Ziona’s ‘Invited’ Is an Invitation You May Wish to Decline

Ever since Rebecca Black scored a ‘hit’ with ‘Friday,’ the end of the work week always makes us think of videos we wish we’d never seen. And on that note, please allow us to introduce you to Ziona.

We don’t know much about her backstory — and frankly, there isn’t enough money in the PopCrush vault to make us try and find out — but according to the intrepid souls at Oh No They Didn’t!, Ziona is “a girl who has tried to get known by doing make-up videos.” Having apparently rolled snake eyes on that goal, she has moved on to something like a recording career.

The first fruits of Ziona’s musical labors (or at least the first we’re aware of, and again, totally not trying to find more) are ‘Invited,’ the vertigo-inducing miracle of lab-engineered pop that we’ve thoughtfully embedded above. If you’ve ever wondered why there aren’t more rompers, groping and wildly suggestive leers, or backyard pool dances in modern videos, well… for better or worse, here’s your answer.

If you manage to make it all the way to the end of the song and you come away feeling like it sounds familiar, there may actually be a good reason: Chelsea Handler paid ‘tribute’ to Ziona during a recent episode of ‘Chelsea Lately,’ using the clip as the setup for an admirably elaborate gag involving a gaggle of romper-bedecked dancers. Check it out below, and just try to keep ‘Invited’ out of your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome!

A$AP Rocky Talks Suicidal Thoughts on ‘Phoenix’ Track

Depression is a condition affecting a widespread percentage of Americans on a daily basis, but the social stigma attached to it — and the lack of resources afforded our public mental healthcare system — means it’s often swept under the rug. On his debut album ‘Long.Live.A$AP,’ rapper ASAP Rocky is doing his part to raise awareness.

Rocky discussed the topic during a recent interview with MTV (embedded above), delving into the dark thoughts that inspired his song ‘Phoenix.’

Reflecting on the lyrics “Bloody ink on my pad spelled suicide / Michael Jackson even passed cause you scrutinized,” Rocky told the network, “Those are natural feelings that we all get sometimes. You hurt so bad and you’re going through so much pain to the point where sometimes you don’t even wanna live anymore. That’s how a lot of people think, whether we’d like to admit it or not and that’s all I was showcasing. It was that emotion… suicidal kinda emotions.”

As MTV’s report points out, ‘Phoenix’ comes at a poignant time in the hip-hop community, given the recent suicides of rappers Capital STEEZ and Freddy E. And for Rocky, it’s all about shining a light on a subject too many of us would rather ignore.

“I’m not glorifying it at all,” he concluded. “I’m just basically telling you that sometimes I have suicidal thoughts. And maybe I should seek help, or maybe it’s not that deep.”

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OneRepublic’s ‘Native’ Slated for March Release

OneRepublic
Michael Kovac, Getty Images

OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder’s busy career as a songwriter and producer for other artists has been keeping him tied up for the last few years, but he hasn’t given up his day job — and the band will prove it on March 26 when they release their third album, ‘Native.’

Tedder opened up about the new record in an interview with Billboard, expressing his excitement about making a fresh start with the band and saying, “We’re stoked to actually have this thing come out because we haven’t put out an album in three years now and frankly I don’t really want to do that again. I think the world’s changed, musically and that’s like the worst thing you can do as an artist today is to just disappear for three years. To just go away.”

The album’s first single, ‘If I Lose Myself’ (embedded below) made its public debut during the band’s performance on ‘Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve’ on Dec. 31, and although it was selected by committee, Tedder told Billboard it still ended up being the only logical choice; as he put it, “Fortunately everyone came to the same conclusion about what should be the lead single.”

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Little Mix Sign With One Direction’s Label

They’re already a huge sensation in their native U.K., but the ladies of Little Mix are ready to cross over to the United States in a big way — and they’ve just signed the record deal that’s supposed to make it happen.

The group is now a member of the Columbia Records roster in the U.S., joining fellow ‘X Factor‘ vets (and Simon Cowell clients) One Direction in making the jump across the Atlantic to the Sony-owned label. (As fans are already well aware, Little Mix member Perrie Edwards boasts another 1D connection — she’s in a relationship with Zayn Malik.)

“We want to show everybody what we’re about and bring out our first single over here,” enthused Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall during a recent interview. Explaining how they chose their first Stateside single, she added, “‘Wings’ is the perfect introduction to Little Mix and what we’re all about, so we can’t wait to show it to everybody in America!”

“We wanted our first single to be a song that meant something to us, but also meant a lot to our fans,” added fellow group member Jesy Nelson. “We wanted an uplifting message about believing in yourself, listening to what your mum says (because she’s always right!) and just not letting any negativity bring you down.”

Little Mix have a long way to go in the States before they reach the same level of success they’ve enjoyed in the U.K., where their faces have been emblazoned on a wide variety of tie-in products, but ‘Wings’ (embedded above) could be the start of a beautiful friendship with American pop radio.

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The Game Gives Marijuana Law Advice to Justin Bieber

Some of us might be up in arms regarding those recent photos that purport to depict Justin Bieber joining the doobie brothers, but don’t worry, Justin — the Game ain’t mad at ya.

TMZ reports that the Compton-based rapper was on a hike when he was approached by the paparazzi network’s omnipresent cameras and asked to offer his thoughts on the Bieber brouhaha. “Let’s keep it real,” scoffed the hoodied Game. “There’s a lot of people in high positions … who smoke a little weed sometimes.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean Game is condoning the use of controlled substances by superstar Canadian teenagers, but he understands. “I’m not saying it’s okay … but [Bieber] made a mistake,” he added. “Forgive him. Let him go through the growing pains of his life.”

After kicking it on the surprisingly compassionate tip, Game proceeded to drop knowledge on another front, suggesting that if Bieber is going to continue toking up, he should probably look into getting a good old-fashioned marijuana card — in other words, a “prescription” for whatever “medical condition” is creating Bieber’s need for weed. Under California law, medicinal marijuana can be prescribed for a wide variety of ailments — including anxiety, which sounds pretty perfect for a young pop star who’s always being pursued by mobs of people. Perhaps a visit to the doctor is in order?

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Blake Shelton + Adam Levine Dish on New ‘Voice’ Coaches for Season 4

Anyone who was worried that the influx of new coaching talent on Season 4 of ‘The Voice‘ might disrupt Adam Levine and Blake Shelton‘s incessant joshing can officially set their minds at ease.

As Entertainment Weekly made clear in a recent sit-down with the bromantic duo and their producer-slash-host, Carson Daly, we can expect plenty of Adam and Blake’s signature back-and-forth in the weeks to come.

Asked what we can expect from the upcoming run, Daly offered a couple of tidbits. “We loved the steal — we thought the steal really worked,” he responded, before going on to talk about the shake-up that has Usher and Shakira joining the coaching stable in place of the departed Cee Lo and Christina Aguilera. But the change isn’t permanent; as Daly put it, “Those guys are world-renowned musicians first, and America’s favorite TV coaches second,” and they’ll be back on the show before long.

In the meantime, the new coaching lineup means that, as Levine put it, Shelton “gets to spend a season making Usher feel uncomfortable” — something Shelton cheerfully copped to, admitting that “I think I’m doing a really good job at that, by the way — I’ve said and done about everything I can that crosses the line.” But that doesn’t mean his affection for Levine has waned: “As much as I think he’s cute and I have the bromance with Usher,” promised Shelton, “I’ll always come home” [to Levine].

And as for Shakira? In Shelton’s words, “I honestly think Shakira is maybe the most competitive person on the show … you can tell she feels like she has something to prove.”

From there, talk turned to Levine’s upcoming appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and which cast members might be best equipped to play Daly and Shelton. Levine suggested Bill Hader for the former and Fred Armisen for the latter, then quickly realized that Shelton didn’t know what he was talking about. He started to explain what ‘SNL’ was, at which point Shelton nodded and said, “Adam Sandler‘s on that show.”

“He was 20 years ago,” scoffed Levine. “Give me a break,” sighed Shelton. Yep, nothing’s coming between these two.

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Demi Lovato Gets Weird on ‘The Eric Andre Show’

The New Year is traditionally a time of making a fresh start by saying goodbye to the old and ringing in the new — but when Demi Lovato strolled onto the stage of ‘The Eric Andre’s New Year’s Eve Spooktacular,’ she must have felt like she’d entered a whole new dimension.

As you can see from the brief clip embedded above, Lovato started her guest stint by walking out onto what looked suspiciously like a normal (f somewhat low-budget) talk show set, but things quickly took a turn for the surreal when she was handed a plate of spaghetti and subjected to a rapid-fire barrage of compliments that ended with Andre comparing her appearance to his and co-host Hannibal Buress’s in decidedly unfavorable terms.

Things only got weirder from there, with Andre “interviewing” Lovato by listing off her screen credits, including ‘Camp Rock’ (Buress’s favorite) and the PBS-sanctioned scourge of children’s entertainment, ‘Barney and Friends.’ To her extreme credit, Lovato played along willingly (although she did fob off her food on Buress, who didn’t seem to mind) — but she did seem to lose it a little bit when former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach walked out, threw his leg up on Andre’s desk while screaming some nonsense, and walked away without explanation.

By the time Andre started his countdown, Lovato made the extremely sensible decision to use it as her cue to quietly disappear offstage — but by then, she’d already hung around long enough to provide us with some of the most memorably bizarre entertainment we’re likely to receive in 2013. Thanks, Demi!

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Mariah Carey’s Ex Tommy Mottola Reveals Past Abuse in Memoir

Tommy Mottola and Mariah Carey
Diane Freed / Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

Today, Mariah Carey is one of pop’s most adorably daffy divas, as well as Nick Cannon‘s ostensibly happy wife and the mother of two of the world’s most pampered twins. But before she achieved true career security and domestic bliss, she spent a few years unhappily married to her former label boss, Tommy Mottola.

Carey has spoken openly in the years since the couple’s 1997 divorce about how she felt trapped in “a private hell” while married to the notoriously controlling Mottola, who took a heavy hand when managing a recording career that he insisted be focused heavily on slickly produced ballads — and kept her isolated in a posh New York mansion that she referred to as ‘Sing Sing,’ after the infamous prison. But Mottola has kept mum about his side of the story until now — and judging from his description of their relationship in his upcoming memoir, he probably should have kept quiet.

The new book, titled ‘Hitmaker: The Man and His Music,’ is due Jan. 29, and is mainly devoted to Mottola’s recollections of his meteoric rise from talent agent to one of the most powerful executives in the record industry. But Mottola’s reign as Sony Music chief was largely defined by the wild success the label enjoyed with Carey’s string of ’90s hits, and as he makes clear in the book, he always wanted their relationship to be more than professional.

As the New York Post recounts in its report on the memoir, Mottola’s single-minded pursuit of Carey included outbidding a rival label for her contract, insisting on reshoots for her first video, and finally wooing her romantically — over the advice of his own therapist and to the significant consternation of his wife and two children.

While Mottola does admit regret with regards to the pain his broken marriage caused his children — at one point, he discusses a wedding photo depicting his daughter clutching her brother and weeping unhappy tears — he still seems to be shrugging off the domineering behavior that caused Carey to file for divorce in 1997. “If it seemed like I was controlling, I apologize,” the Post quotes Mottola as saying in ‘Hitman.’ “Was I obsessive? Yes. But that was also part of the reason for her success.”

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Watch the Mariah Carey ‘Someday’ Video

Lil Wayne + 2 Chainz’s ‘Rich as F—’ Leaks

We’ll still have to wait until Feb. 19 to hear the whole album, but the third official single from Lil Wayne‘s upcoming ‘I Am Not a Human Being II’ has hit the web, and it’s ‘Rich As F—.’

A collaboration between Wayne and 2 Chainz, ‘Rich’ finds the two emcees rapping about, well, being rich — as well as having unfettered access to some of the finer things in life, such as sex and controlled substances. It’s vintage Weezy, in other words, and as Idolator notes, the fact that the leak comes from a noticeably low-quality rip of the song actually kind of reinforces its stuttering beat and slippery flow.

We haven’t seen a complete confirmed track listing for ‘Human Being II,’ but between ‘Rich’ and some of the other Lil Wayne tracks that have surfaced recently (including first single ‘My Homies Still,’ the Detail-produced ‘No Worries,’ and the more recently leaked ‘B—-es Love Me,’ featuring Drake and Future), it’s looking like this could shape up to be one of his most consistent efforts in quite some time — which would jibe with what he promised MTV last summer, saying, “We didn’t rush the music … I paid attention to everything I did. You’re getting the quality of all my albums: ‘Tha Carter IV,’ ‘Tha Carter III,’ the same with this, ‘I Am Not a Human Being II.’ Hope you like it.”

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Skrillex Releases Video for Ellie Goulding Collabo ‘Summit,’ Has Slew of Unreleased Tracks

Cheer up, brokenhearted Skrellie fans! Skrillex and Ellie Goulding may not be dating anymore, but he promises they’re still pals, and would love to collaborate with her again — and as a token of proof, he’s just posted an official video for ‘Summit,’ the song that started their union in and out of the studio.

Goulding isn’t in the clip, of course, but it’s still a nice nod to their past together — especially given that Skrillex is so eager to share the next step of his musical evolution. As he told Billboard during a recent interview, “I have so much music. I have too many songs to even know what to do with.”

Actually, he does know what to do with them: He wants to make an album. He just hasn’t gotten around to it yet. “I just haven’t had enough time to really sit down and idle myself and clear my mind and go, ‘OK, what’s the next thing I want to say? How’s it different from what I said before?’ and think of all these things,” he explained. “I have so much inside me, so many ideas, I’m more excited than ever to make music again, ’cause I haven’t done that for, like, two years.”

To that end, Skrillex says he plans to hit the studio and release some singles in the first few months of 2013, followed by more recording — with no set preconceptions about what the results might be. “It could be the best three songs I’ve ever made. It could be the best 20 songs I’ve ever made. I don’t know what it’s gonna be yet,” he admitted, pointing out that whatever he ends up releasing, it’ll likely come out via his subscription service, the Nest.

“It’s just a new step in the right direction,” he explained. “You get so much music and it bypasses the distributor, so it’s literally the record label or the musician going straight to the fan. And it’s all content; if I want to put out photo albums, videos, whatever, it just gets straight to the fans without any red tape or bulls— like that. It’s amazing.”

He also alluded to some new remixes and collaborations on the horizon, but don’t expect him to give too much warning whenever he does get around to resurfacing; as he put it, “I like just having those come out. No one anticipates anything and it’s really cool when it just arrives, y’know?”

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Flo Rida Promises ‘Masterpieces’ on Next Record

Flo Rida
Chris McKay, Getty Images

You may think you’ve drawn up a pretty tough list of New Year’s resolutions for 2013, but Flo Rida‘s probably got you beat: As he told Billboard during a recent interview, “I’m taking over.”

It’s all part of a yearlong pop culture assault that he says will include “getting into some acting” as well as “traveling the world” and “doing some touring” — as well as his upcoming fifth album, which boasts a surprising influence: The King of Pop.

“You know, I actually got a chance to do some recording in the same studio where Michael Jackson did ‘Thriller,’” he revealed. For many artists, clocking time in such a hallowed environment might have created a little added pressure to perform, but not Rida. In fact, he claims it helped inspire some of his best material, saying, “We did some work in there and I came up with like seven masterpieces.”

Some musicians spend their whole careers working toward just one masterpiece, so it’s exciting to hear that Flo Rida will be packing at least seven on his next record. Of course, he’ll need to do something special to top the performance of his last LP, ‘Wild Ones’ — as Billboard points out, that album’s hot streak of long-lasting hits made Rida the magazine’s Number 2 artist of the year, and its fourth single, ‘I Cry,’ is still in the Top 10.

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Watch the Flo Rida ‘I Cry’ Video