Britney Spears, Taylor Swift are top-earning women in music

Pop star Britney Spears edged past Taylor Swift to claim the title of top-earning woman in music after bringing in an estimated $58 million from her album, endorsements and a perfume in the past year, Forbes said,according to Reuters.

Country-pop singer Swift, 22, was a close second with an estimated $57 million paycheck thanks to her tour - which made more than $1 million each night - a contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, her own line of fragrances and her new album "Red."

R&B star Rihanna, 24, earned an estimated $53 million to put her at No. 3, two places up from last year, followed by Lady Gaga, 26, who slipped from No. 1 in 2011 to fourth place with $52 million.

Katy Perry, 28, the only musician other than Michael Jackson to produce five No. 1 hit singles from one album, rounded out the top five with about $45 million in earnings.

"I think people love the comeback story - Britney never really finished her run as a superstar," Steve Stoute, marketing expert and author of "The Tanning of America" told Forbes.

Spears, 31, who was No. 10 last year, earned most of her money from her latest album "Femme Fatale" and her tour, according to Forbes, which compiled the list with estimated earnings from May 2011 to May 2012.

In September, Spears became a judge on the reality TV singing show "The X Factor," reportedly for $15 million.

Despite their huge incomes, only eight of the top women music earners were among the 25 best-paid musicians, which Forbes attributes in part to career breaks to have children.


Madonna made the list in ninth place with an estimated $30 million in earnings, which did not include profits from her latest tour because it was outside the time period considered for the ranking.

Forbes compiled the list after estimating pretax income based on record sales, touring information merchandise sales and interviews with concert promoters, lawyers and managers.



Barbra Streisand on 'Gypsy': What's age gotta do with it?

Barbra Streisand’s got one thing to say to anyone who thinks she might be too old to play Mamma Rose in the anticipated film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ legendary musical Gypsy: “What’s [age] got to with anything?”

Ever since Universal announced plans last March for a Gypsy update — written by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes and co-produced and starring Streisand — some critics have drawn attention to the difference between Streisand’s age, 70, and that of the real-life woman portrayed in the musical. The Academy Award-winning actress would not only have to depict a woman who, in parts of the production, is between 30 and 40 years younger than she is, she’d have to play the mother of children who are as many as 60 years younger than she is.

But that’s not standing in Babs’ way. “Age is just a number,” she told EW, when promoting her upcoming film The Guilt Trip (co-starring Seth Rogen and out Dec. 19). “Some people look old at 45. Some people look younger at my age…. I saw CGI of an actor that made him go from 60 to 30, by the way. What they can do now, technically.” Streisand added that she was “still working out one rights issue” for the movie, and that “it should happen, but it just takes forever.”According to  Entertainment Weekly



Samantha Barks, EponineIn 'Les Miserables,' On Winning One Of Hollywood's Most Coveted Roles

Before Samantha Barks was cast as Eponine in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of "Les Miserables," she was reportedly competing with Lea Michele, Scarlett Johansson and Taylor Swift for the role. Not that the 22-year-old actress, who makes her screen debut in "Les Miserables," was at a disadvantage against those A-listers: Barks starred as Eponine for a year in a West End production of "Les Miserables" and also played the character in the 25th anniversary production acclaimed musical. That show was produced by Cameron Mackintosh, one of the people who eventually hired her to play the lovestruck-but-duplicitous second-act scene-stealer in Hooper's new film.

Barks, who is among the possible contenders for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, spoke to HuffPost Entertainment about belting out Eponine's signature song, "On My Own," why she was sweating so much after meeting Hugh Jackman, and how starring in "Les Mis" was the best experience of her life.

Some big names were up for the role of Eponine. What was the audition process like?

It was a long one. I spent months and months going in and was really put through my paces. It was a big gamble to cast me because I've never done a film role before and I wasn't an A-list star like the other stars being cast. So I really had to prove, through my audition process, that I could adapt this role on the screen. Tom said this was the hardest film he ever had to cast. He had to find the perfect cross-section between screen actors who could really play these roles and also sing every take live; to do these songs every day, have that stamina and perform these songs to a degree that honors the way they are written. For some people, they had never done musicals. Like Eddie [Redmayne], who has a huge film career, and so much experience, had never done a musical. He had to prove he could take on the musical side. Whereas I was coming from the musical side and proving that I could do it from a film sense. We fought so hard to get these roles and they mean so much to us on a personal level. On day one, we felt like holding each other and saying, "Yay! We're all here!" When I was a 7-year-old girl, in my bedroom, on my karaoke machine, I would sing "On My Own" or do a one-woman version of "Les Miserables." To be doing this role is not just a dream come true, it's bigger than my mind ever dared to dream.

How difficult was it to adapt the role from stage to screen?

There are different challenges and different perks about both. There's nothing like the buzz of live theater. You put it out there and receive an instant reaction: laughing, crying, yelling, applauding. In the film world, you finish it and you're like, "Oh, no. I hope it's going to come across well. I hope it read." The thrill comes from sitting in the theater months later and hearing a cinema actually applauding a musical number. That's a thrill like I have never experienced before. In a musical theater show, you're performing to like 2,000 people. This, you're performing for nobody. You're living in the moment. Every individual flicker of the eye reads. Every detail reads. It allowed us to have that freedom to add more intricate details.

That's why it was so phenomenal to have the novel by Victor Hugo at your finger tips -- to pull stuff from that an add depth to your character. The exciting part were the differences between Eponine in the novel and Eponine in the stage show. I played Eponine in the stage show, so I knew that girl. To me, it was learning about the girl in the novel. You see more of the darker character [in the novel]. She's a criminal. Her parents are so dark, and they're hilarious with it, but she's a product of her environment. She's got this twisted morality which comes from observing her father, who is very cruel but very clever and manipulative. Marrying the two characters together and allowing myself to look into her background more to see Eponine come from a darker place [was great]. The challenge is trying to build that relationship with the audience in a short space of time. The central storyline is Jean Valjean, and there are storylines that weave in and out of that story. So, it's about creating a very real character. You want these storylines to not detract from the main story, you want them to add strength to the central storyline of redemption, hope and love.


You mentioned how often you sang "On My Own" growing up. How did it feel to do it in the film?

It felt incredible. I used to sing it all night. My family despised me for it. My brother is a pilot and I remember him knocking on my door at 3 a.m. saying, "Seriously? Seriously?" At least now they can say it was worth it! [Laughs] No matter how many times I sing that song -- I sang it eight times a week for a year -- just to hear the opening bars of it invokes a reaction in me. On that set, I felt like I was performing it for the first time. Singing live allowed us to do something unique with it. You could be even softer than you ever dared you could be in a theatrical performance. It was thrilling to get to do something like that with these iconic songs.

You're a newcomer in this cast of major stars. Who were you most excited to meet?

I never have celebrity crushes. But! I always used to say Hugh Jackman because he's the most beautiful man and his Wolverine is the coolest guy onscreen. When I first met Hugh Jackman, I was really nervous. I was sweating and running on a treadmill. I got a tap on the shoulder and it was Hugh Jackman. I was like, "Ohhhhhhhhh man, this isn't the way it was supposed to happen!" [Laughs] He's just an amazing, all-around guy. This world is very new to me and I'm at the beginning of my career. To see someone like that, with his level of success, maintain such a balanced lifestyle and mind is inspiring. You never hear anyone say a bad word about Hugh Jackman and if they do it's a lie!

Have you given any thought to the possibility of being nominated for an Academy Award?

I think because it is a huge big change in my lifestyle, the way I kind of get through that is by trying to not freak myself out. Trying to not over-think too far and take every day that comes with gusto. The fact that there is a buzz around the film makes me burst with pride. I am honored to be involved in a project like this. To be involved in a moment of history for theater -- and for theater to be translated onto film in this way, with a cast like this and a director like this -- is the proudest moment of my life.

Hanan Shamout

Hugh Jackman gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

It was a lucky day for the actor. A beaming Hugh Jackman was celebrated Thursday with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But the day turned out to be a lucky 13th for the actor in more ways than one.

The unveiling of the 2,487th star on the famous Walk came hours after he landed a Golden Globe Awards nomination for his work in Les Miserables.

"It's kind of a surreal day," Jackman told E! News. "I'll probably always remember Thursday, Dec. 13 and I think I'm either going straight from here to buy a lottery ticket or to a casino because it just feels like someone is looking down on me in a very nice way at this moment."

Jackman, who snagged a SAG nomination earlier in the week, was joined by Les Miz co-stars Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. But Hugh seemed to only have eyes for his family — son Oscar, 12, wife Deborra-Lee Furness and daughter Ava, 7.

"Hugh doesn't even realize how big this is going to be," Furness told Showbiz 411 at Monday's premiere afterparty. "It's only just dawned on me."


12/12/12: Twelve must-know facts about last once-in-a-lifetime date this century

 People pray for peace during 12:12:12, at an event called "Light Meeting" in Tama, west of Tokyo December 12, 2012, marking the last day in this century where the numeral date appear with the same numbers. (Reuters / Yuriko Nakao)

It’s the century’s last sequential date. For some, it represents luck. For others, it’s a day of romance. For most of us, it’s just another Wednesday. Regardless of your beliefs, 12/12/12 comes along with some rather amusing facts and superstitions.
Ballons fly in air as newlywed couples celebrate their mass wedding in conjunction with the date 12.12.12 outside a Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2012. Some 200 couples gathered at the temple to attend a grand colourful wedding ceremony on December 12, 2012, which many in Asia marks an auspicious date on the calendar. (AFP Photo / Saeed Khan)

1. Wedding bells will be ringing in Hong Kong and Singapore, where couples are keen to tie the knot on a day which they say symbolizes love. But it’s not just Asia which will see an increase in love birds heading to the altar. A survey conducted by US-based David’s Bridal estimates that around 7,500 brides will be getting hitched in America – a 1,446 per cent increase from the less significant 12/12/11. The surge comes as no surprise, considering the sharp increases in marriages which took place on 11/11/11 and 10/10/10.
2. For some, the day will be anything but joyful. Many doomsdayers believe 12/12/12 will be the end of the world, thanks to an interpretation of the Mayan calendar. But, most of the end-of-the-world believers are convinced that the actual doomsday is on 12/21/12, when the Mayan calendar is set to end.

3. In response to “end of the world” preparations taking place across the globe, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific has declared 12/12/12 “Anti-Doomsday Day,” in celebration of rational thinking and reasoned discourse.

4. Palindrome lovers will rejoice in the fact that at 1:21:02 am, they can celebrate the second which marks a date-time combination which will be read the same both backwards and forwards. 2012-12-12 1:21:02 = 201212-1-212102.

5. Those who wish to take part in yet another time-based phenomenon but find themselves snoring away at 1:21:02 will be given a second chance. At 12:12:12 pm, the number 12 will be given a “sixer” – 12/12/12 12:12:12.

6. Number crunchers have a profound respect for the number 12, mainly because of its divisibility capabilities. After all, it can divided into halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, and twelfths. So it can only be assumed that mathematicians will find 12/12/12 to be three times more exciting than a normal “12” day.  

7. According to Chinese numerology, the number one is a yang number which is ruled by the sun and represents independence and individualism. Two is a yin number which is ruled by the moon and represents symmetry and balance. When placed together, the number 12 brings harmony to the yin and yang, balancing the feminine energy of the moon with the masculine energy of the sun. So, what we can gather is that 12/12/12 equals lots of harmony. 

8. Three is generally considered a heavenly number and often represents the soul or godhead. Four is the number of earth and mankind – for example, there are four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and four cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west). Because of this, the product of the two numbers, 12, has been said to encompass both the secular and the sacred. So 12/12/12 should mean that both sides will be represented more than usual.

9. December 12, 2012 is exactly 6 years, 6 months, 6 days from June 6, 2006, or 06/06/06.

10. From culinary cuisine to calendars, 12 has been a significant number since its creation. Just think about it – 12 months in the year, 12 hours of night and day, 12 astrological signs, 12 Olympic gods and goddesses, 12 days of Christmas, and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Oh, and let’s not forget about eggs – which are cheaper by the dozen! With so much significance on its side, 12/12/12 was seemingly destined to be a meaningful day. 

11. Kiam Moriya of Birmingham, Alabama will turn 12 at 12:12pm on 12/12/12. Since approximately 267 babies are born every minute, many other people will share the same moment – in their respective timezones, of course!

12. Students at Moscow State University have been given motivation to study after their professor posted a sign on his door stating, “The last chance to retake your History of Foreign Literature exam will be 12/12/12. If you choose not to take it, it will not only be the end of the world…but also the end of you.”