Halsey Responds To ‘Homophobic’ Critics Of Her Latest Performance: ‘I’m Proud’

For pretty much the entire time Halsey has been in the public eye, she’s proven passionate about representing the LGBTQ community in her art — see “Strangers” and “Bad at Love” as proof. And, equally as important, she hasn’t been afraid to stand up for herself when people criticize her for it — which is exactly what she did on Tuesday night (December 18).

Taking the stage for the finale episode of The Voice, Halsey performed her brooding single “Without Me” alongside YouTube-famous dancer Jade Chynoweth. The two women presented a raw contemporary dance that captured all the complex emotions of a lost love. Some people on Twitter, however, called the performance “inappropriate” — a critique that Halsey immediately and fearlessly addressed.

“Very proud of the emotional performance I did with @JadeChynoweth on @NBCTheVoice tonight,” she wrote on Twitter. “And also very proud to have pissed off the homophobic viewers at home who missed the message. Thanks for watching.”

In additional posts, Halsey thanked her dance partner for helping her bring a queer-centric performance to national television.

“Representation matters. Thanks @NBCTheVoice for giving a space for this vision to come to life,” she tweeted. “And thank you @JadeChynoweth for being an incredible human who used her body like the ultimate instrument for this collaboration.” She added on Instagram, “Lots of people angry because we performed the story of a wlw couple and their emotional journey. … I’m proud I got to put this on so many television screens tonight. Younger me is stoked.”

Halsey’s “Without Me” performance is not yet viewable on YouTube, but it’s available to watch on NBC’s website — see it in the full episode of The Voice around the 1:13:30 mark.

G-Eazy, Rae Sremmurd, Tyga, Goldlink, And More Will Perform At 2018 SnowGlobe Music Festival

Every year when fans file into SnowGlobe Music Festival‘s winter wonderland in California, the EDM-centric bash becomes a big jamboree of pulsating rhythms and dazzling lights. This year, though, six new heavyweights have been added to the mix, giving fest goers a whole new set of music to lose themselves in.

G-Eazy, Goldlink, Kaskade, Rae Sremmurd, Tyga, and Ashe will all perform at the fest, in addition to previously announced headliners Diplo, Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, Rezz, and RL Grime.

The outdoor festival runs December 29 through New Year’s Eve in South Lake Tahoe, California, bringing colorful year-end fun to more than 20,000 fans. SnowGlobe also boasts its “Big Air” live-action winter sports showcase and interactive art exhibitions to help close out 2018 with a bang.

In addition to all the above artists, 40 more will perform over three stages across the festival’s three days. See the full lineup right here.

The 2018 SnowGlobe Music Festival kicks off December 29 and rolls through the weekend, wrapping up on December 31. Grab tickets here.

Fifth Harmony Forecast: How Each Member Is Poised To Dominate 2019

How she wrote a new chapter in 2018: Judging by the year she’s had, Ally may be the most versatile of the 5H ladies. The 25-year-old appeared as herself on an episode of Famous in Love in the spring, but we didn’t hear anything on the music front until August, when news broke that she had joined the roster at Atlantic Records. Her first release was the Latin-tinged banger “Vámonos,” a Spanish-language collaboration with Dutch production trio Kriss Kross Amsterdam and Dominican trap rapper Messiah, who joined Ally in performing the track at the ALMA Awards in November. Not long after, Ally got into the holiday spirit with a cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” — which she performed at the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — and then surprised fans by announcing that she was writing a tell-all memoir. Acting, singing, writing… Ally’s talents know no bounds.

What’s next for 2019: That memoir, entitled Finding Your Harmony, hits bookshelves on April 2, 2019. But aside from penning tales about her childhood and her 5H days, she’s also been writing plenty of new music. In September, she posted pics from an all-female writing camp she hosted, revealing that she’s been “creating amazing music” with female writers, producers, and engineers. “Been pouring out my soul,” she wrote. “I can’t wait for y’all to hear.”

Watch Ariana Grande Hit Those Whistle Notes In Christmasy TV Debut Of ‘Imagine’

Ariana Grande‘s “Imagine” is wonderful. Its slow-burn tenderness is a nice counterpoint to the punchy virality of “Thank U, Next,” and “Imagine” opens itself up further the more you listen and find resonance within your own life and via your own experiences. Tuesday night (December 18), Ari brought that same grace to The Tonight Show, where she debuted the song on TV for the first time with a little help from The Roots.

Clad in a red Christmas sweater and singing in front of a wreathed and lighted stage setup, Grande made her way through the tune with some added live bounce from the band around her — culminating in a series of whistle notes. There’s something extra whimsical about it with the added holiday flare, you know?

“Imagine” is the second taste of her upcoming fifth studio album, Thank U, Next, which will likely drop sometime in early 2019. Grande’s been teasing it quite a bit, both in interviews and in candid replies to her fans on social media. One thing we can expect for sure is “feminine energy and champagne and music and laughter and crying.”

Ari also joined in recreating one of the most iconic holiday performances of all time: the goofy glory of “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” first executed by Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Horatio Sanz, and Chris Kattan on Saturday Night Live in 2000. In this update, all the major players returned, and Grande stood between Kattan and Morgan with her hands on Kattan’s shoulders. Christmas cheer.

Watch both of those videos above, then check out MTV News’s roundup of everything you need to know about Ariana’s Thank U, Next album.

Ariana Grande Is Lovin’ And Livin’ For Miley Cyrus’s ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ Cover

Lately, it seems like everyone who passes through BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge feels compelled to cover an Ariana Grande song. In just the past few weeks, The 1975 put a synthy spin on “thank u, next,” while both Mumford & Sons and Alessia Cara turned in their own renditions of “Breathin.” Now, the cover train continues to roll, with Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson hopping aboard with their string-laden take on Ari’s Sweetener anthem “No Tears Left to Cry.”

Cyrus (on vocals) and Ronson (on guitar) were accompanied by a small string section, and their arrangement nixed the original’s U.K. garage beat in favor of something more soulful. Sure, no one can quite tackle Ari’s vocal gymnastics, but Cyrus’s raspy, lived-in voice gave “No Tears” a stunning emotional edge.

Unsurprisingly, Grande hopped on Twitter to sign off on her pal’s cover, sharing a link to the video and writing, “I love that voice and soul sm.”

Cyrus’s cover choice isn’t all that shocking, considering she and Grande have put on a united front as of late. In the past few days, they’ve supported each other’s latest singles (Ari’s “Imagine” and Miley’s “Happy Xmas“), and even issued a joint “thank u, next” to Kanye West’s recent Twitter drama. It’s just the latest proof that their friendship — which spans their own cover song and a joint performance at last year’s One Love Manchester concert — is as strong as ever.

Meanwhile, Cyrus and Ronson’s Live Lounge appearance also included a performance of their country-disco collab, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” Check that out below.

How Meek Mill’s Championships Brought Him Back To No. 1

By Trey Alston

The story of Championships begins, like many things, with loss. In Meek Mill’s case, it was agency; a decade-long cold war with the legal system stopped him in his tracks in 2014, keeping him ensnared until this past April. In the midst of this turmoil in 2015, he split his fan base wide open by provoking Drake and kindling a feud that would prove unwinnable for him. By the time Meek was sentenced to two to four years in prison in November of 2017, he’d bottomed out from this mixture of troubles. His path to victory — culminating in his recent No. 1 entry atop the Billboard 200 chart — began with the mental element he discovered while imprisoned that enabled him to take control of his relationships, his career, and his place as a public figure. He was released on bail in April and immediately embraced his tumultuous situation. His new album, Championships, was forged in the dying fires of his past and acts as an analysis and swan song to the circumstances that got him here.

Meek’s unkempt straight-back braids and wide eyes made his early raps all the more enticing. He was a creature from the black lagoon with a smoking tongue, barking tenacious punchlines about typical rap talking points: the ability to allure women, popping shells, of course, braggadocio. He was Meek Millz at this time, and by the age of 21 had four solo mixtapes under his belt (an additional four with his now defunct group The Bloodhoundz). That much work inspired his community. Videos of his rough freestyles feature seas of faces with grins stretching to their ears. He was Philadelphia and Philadelphia was him. This level of hard work and support wouldn’t go unnoticed – he caught the attention of label execs and then signed to Grand Hustle Records before switching course and aligning with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group.

Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

The first part of Meek’s career was about overzealousness, the kind that always leads to crashes, time and time again. He experienced a whirlwind of success with his studio debut, Dreams and Nightmares, in 2012 and mixtape Dreamchasers 3 in 2013. He quickly catapulted over much of his competition at the time to become one of rap’s most prominent faces and the mascot of MMG. From his success, and paired with his cockiness, came the first blows – beefs with Cassidy and Drake that extinguished his momentum.

Cassidy, undoubtedly a better rapper, lyricist, and punchline fanatic, exposed that Meek wasn’t the lyricist that he, and much of everyone else, thought he was. After trading diss songs in December of 2012, which, of the two, Cassidy won with his bruising punchlines. Cassidy’s 10-minute diss, “Raid,” came out in January, putting Meek out of commission until September when he released “Repo.” Cassidy then responded to Meek’s diss only three days later, effectively ending the lopsided battle. But Cassidy’s victory would mean little outside of proving him a more dominating lyrical presence.

In 2015, Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money went No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 215,000 in the first week as his career, largely pushing Cassidy’s win onto the back burner. Meek took the number of units sold as a win and was anxious to flex his commercial appeal. This would be the cause of a self-provoked feud with Drake, who proved a much craftier opponent than Cassidy, choosing to assault Meek’s character by turning him into a running joke that people felt the need to scrape off their shoes. Meek released his project DC4 in 2016 and moved only 87,000 units in its first week, debuting at No. 3. Drake had quelled the beast.

Meek’s journey through the legal system was the background noise that finally became addressed when he was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating parole in November of 2017. The vehemence of the judge and the questionable circumstances surrounding the 2008 arrest that placed him on probation raised red flags about not only Meek’s treatment, but also the infinite ways the justice system fails. Despite countless #FreeMeekMill protests and celebrity support, Meek sat encaged. “All I was doing was eating a lot, getting fat, and being stressed,” he revealed an in interview with Vulture in November.

Things changed when he emerged from prison on bail in April, fundamentally affected by the events that transpired. Not just with his case, but with his career and the relationships he built and/or burnt along the way. Subsequent interviews following his release revealed a poised man with a purpose, looking to rectify past mistakes and help make the criminal justice system fairer in the future. He spoke candidly about prison reform on CNN with Michael Smerconish, expressing an educated, informed stance on his harsh experience.

“There’s a lot of things in the system that clearly don’t make sense,” he said. “It’s keeping many young black men caught up in the system without even committing crimes.”

After being released from prison in April 2018, Meek dropped the Legends of the Summer EP in July, a quick sampler showing that he could touch all of his bases and that he had not lost a step. But he went musically dark afterwards, only appearing to speak about his experiences with the system and to discuss the necessary changes to it. (In September, he also mended his long-standing beef with Drake onstage in Boston for the Toronto rapper’s Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour.) It was fitting that he first hinted at the album that would become Championships in an early November interview with Vogue about criminal justice perform, poetic almost. Just over two weeks later, accompanied by a rapid storm of hype, Championships arrived in victorious splendor, featuring Meek’s voice, louder-than-ever, now imbued with purpose.

The beating heart of Championships comes from Meek’s voice and its warm embrace. He began his career as a bard boasting accomplishments on his journey and grew to become the voice of the marginalized on the new album. This larger reach, a product of renewed interest from fans that walked away a few years prior, made the album debut at No. 1 with 229,000 album-equivalent units sold in the first week. Instead of being satisfied with his return to top dawg status, Meek was still hungry. His focus was fundamentally altered while in prison; it’s all about the long game now. “#1 album but still like #23 on the Forbes list I gotta get on my grind Asap!!,” he tweeted a week after the album’s release.

Championships is the culmination of a journey through the absurd highs and lows. Peppered across its lengthy tracklist are dark emotions, melancholy reflection, and, most importantly, celebratory odes. Whether he’s spilling about love (“24/7”), or justifying his attachment to dilapidated environments, Meek approaches each subject with stunning attention to detail. But one of the pervading messages of the album is that, sometimes, loss is necessary for the ultimate win. “Championships” is the album’s centerpiece that reckons with the ultimate meaning of his defeat. “Beat the system, beat racism, beat poverty / And now we made it through all that, we at the championship,” Meek raps. By telling a story full of ups and downs, he reminds us that the growth spurred by those losses is the greatest win of all.

Cardi B’s Carpool Karaoke Ends In The Most Unexpected Place Possible

You know, there really haven’t been that many Carpool Karaoke segments this year. Eight, if you count Michael Bublé’s special, and some of those were true biggies. Paul McCartney did it. Barbra Streissand, too. And more recently, Ariana Grande sacrificed a hand for it, while Migos became memes.

Of course, leave it to Cardi B to make the entire enterprise feel brand new again. The rap queen’s episode aired on Monday night (December 17), and in the first 30 seconds, Cardi found out, to her delight, that you can say “bitch” on TV and used a water bottle as a microphone prop. And then she rapped out the window to passersby.

All 14 minutes here are fun as hell, thanks to Cardi’s spontaneous energy. But she also addresses up front a crucial key to her entire story, something she’d tell DJs who wouldn’t put her on: “I’m funny, so people just be thinking that everything is a joke, like hehehe. Yeah, but I’m not laughing today. I want you to take this serious.” She says this, naturally, in a multitude of colorful voices and tones.

Beyond this quick declaration, the segment takes Cardi and host James Corden to a driving course where he gives her a quick tutorial in a Range Rover on CBS’s dime (nice) as well as the Culver City Senior Center, so Cardi can lend her energy and her song “I Like It” to a mind/body dance class. It’s a beautiful moment! One older genlteman even asks her if she’s single.

Experience all the joy of Cardi B’s Carpool Karaoke — probably the first one where the guest gets to drive, right? — in the video above.

Watch Cover Queen Alessia Cara Put A Stripped-Back Spin On Ariana Grande’s ‘Breathin’

A week after Alessia Cara wowed us with her killer Destiny’s Child medley, she’s back with another brilliant cover arrangement. This time, the 22-year-old visited BBC Radio 1’s Piano Sessions to perform a more contemporary tune: Ariana Grande‘s “Breathin.”

Nixing the original version’s big pop production, Cara stripped the Sweetener single to its emotional core and dressed it down with a piano accompaniment and a three-piece of backing vocalists. Grande has said “Breathin” is a song about her battle with anxiety, and Cara’s impassioned rendition of it beautifully captures the power of perseverance.

Cara’s cover marks the third time in a month that one of Grande’s songs has been reimagined by another artist visiting Radio 1. In November, The 1975 debuted their synthy, soulful take on “Thank U, Next,” and a few days later, Mumford & Sons put their own symphonic twist on “Breathin.”

Cara, meanwhile, also took the opportunity to perform her new single “Trust My Lonely,” off her recently released sophomore album, The Pains of Growing. Check that out below, and look out for more excellent Cara covers — the girl is truly on a roll.

Mac Miller’s Manager Shares A Heartfelt Obituary: ‘He Led With The Soul’

Three months after Mac Miller‘s tragic death, his former manager, Christian Clancy, has paid loving tribute with an obituary published by The Guardian on Monday (December 17).

Clancy, who managed Miller from 2013 until the time of his death, describes the rapper as a musical whiz and a gifted performer. Above all else, though, Clancy writes that he was a selfless presence who, more than money and fame, “craved importance: the ability to show depth, to cement a legacy.”

Clancy pointed to the differences in Miller’s early work to his most recent album, 2018’s Swimming, to illustrate how the rapper brilliantly honed his craft: “The studio was his safe place and it’s where his talent grew, to the point where he was able to make Swimming, a timeless, intimate album he was incredibly proud of.”

Miller died from a drug overdose in September, but Clancy said that before that, he seemed in good health and spirits, and was looking forward to getting the full Swimming experience on the road for his fans. “He was happy and in as good a mental state as he had been since we’d known him,” Clancy wrote. “That’s why all of this is so surreal — it was like a punch in the gut. There was so much in front of him that he was excited about.

“He was a spark to so many people,” Clancy concluded, eloquently capturing the Grammy-nominated artist’s spirit. “In a world dominated by ego, he led with the soul and lived by focusing on similarities rather than differences – that’s a lesson we all could use.”

Miley Cyrus Passionately Calls For Peace With Her ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ Cover

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (The War Is Over)” has been reimagined countless times since its 1971 release, but that caaaan’t stop, and it woooon’t stop Miley Cyrus from taking a whack at it.

On Friday (December 14), Miley shimmied down the figurative chimney and delivered a special gift for fans: a cover of the holiday standard produced by Mark Ronson and featuring Sean Ono Lennon, which is about the most legit stamp of approval you could ask for. Their gleaming pop version of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over!)” — yes, they added an exclamation point to the title — finds Cyrus passionately pleading for peace while Lennon adds cheery harmonies of “War is over / If you want it” into the mix.

Just hours before the song’s release, Cyrus visited The Tonight Show and told host Jimmy Fallon that the cover came together at New York’s famed Electric Lady Studios. Though the original version was intended as a Vietnam protest song back in the ’70s, the 26-year-old believes its message is still relevant today: “I don’t think anything could speak louder about what’s going on right now than ‘War Is Over,'” she said.

Fallon also asked Cyrus if Lennon sounded like his late father during their studio session. She answered, “I think more than just inheriting the voice, or you know the way he looks or whatever, that it’s about the magic that he has. I think that’s what he’s really inherited more than anything: it’s just this radiant magic.”

The three will perform their new cover on Saturday Night Live this weekend, in addition to Cyrus and Ronson’s recent collaborative single, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” Tune in to feel all the peaceful holiday vibes.