins artist of the year for the third year of the row. "If you voted for this that validates that we are heartbroken the same way... If you voted for this, we're pretty much in it together." And that is why Swift's fans love her.

11 p.m.: That's a wrap. There were some solid performances with no obvious disasters, but not enough water cooler moments that a show like this always relies on.

What did you think? 

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<p>Nicky and Kim of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Nicky and Kim of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Nicky & Kim talk 'The Amazing Race'

The Bunnies discuss avoiding elimination Marie's grudge
It took a lot to get Nicky Getz and Kim DeJesus out of "The Amazing Race."
 
They finished last in two Legs, but it happened that those Legs were a "Keep on racing..." Leg and a Non-Elimination Leg. Then, in this past Sunday's Leg, it took a burnt-out clutch on an early task, a U-Turn and a Speed Bump to finally push them so far behind the rest of the pack that they couldn't catch up. 
 
Still, when Nicky & Kim reached Phil Keoghan, they were all smiles, echoing their upbeat approach to nearly everything this season, or everything other than Kim's regular freakouts at height-based challenges.
 
The wives of major league baseball players Chris Getz and David DeJesus, Nicky & Kim made for a likable pairing and no matter what Marie thinks, we saw no evidence at all that they did anything wrong in getting on the standby list first in Brazil. 
 
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, Kim & Nicky talk about Marie's confusing grudge, Kim's acrophobia and some funny moments we never got to see on TV.
 
Full Q&A after the break...
 
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Josh Hutcherson and Bobby Moynihan

Josh Hutcherson and Bobby Moynihan

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Josh Hutcherson and HAIM

The star of "The Hunger Games" makes his debut as host
Look, Josh Hutcherson seems like a nice enough guy. And I understand he’s one-third of the love triangle in what is currently the biggest non-Marvel, non-“Star Wars” franchise around. So when I say I don’t know why he’s hosting, I want you to understand that I understand the business side, just not the creative side. If you want to pimp out “The Hunger Games”, there are probably a dozen other people in that film franchise that would generate more excitement as host than Hutcherson. Again: he’s a good actor, when the material is right. (Check out “The Kids Are Alright” if you don’t believe me.) And I hope I’m surprised by how well he does. But if the first half-hour consists of Panem-centric parodies and Hutcherson playing himself, strap in for a world of pain.
 
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"Doctor Who"

 "Doctor Who"

Credit: BBC America

'Doctor Who' review: 'The Day of the Doctor'

The 50th anniversary special more than delivered

The expectations for the 50th anniversary special episode of "Doctor Who" were, of course, outsized. After so many years (and so many doctors), we expected a sense of history, time travel, and, of course, adventure packed into a commercial-free hour and twenty minutes. We needed some details explained (though not everything -- "Spoilers!") and some new mysteries planted for the coming season. We needed a lot -- and, for the most part, we got it. While this wasn't the episode for "Doctor Who" newbies to jump in on, fans of the show were rewarded with allusions to the past -- lots of them.

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<p>Maggie Q of &quot;Nikita&quot;</p>

Maggie Q of "Nikita"

Credit: The CW

TV Ratings: 'Bones' rises, 'Nikita' struggles and 'Blue Bloods' leads CBS Friday

'Shark Tank' helps ABC tie for the key demo lead
Fast National ratings for Friday, November 22, 2013.
 
With "Blue Bloods" nearing its season high in all measures, CBS dominated Friday night overall, though with "Undercover Boss" airing a clip show of busted bosses in the 8 p.m. hour, ABC was able to tie for the nightly lead among young viewers.
 
The night offered encouraging numbers for FOX, which saw "Bones" get a decent bump in its second Friday, helping to give a boost "Raising Hope" above last week's premiere numbers as well.
 
The results weren't as encouraging for the return of "Nikita" for its final six episodes on The CW. The action drama outdrew "The Carrie Diaries," but lost to "Carrie" in most of The CW's preferred demos.
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>Eminem</p>

Eminem

Credit: Jason DeCrow/AP

Eminem's 'The Marshal Mathers LP 2' rises to the top of the charts again next week

The rapper resurges while four new albums bow in the Top 10


Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” will return to the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week, after dropping to No. 2 this week to make room for Lady Gaga’s “Artpop.”

“MMLP2” will sell up to 125,000, making it the only album next week projected to eclipse  six figures.

Four albums debut in a busy week as Five Finger Death Punch’s “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2” bows at No 2 (75,000-80,000). Newbies “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” soundtrack and the newest set from Daughtry, “Baptized,”  are duking it out for the No. 4 spot with chart vet “Duck the Halls” from "Duck Dynasty" family, The Robertsons, with all three titles selling in the 55,000-60,000 range.

The new set from Yo Gotti, “I Am,” and Kelly Clarkson’s holiday set, “Wrapped In Red” are both vying for No. 8 with sales between 40,000-45,000 copies.

Of the other returning vets, “Now 48” will be at No. 3 (65,000-70,000) and this week’s No. 1, “Artpop,” drops to No. 7 with sales of 50,000-55,000, according to Hits Daily Double. Coming in at No. 10 will be Katy Perry’s “Prism” (35,000-40,000).
 

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<p>&quot;Atlantis&quot;</p>

"Atlantis"

Credit: BBC America

Interview:Johnny Capps & Howard Overman talk 'Atlantis,' American 'Misfits'

Plus, a more recent 'Misfits' update from Josh Schwartz
This is a somewhat strange interview.
 
At the end of July at the Television Critics Association press tour, I sat down with Howard Overman and Johnny Capps to discuss their new BBC America drama Atlantis. At the time, the show was still early in production and all I'd seen was a three-minute clip reel.
 
The drama, a blending of traditional Greek mythology, history, time travel and fantasy archetypes starring Jack Donnelly, Mark Addy and Jemima Rooper, premiered in September on The UK's BBC One and in October on Canada's Space, but it doesn't launch until this Saturday (November 23) in the States. 
 
"Atlantis" was a success and has been ordered for a second season, but I still haven't seen an episode of "Atlantis." That isn't the way I normally conduct interviews, so my conversation with the creators is full of random  and speculative intellectual queries mixed with obvious plot-based stuff that I'm pretty sure would have been self-evident if I'd watched for a couple hours. Apologies. I think it's still an interesting chat with the creators, but I don't have a clue if these were the questions I'd ask today.
 
And speaking of that odd time warp, there's an even stranger thing in the second half of the interview, in which I talked with Overman about the American adaptation of his British smash "Misfits," which he had been working on with "The O.C." mastermind Josh Schwartz. In late July, that project hadn't been mentioned for a long while, but Overman insisted it was still alive, albeit in a bit of limbo because Schwartz had recently moved his Fake Empire banner from Warner Brothers TV to ABC Studios.
 
We talked a lot about the approach that he had taken to the American version of the edgy superhero dramedy, but there's one problem: Since late July, Schwartz and Fake Empire have ceased to be involved with "Misfits," so all of the specifics have become largely moot.
 
However, I liked that part of the conversation, because it gave insight into an interesting process, so I've left that portion of the Q&A, but I've added a few words from Schwartz on the parting of ways.
 
Somewhat strange.
 
Anyway, click through for the full conversation with Capps and Overman, with the "Atlantis" stuff on the first page and the "Misfits" stuff and Schwartz comment on the second page.
 
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<p>Aras of &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Aras of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Aras Baskauskas talks 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'

Former winner discusses Gervase's flip, his relationship with Vytas and more
Roughly 95 percent of my "Survivor" exit interviews are about unfulfilled castaway dreams and thwarted million dollar ambitions, but once upon a time in a land called Panama, Aras Baskauskas outpointed Danielle DiLorenzo and won the million dollar "Survivor" prize.
 
While returning players on "Survivor" are as common as in-episode cutaways to snakes, there's still some novelty to return appearances by former winners. Sandra Diaz-Twine remains the only two-time winner, but for maybe five moments on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water," Aras looked like he might have a chance to join her. 
 
Reunited with his estranged brother Vytas after the Merge, Aras seemed to have all of the pieces in place to steer a dominant alliance through the remaindered of the season. Of course, the thing about looking in control on "Survivor" is that other people see you and think you look like you're in control and try to take you out. Feeling excited and a bit cocky, Aras was immediately blindsided by a cabal including Tyson and Aras' best bud Gervase. Soon after, he lost a Redemption Island Duel and became the first member of the season's Jury, a far cry from finishing first overall.
 
In this week's exit interview, Aras talks about what brought him back to "Survivor," the current state of his relationship with Vytas, the downside of his friendship/alliance with Gervase and he plugs his current musical venture.
 
Click through for the full Q&A.
 
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Aasif Mandvi: Another 'Daily Show' star is headed to HBO

 

He's joining geopolitical crisis comedy pilot "The Brink," joining Tim Robbins and Jack Black. No word on if Mandvi is actually leaving "The Daily Show."

Daly has found a way to juggle his late-night show with "The Voice," "Today" and his radio show, but NBC is still considering rebooting the show.

The freshman drama will return with a 2nd season.

The "Gossip Girl" and "Leverage" alums will join "Grey's Anatomy's" Lauren Stamile on the medical drama starring Jason O'Mara.

Every show hit or tied a series low.

"I work for NBC television now and I’m not speaking to Jay Leno," said the shock jock.

***Note: My internet is down, so updates will be sporadic for the next few days.***
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<p>By the time all of this is done, I'm sure I'll have met every single person in this image, and at least two of them will probably drop a building on me.</p>

By the time all of this is done, I'm sure I'll have met every single person in this image, and at least two of them will probably drop a building on me.

Credit: Marvel Studios

How a universe full of superheroes totally ruined my life

A first-hand account by one man whose luck is an absolute marvel

This is not a typical piece you'd read here at Motion/Captured, but when it was smuggled out of a mental health facility in the UK and then sent to me, I thought it was important to share. I wasn't sure what I was reading at first, but once I understood, it seemed urgent that I help this man get his story out to the world.

Besides... I always wondered how this worked.

- Drew McWeeny

You have to listen to me. You have to help me.

They say I'm crazy.

It's not just inaccurate; it's rude. I'm not crazy. Or if I am crazy, I'm crazy because I've earned that right. You have no idea how strange my life has been. You have no idea the things I've seen. I've watched the world go crazy, little by little, and I think my reaction has been exceedingly sane, all things considered. If I tell you my story, you have to tell me what you think. You tell me what you would do if you saw and did and heard all of the things I have.

Has it really only been a little over a decade? Can the whole world change in just that amount of time?

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and what appears to be one half of Daft Punk in &quot;Catching Fire.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and what appears to be one half of Daft Punk in "Catching Fire."

Credit: Lionsgate

Tell us what you thought of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

The second part of the smash-hit franchise hit theaters yesterday

I haven't yet caught "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," but some films I look forward to seeing away from the press circuit in a multiplex environment, and this is one of them. I rather like Suzanne Collins' smart, straight-ahead literary franchise, and thought Gary Ross made a decent stab at realizing its story world last year, while leaving plenty to work on in terms of rhythm and visual flair. The critical consensus is that director Francis Lawrence (whose last film, "Water for Elephants," was actually kind of lovely) has made the necessary improvements, while Jennifer Lawrence, returning to the franchise as an Oscar winner, remains a committed Katniss Everdeen. (You can read Drew McWeeny's enthusiastic take here.)  

A number of you will have caught it by now, so are you with the critics? Does "Catching Fire" meet or exceed the bar set by its predecessor? And are you glad Lawrence is on board for the "Mockingjay" two-parter? Share your thoughts in the comments if/when you've seen it, and vote in the poll below.

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<p>Eminem</p>

Eminem

Credit: Interscope

Will we ever see an album sell 1 million copies in its debut week again?

Can Garth Brooks, Adele, or Taylor Swift make it happen?

What do albums that sell more than 1 million in their first week and the Western Black Rhino have in common?

Both are most likely extinct.

For the first time since 2009, no album in the U.S. will surpass the million mark in its opening frame. To be sure, Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” missed by only a whisper at 968,000 copies, but what is the likelihood that the watermark will ever happen again?  (We’re not counting Jay Z’s “Magna Carta, Holy Grail since it was given away to Samsung users). Eminem, who used to reliably sell more than a million in his first week, came in second this year with "The Marshall Mathers LP2," which sold 792,000 copies.

From 1998-2002, selling a million copies in first week of release was seen as a realistically achievable goal for superstars. Garth Brooks’ “Double Live” was the first to do so in 1998 (the first album to sell a million copies in one week was “The Bodyguard” soundtrack, but that wasn’t in its debut week- that was in the week after Christmas, which used to be the biggest sales week of the year for albums).

In 2000, five albums surpassed the million milestone in their first week, including ‘N Sync’s “No Strings Attached,” which sold a staggering 2.4 million copies in its debut week. Guess how many albums released in 2013 have sold more than 2 million copies TOTAL?  Just one. And that would be by former ‘N Syncer Justin Timberlake with the aforementioned “The 20/20 Experience.”

After iTunes launched in 2003, we still saw million sellers, but in fewer numbers. In fact, Taylor Swift has been keeping the tradition alive almost single-handedly lately. In 2010, “Speak Now” sold 1.047 million in its opening week. Last year, “Red” moved 1.2 million units in its debut week, the most since 2002, when “The Eminem Show” sold 1.32 million. In 2011, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” sold 1.1 million, but many of those sales came through a 99-cent album download promotion with Amazon. Such antics led to Billboard revising its policy and now an album must sell for at least $3.49 for its first six weeks of release to be on the Billboard 200. Follow-up "Artpop," which came out last week, sold only 258,000 copies in its opening week, far less than the 450,000 predicted.

So is iTunes to blame for the decline? In a word, yes. By offerings songs a la carte, iTunes has likely forever changed how people consume music and made them singles buyers instead of album buyers.. And as digital consumption continue to rise and physical consumption decline (2012 was the first year that digital sales surpassed physical ones) , we’ll see fewer albums with huge first week numbers, although some album artists still inspire loyalty.. Yes, when someone purchases 10 individual songs from a given album, that counts as an album sale (it’s called TEA- track equivalent album), but unless they buy the album outright the first week, the eventually TEA sale won’t count toward first-week numbers.

There’s another theory at work here and one that leads me to conclude that there may, just maybe, be another potential million seller this year.

In April, Chris Molanphy wrote a piece for NPR and coined what he calls The AC/DC Rule. That rule is that an artist’s first week sales are predicated not so much on the current work, but by how much fans liked the previous album and by how much they missed the artist. That explains why Timberlake sold 968,000 in his opening week after a six-year absence that left fans frothing for new material, even though first single “Suit & Tie” was far from a barn burner.

His uses AC/DC’s 1981 album, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You,” as proof of his theory. That album reached No. 1 in its third week on the chart (remember, this is pre-SoundScan's 1991 launch), after the far superior “Back In Black” peaked at No. 4. The success of “Back in Black,” with such songs as the title track and “You Shook Me All Night Long,” has fans salivating for new AC/DC. Part of "For Those About To Rock's" sales came from a promise delivered by "Back in Black" and people wanted more.

So that leads to is there anyone who could top 1 million again in his or her first week? The obvious contender is Adele, whenever her follow-up to “21” arrives, because that album has surpassed the 10 million mark, it appealed to both older and younger consumers, and we will all be craving new Adele by the time it shows up...whenever it may be.

As for the rest of 2013? The only superstar names with albums still coming are One Direction, whose “Midnight Memories” comes out Tuesday (25), Britney Spears with “Britney Jean” on Dec. 5, and Garth Brooks with “Blame It All On My Roots,” an 8-CD/DVD box set on Thanksgiving.. I’m betting on Brooks.

One Direction will likely sell around 500,000, a very healthy number. But despite their rabid fan base and ticket-selling prowess, 1D aren’t mainstays at radio here and they need more radio play to reach beyond that base to sell more.

Spears is probably good for no more than 250,000-300,000.

Brooks, however, is the wild card. He’s the top selling solo artist in U.S. history and these are his  first new albums since 2001. The set consists of four CDs of newly-recorded cover songs, many of which he’s been singing in his Las Vegas show; the other 2 CDs are his greatest hits-- which will appeal to all the new fans he made since his Las Vegas show started in 2009. The two DVDs are of the Las Vegas show.  There is pent-up demand for new material from Brooks and he is also selling the full box set for $24.96, which is about as good a deal for the consumer as you will ever get.

On the downside: The set is available only through Walmart and none of it will be made available digitally as Brooks is the one remaining superstar who does not sell his material  via iTunes or any other online store. Secondly, the album isn’t available until Thanksgiving Day, so he loses half the sales week since Nielsen SoundScan’s survey runs Monday-Sunday. Third, there’s no single from the box set yet, so radio listeners aren’t necessarily aware that there is new material to buy, although his two-hour CBS Special on Nov. 29 should help solve that.

Regardless, if Brooks doesn’t make it, our last best hope to add to the list of the 20 or so albums that have achieved the Million Mark in their first week will be new Adele and new Taylor Swift. After that, such feats will only live in the record books. 

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