Backstreet’s AJ McLean swears he didn’t ask his “dear, dear friend” Robert Downey Jr. for any Endgame spoilers

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for DisneyAvengers: Endgame had its star-studded premiere Monday night in Hollywood, and one celebrity who made an unlikely appearance was Backstreet Boy AJ McLean. Turns out he’s super-tight with the guy who started the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe 10 years ago: Iron Man. Well, Iron Man’s real-life alter-ego, anyway.

Robert Downey [Jr.] has actually become a dear, dear friend of mine,” AJ told Entertainment Tonight. “He is one of the sweetest, most talented, most genuine human beings on the planet and he has always been so gracious to hook a brother up [with an invitation].”

It turns out that, “out of all my brothers in the band, I am the most obsessed with Marvel. Obsessed,” gushed AJ. 

But even though he and RDJ are BFFs, AJ swears he didn’t pump him for any spoilers about the super-secretive film.

“I don’t ask. I don’t want to know. I sometimes won’t even watch the actual trailers. I don’t want to know nothing,” AJ claimed.

The Backstreet Boys will finally wrap up their successful Las Vegas residency on Saturday, and then hit the road for their DNA tour next month. This past Saturday, April 20, marked the group’s 26th anniversary.

Avengers: Endgame officially opens on Friday from Marvel which, like ABC News, is owned by Disney.

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#FreeBritney? Not quite. Here’s what’s really going on with Britney Spears

GP/Star Max/GC ImagesForget those #FreeBritney rumors: The singer is not being held against her will at a mental health facility.

A source has confirmed to ABC Radio that the details in a new TMZ report about Britney Spears are accurate. Britney is finishing up a 30-day stay at a mental health facility, and she’s there of her own free will. Her presence there is a result of both the emotional strain of her father Jamie‘s illness, and a necessary adjustment of her medication.

Over time, Britney’s medications had become less effective, so her doctors had to work to find a new combination. The singer first had to be weaned off the original medications, a process which needs to be done very carefully. 

During the process, Britney became unstable, and was admitted to the facility while the doctors worked to find the right drug combination to get her back on track. They now believe they’ve found it.

But Britney’s dad Jamie did not force her into the facility. While he’s her conservator, he doesn’t have that legal power, nor does he have the power to force her to take medication.

In fact, TMZ reports that Jamie didn’t want Britney to go to the facility because he was afraid it would leak to the media. Britney herself is the one who said she wanted to go.

Meanwhile, the podcast responsible for claiming that Britney’s being held against her will is now the subject of multiple complaints, Medium reports.

According to the report, complaints have been made to FBI, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the State Bar of California regarding the podcast’s possible violation of Britney’s privacy.  The #FreeBritney movement started after the podcast aired communications from a person who claimed to have inside knowledge of the singer’s hospitalization.

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Halsey to perform solo and with BTS at “Billboard” Music Awards; Tori Kelly added to lineup

NBC/dick clark productionsHalsey has lined up not one but two performances at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

She was previously announced to be joining K-pop sensation BTS for their new collab, “Boy With Luv.” Now, it’s been announced that she’ll also be performing solo, singing her number one hit “Without You.”

Tori Kelly has been added to the lineup as well; she’ll perform with “Tequila” duo Dan + Shay. R&B star Ciara will take the stage to debut her single “Thinkin Bout You” for the first time on television.

They’ll join previously announced performers Kelly Clarkson, Lauren Daigle, Jonas Brothers, Khalid, Madonna and Maluma, Panic! at the Disco, and this year’s ICON Award recipient Mariah Carey.

The Billboard Music Awards will air live from Las Vegas May 1 on NBC, with Kelly Clarkson serving as host.

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Kelly Clarkson worked on her new album on Easter Sunday: “Jesus didn’t mind”

Vincent PetersWhen Kelly Clarkson shared her Easter plans this past weekend, she ran a long list of activities that included doing yoga, going on an Easter egg hunt, opening Easter baskets and painting Easter eggs. But she also casually mentioned that one of those activities involved making new music.

“Yoga, coffee, easter baskets, egg hunt, breakfast with the little kiddos & hubby, & now I’m off to the studio to work on the new album! Happy Easter y’all!!,” she tweeted. “Not gonna lie, really excited to paint eggs w/kiddos tonight.”

The new album will be the follow-up to Kelly’s 2017 release Meaning of Life — she just wrapped up her tour in support of that disc. As for the fact that she worked on it on Easter Sunday, well…Kelly has to take her free time where she can get it.

“I don’t get many days to actually work on my record,” she tells People magazine. “So yeah, I had to work on Easter. Jesus didn’t mind, he told me.”

Kelly also told People that she refused to let her children believe that the Easter Bunny brought them their baskets.

“Sometimes I’m tired of giving credit to non-existent things. Like I’m very busy, and I took the time to shop at Target and put this all together,” she explained. “I did this — no bunny! They got chocolate, so they’re fine.” 

Kelly hosts the Billboard Music Awards May 1 on NBC.  Her new talk show premieres September 9, also on NBC.

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Did Taylor Swift step out wearing new TS7 merch?

Robert Kamau/GC ImagesTaylor Swift really knows how to whip her fans into a frenzy.

The singer stepped out in New York City Monday wearing what appears to be new merchandise for her TS7 album. She was photographed wearing a pale pink cropped shirt with a floral design and her name written on the sleeve, as well as matching floral shorts. She also had the tips of her hair dyed pink.

The color scheme of Taylor’s outfit seemed to match the girly pastel aesthetic she’s been teasing on Instagram.

Fans took to Twitter to freak out over the possibility that new merch – and the new album – will be coming very soon.

Taylor has been hinting a new release will be coming on April 26, though it’s unclear if it’s music or something different entirely.

Later Monday night, Taylor was seen attending pal Gigi Hadid’s birthday party, dressed in a red checkered blazer and floral dress and carrying a pastel blue bag with an image of a cat on it.

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Fall Out Boy collaboration with Martin Garrix & Macklemore dropping Thursday

ABC/Paula LoboAfter teasing a new song with DJ Martin Garrix and Macklemore, Fall Out Boy has officially revealed the details of the collaboration.

The track is called “Summer Days,” and will arrive this Thursday, April 25 at 8 a.m. ET. And it won’t feature all of Fall Out Boy, just lead vocalist Patrick Stump.

“Summer Days” follows “I’ve Been Waiting,” Fall Out Boy’s collaboration with the late rapper Lil Peep, which was released in January.

The most recent Fall Out Boy album is 2018’s M A N I A.

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‘The Voice’ recap: contestants mix & match styles to close out the Live Cross Battles

Beth Griffith-Manley performs on “The Voice”; Trae Patton/NBCThe Voice continued its new format of competition, the Live Cross Battles, for a second week on Monday night. Coach Blake Shelton has one steal left, and Kelly Clarkson and John Legend both have one save each, to be used during Tuesday’s live voting results.

Adam Levine kicked things off by choosing his team member LB Crew, who performed the spiritual “Wade in the Water.” He challenged Team Kelly’s Jej Vinson, a Filipino-American who covered “Versace on the Floor,” a song by his music role model, Bruno Mars.

Afterward, Kelly called it the best cross battle so far and Adam praised LB, telling him he “picked the best possible time to have your best possible performance.” Blake and John gave the edge to LB, though, with John finding it appropriate that LB “brought him to church” the day after Easter.

Up next, it was another even match between Team Adam’s Kalvin Jarvis and Team Legend’s Julian King. Kalvin sang “New Rules,” by Dua Lipa, while Julian performed a bilingual version of Adele‘s “Hello.” Kalvin’s performance went over well with Adam, who declared him a new frontrunner, while John observed that both male singers “chose to sing ladies from across the pond.” Kelly couldn’t decide between the two, but made the salient point that this season of The Voice has a particularly strong crop of singers, so winning on the show comes down to song selection and interpretation.

Then came the battle between best friends. Blake picked boyish-looking country singer Carter Lloyd Horne to perform, then challenged John, who matched Carter’s handsome looks with his own heartthrob performer, Jacob Maxwell. Carter sang the intense “Way Down We Go,” by KALEO, while Jacob went with “You’re Still the One,” by Shania Twain. Little did the coaches know, the two contestants are close friends. 

The singers were paired for battle because of their similar look and style, and admitted afterwards that it was a little disappointing because of the close friendship they forged offscreen. “Little heartbreaking,” said Carter about having to battle his best friend.

Kelly picked sibling trio The Bundys to perform next and issued her challenge to “Elmer Fudd,” aka Coach Blake. Asked by Kelly if he’s scared of The Bundys, Blake laughed it off, saying that “it takes three people to go against” Andrew Sevener.

Kelly complimented The Bundys on their cover of The Box Tops‘ “The Letter,” pointing out how hard it is to do sibling harmony, let alone in a live setting. She also dropped a hint that the song The Bundys rehearsed to sing next in competition is “killer,” portending whom she might use her last save on. Blake described Andrew’s performance of Travis Tritt‘s “Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde” as a person “strolling around the stage looking for loose change” and declared that he burned the house down with his voice, a strange analogy that Adam Levine was quick to point out.

Next came the most unique pairing in the Cross Battles. Team Legend’s Shawn Sounds, a Houston educator with a powerhouse voice, performed “Lay Me Down,” by Sam Smith. John challenged Blake, who chose a singer from the opposite end of the spectrum — the sunny-voiced Orange County native Karly Moreno. Blake said Karly has a “wtf factor” and called her performance of Marian Hill‘s “Down” a breath of fresh air. Meanwhile, John heaped praise on Shawn’s vocal range, saying that while he loved Shawn’s tenor, he had no idea he would sing “down there” in a deep baritone.

Team Adam’s last artist of the night was Kendra Checketts, whom he stole from Blake’s team. He challenged John again, who chose a singer John originally stole from Team Adam: Jimmy Mowery. John was a big fan of the piercing high notes Jimmy hit during his cover of “Mercy,” by Shawn Mendes. But the coaches were captivated by the pain and power in Kendra’s performance of “Cold Water,” by Justin Bieber, and Blake was sure to remind everyone he was the only coach to turn for her during her blind audition.

With only two artists left on Team Kelly, young country singer Rebecca Howell performed another Shania Twain song, “Any Man of Mine.” Her challenger from Team Legend was former Anita Baker background singer Beth Griffith-Manley, who dropped to her knees during her rendition of “I Put a Spell on You,” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Afterward, John talked about Beth’s ability to move beyond her “polish” after a discussion they had during rehearsal to draw on the song’s raw energy of pain. Adam called Rebecca transformation into the show’s best country singer “the shock of the season.”

The final Cross Battle saw Team Blake’s Gyth Rigdon take on Abby Kasch from Team Kelly. Abby sang a lively version of “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun,” by Carrie Underwood. But it was Gyth who seemed to really impress, using his strong country voice to soothing effect on the mellow “Goodbye Time,” by Conway Twitty, a song Blake also covered as a young man. “This guy’s going to be in the finale,” Blake promised — the rare point with which Adam agreed.

The Voice returns Tuesday night at a new time, 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Tune in to see voting results for the Monday night Cross Battles.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Ava Max on the moment when she finally convinced herself that “Sweet But Psycho” wasn’t an “anomaly”

Lauren Dunn

“Sweet but Psycho,” the breakthrough single from Ava Max, is a big hit in the U.S., but before that, it was a big hit all around the world, starting in Sweden.  Even so, Ava says it took seeing the song become popular in a bunch of other countries to finally convince her that it was a hit.

“When it went #1 in Sweden, I was like, ‘OK this is weird, this is like an anomaly, it’s not gonna happen again,'” Ava tells ABC Radio. “And then it went #1 in Finland. Then Norway. Then everywhere else in Europe, and then it reached #1 in Australia.”

Ava goes on: “I wasn’t believing it at the time, and it took me, like, until [a few months ago] to be like, ‘Oh wow, this is really going!  People actually know the song!'”

One country where the song’s success has been very meaningful to Ava is Albania — because her parents are Albanian immigrants, just like the parents of Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha and Rita Ora.

“I haven’t even gone there yet and I feel the love and support tremendously,” Ava says of her parents’ homeland, where she still has plenty of family.

As for her family in the U.S., Ava says, “Everyone is super excited because they’ve seen the struggle of 10 years of [me] wanting to do this and not having the chance or the opportunity, so they’re proud and happy…and they’re just like, ‘Keep going!'”

Ava plans to release her debut album sometime this summer.

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In stone for all infinity: ‘Avengers’ stars get hands in cement at famed Chinese Theatre

Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — In Los Angeles this afternoon, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, and the cast of Avengers: Endgame — Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner — were immortalized together in the cement floor outside of the famed TCL Chinese Theater.

Famed film critic Leonard Maltin emceed the festivities and assembled the Avengers in front of their respective cement spots. As per tradition, each star signed their names using a wooden stylus, before plopping their hands into the wet stuff, which they did on Downey’s count of three.

This was the second imprint for Downey, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first hero. The man who’ll be forever known as Iron Man had his hands placed in cement there for the first time in 2009.

Samuel L. Jackson, who is part of the Marvel Universe thanks to his recurring role as Nick Fury, had previously been immortalized at the theatre, as have actors who have starred in various Marvel movies over the past 10 years, including Mickey Rourke, Michael Douglas, and Anthony Hopkins.

Stan Lee, the comics legend who creator or co-created so many of the big-screen heroes, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor, was inducted in 2017. He died in 2018.

Incidentally, TCL Chinese Theater was a part of the MCU in another way: It was leveled by an explosion from one of The Mandarin’s underlings in Iron Man 3.

Avengers: Endgame officially opens on Friday, though many theaters are showing it Thursday evening. Marvel Studios, like ABC News, is owned by Disney. 

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Watch now: Will Smith faces a younger version of himself in ‘Gemini Man’

Paramount Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — Will Smith is his own worst enemy in the first trailer for Ang Lee’s action thriller Gemini Man.

In the first promo, released on Tuesday, Smith is introduced as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin who is targeted by someone who can “seemingly predict his every move.” Brogan soon learns that the young operative is himself.

“I think I know why he’s as good as you,” says Smith’s co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead to an aging Brogan. “He is you.”

Although both characters are played by Smith, CGI allows Smith to appear noticeably different — and younger — in the promo, as a slowed-down, distorted version of Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” is played in the background.

Gemini Man, also starring Clive Owen and Benedict Wong, is set to hit theaters October 11.

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