Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ Reigns Over U.K. Chart

Billie Eilish is crowned on the U.K. albums chart with Happier Than Ever (Interscope), for her second leader.

The teenage California sensation snags 39,000 chart sales as Happier Than Ever blasts to No. 1, with physical sales (vinyl, CD, cassette) accounting for 61% of its opening total, the OCC reports.

It’s the U.K.’s best-seller on vinyl this week. Happier Than Ever (Interscope) shifts 9,500 units on wax, making it the third-fastest selling vinyl album of the millennium by a female artist, behind Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club (16,700) and Kylie Minogue’s Disco (13,500).

According to the OCC, Eilish becomes the first international female artist to reach No. 1 with her first two albums since Lana Del Rey did it seven years ago, with Born To Die and Ultraviolence.

Off the back of her new sophomore album release, the alternative pop star’s debut album from 2019, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, returns to the Top 40, lifting 47-36 on this week’s survey. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? has logged three weeks at No. 1 during its chart journey.

Meanwhile, Dave’s We’re All Alone In This Together (Dave Neighbourhood) dips 1-2 but remains the most-streamed album of the week, while Prince’s posthumous release Welcome 2 America is new at No. 5.

Previously recorded in 2010 and unlocked from the Prince vault for the first time, Welcome 2 America (Sony Music CG) is the Purple One’s 22nd U.K. Top 10 and highest charting studio album since 2004’s Musicology.

Also new to the top tier of the chart Unknown T’s Adolescence (Island), which blooms at No. 8 for the British rapper’s first Top 10 collection.

Over on the Official U.K. Singles Chart, Ed Sheeran enters week six at No. 1 with “Bad Habits” (Asylum).

Sheeran’s latest release scoops another 82,000 chart sales during the chart week, including 9.4 million streams, to finish “comfortably ahead” of The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber’s “Stay” (Columbia), the week’s No. 2 ranked single, the OCC reports.

Eilish earns the highest new entry of the current frame with her latest album’s title track. “Happier Than Ever” bows at No. 6 for her eighth Top 10 single and second in 2021.

Jonas Brothers Bring ‘Remember This’ to the Tokyo Olympics Closing Ceremony

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics came to an end on Sunday, and the Jonas Brothers got to join in on the closing ceremony celebration.

The group’s anthemic “Remember This” was paired with a feel-good montage of moments from the Olympics.

“A moment I’ll never forget,” Kevin Jonas said after their Olympics-inspired edition of the song aired.

“What an honor,” Nick Jonas added in a tweet.

NBCUniversal aired the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games programming across its broadcast, cable and digital platforms.

The Jonas Brothers are about to kick off their Remember This Tour, with special guest Kelsea Ballerini.

Watch their performance for the Olympics below.

Rihanna Nearly Played Rihanna Opposite Adam Driver (and a Puppet) in the Movie Musical ‘Annette’

Rihanna nearly had a role opposite a puppet in Annette, the movie musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard that hit theaters Friday.

Director Leos Carax told USA Today that there was a small role written for the singer in the script by Ron Mael and Russell Mael.

“It was a small part written specifically for her,” Carax said. “She was supposed to play Rihanna.”

The film centers on stand-up comedian Henry (Driver) and opera singer Ann (Cotillard), who marry and then welcome a child.

As The Hollywood Reporter’s chief film critic David Rooney described it in his review: “They marry and she soon becomes pregnant, prompting visions of blood-drenched childbirth and a baby with a garish clown face. That child is Annette, represented by a marvelous Pinocchio-like wooden puppet, its features both innocent and inscrutable yet unexpectedly expressive.”

Annette goes on to become a famous singer, and Rihanna would have played a fellow performer threatened by the young star.

“When Baby Annette becomes famous, there was a duet between the puppet and Rihanna,” Carax told USA Today. “But then Rihanna feels upstaged by this baby.”

Early reports of the film noted Rihanna was attached to the project, but her rep later said she was no longer part of the cast. Instead of replacing Rihanna, the scene was cut from the film, Carax said.

Annette is portrayed by a puppet in the film until the final scene, where Devyn McDowell takes on the role and performs a song alongside Driver.

Annette, which hit theaters Friday, premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, where Carax won the best director award, and will be available for streaming on Amazon later this month.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

Olympics Closing Ceremony: Tokyo 2020 Comes to a Predictably Surreal, Somber Close

One year late and staged among the strangest circumstances in modern memory, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics officially came to a close in Japan’s vast, vacant National Stadium Sunday night (Aug. 8).

The Olympic cauldron was extinguished at 10:15 p.m., local time, leaving the global TV audience with 17-days’ worth of surprising and dramatic sports moments to remember — and the Japanese public with a complicated Olympic legacy to ponder.

But first, there was a show.

A Japanese ska band headlined with a musical medley while a large group of dancers and trick cyclists filled the center of the arena, which had been transformed by a temporary lawn into a loose imitation of one of Tokyo’s lively city parks. Since Olympic athletes were restricted by Covid-19 precautions from visiting the Japanese capital’s famed tourist destinations, organizers said the tableau was meant to show the global guests some of what they had been missing during their stay: “Just like a Sunday afternoon at a park in Tokyo.”

Performance highlights tended to lean on traditional culture: An interpretive dance representing Japan’s indigenous Ainu people and a song sequence referencing Japan’s summer festival of Obon. Other brief interludes — one performed by DJ Matsunaga, a world champion Japanese scratch DJ; another by a taiko drummer — brought welcomed bursts of energy to the show. But much like the opening ceremony two weeks ago, the proceedings strained for uplift and transcendence, but rarely seemed to take flight, weighed down instead by the blunt reality of the enormous empty stadium and the performers’ impossible task of generating an arena-party atmosphere without the benefit of actual people in the stands.

The traditional parade of athletes was also conspicuously thin since organizers had requested that all competitors fly out of Japan within 48 hours of their final event, leaving only a portion behind to participate in the closing night.

The official Olympic handoff to Paris, host of the 2024 Summer Games, served to further highlight the somber scene in Tokyo. A live feed from the French capital showed a huge crowd of Parisians, many of them unmasked, gathered in celebration in front of the Eiffel Tower. The sequence ended with a formation of fighter jets swooping over the city streaming smoke in the colors of the French flag.

IOC chairman Thomas Bach used his speech to thank the athletes for “giving millions around the world hope” during the pandemic, and he extended his gratitude to the people of Japan for their determined hosting of the Games amid unprecedentedly trying circumstances.

Just how the Japanese people, a majority of which opposed the Games due to health risks and the extreme financial downside for the country, will come to regard their Olympic legacy may take some time to become clear. Organizers’ myriad efforts to prevent the spread of infection among Olympic athletes and support staff — and to keep the guests bubbled off from the general public — appear to have been effective. On Friday, the IOC said that 571,000 Covid tests had been conducted at the Olympics, and the positive rate had been 0.02 percent. Altogether, 436 people related to the Olympics, most of them residents of Japan, tested positive for the virus.

But the Olympics also coincided with a dangerous spike in Delta variant infections across Japan, outside the Olympic bubble. Daily infections in Tokyo tripled in the days following the opening ceremony on July 23, threatening to overwhelm the city’s hospitals.

Ahead of the Olympics, Japanese health experts, many of whom advocated for a further postponement until more of the local population was vaccinated, warned of just such a surge. The biggest risk of going ahead with the Games, they argued, was that doing so would send a dangerous message to the Japanese public, which had been vigilant about following public health advice throughout the pandemic. The message being: If it’s safe enough to play games on a mass scale, surely it’s safe enough to get on with our lives again?

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

Muddy Waters’ Chicago Home Moves Closer to Landmark Status

The Chicago home where blues legend Muddy Waters once lived and recorded music is a step closer to landmark status and becoming a museum in his honor.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks on Thursday granted final approval of landmark status to the brick two-flat home in the South Side neighborhood of North Kenwood, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. It now moves to the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards and, if approved, to a vote of the full council.

Waters, known as the “Father of Chicago Blues,” moved to the city from rural Mississippi in 1943. He moved his family into the home in 1954 and purchased it in 1956. Waters’ family lived on the first floor of the house. He rented out the upstairs and had a recording studio in the basement.

Waters’ great granddaughter, Chandra Cooper, now owns the property and is converting it into The MOJO Muddy Waters House Museum.

Cooper was “elated and happy” that the landmarks commission recognized and is honoring Waters’ musical legacy and history.

“We’re on this great path toward becoming one of Chicago’s landmarks, and we are looking forward to working with the blues community, the city and the alderman on this project to leave a piece of his legacy for the city of Chicago,” she said.

After arriving in Chicago in the 1940s, Waters played parties at night for extra cash and later became a regular performer in local nightclubs. Chess Records released his first hits by 1948, and by the early 1950s his blues band had become one of history’s most acclaimed.

Waters’ Chicago home was a gathering place for musicians, and some — including legends like Chuck Berry and Otis Spann — lived there at one time or another. Waters lived in the home until his wife died in 1973. He then moved to suburban Westmont, living there until his 1983 death.