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Zakary Walters

Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John just released their brand-new holiday single, "Merry Christmas," but it turns out only one of them was eager to do a holiday song at first.

Speaking with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, Ed confessed he used to think there was "no point" in making a song for the holidays.

"When Elton rang me and said, 'Let's do a Christmas song,' I was like, 'There's no point doing a Christmas song, because there is so many great ones out there,'" Ed recalled. "I've never actually thought of making a Christmas song. It's always been the type of thing that I thought I'd do when I was 60."

But Ed was intrigued by the prospect of doing something for the holidays with his idol, and said, "To be honest, if it wasn't with Elton, I wouldn't be doing it. I've always wanted to work with him and this made the most sense."

That said, Ed still had a few conditions before he jumped in the recording studio with the legendary artist.

"If we're going to do it, we have to chuck the kitchen sink at it and it has to tick every single box. It has to be sleigh bells…It has to be ding-dong church bells, it has to be mistletoe, dancing and wine!" he told Sir Elton.

They did exactly that and produced a song lush with camp and Christmas cheer. They went all-out for the song's music video, too -- although Ed says he almost "killed [Elton] with a bell" during filming.

"I kick a present, but the present had a big metal bell on top of it...the bell flew past his head and would've cracked him in the head," Ed explained, and promised to release that outtake in the future.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

  • Updated

Republic Records

The Recording Academy announced the 2022 Grammy nominees on Tuesday. While the winners won't be announced until January, nominees are certainly celebrating the recognition.

Halsey, whose 2020 album Manic was famously snubbed last year, is overjoyed that her new album, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, received a nod for Best Alternative Album. "Really wasn’t expecting that!" she tweeted, while shouting out her "heroes:" album collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails

"I am so proud of this album and hope that you guys continue to love it for years to come. Here’s to taking risks," she added.

Lil Nas X walks into the 2022 Grammy Awards with several big nominations, including Record, Album and Song of the year.  He told his fans, "don’t have to win a single award, truly thankful for all the insight this year has brought me. and thankful for the journey. love u guys."

LNX and Halsey both shouted out BTS for securing their second Pop Duo or Group Performance nod in a row for their summer smash, "Butter."

Ariana Grande, who is up for Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance for Positions, retweeted the Academy's announcement and told them, "thank you so so much."

Ed Sheeran, who recently released his new album, = (Equals), said he is "Very chuffed" that his song "Bad Habits" is up for song of the year.  

The leading nominee for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards is jazz artist and Late Night with Stephen Colbert  bandleader Jon Batiste, with 11, followed by Justin BieberDoja Cat and H.E.R., all with eight, while Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo have seven each.

The Grammy Awards will air January 31 on CBS.

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Courtesy Niantic

Ed Sheeran isn't shy about his "massive affinity" of Pokémon and, on Monday, the British singer partnered with the popular Pokémon GO app for an exclusive concert.

Ed started off the performance by declaring how "super excited" he is to be part of the franchise, adding that he's "been waiting my entire life for this!"

"I, like many people, discovered Pokémon when I was younger. I remember being in primary school in, like, 1997, and Pokémon cards were all the rage," Ed reminisced.  He began collecting the cards himself even though he "didn't really know what they were.  I just knew that everyone at school had them!"

Ed eventually discovered the Pokémon games for the Nintendo Gameboy, saying he would share Pokémon Red with his brother before he got his own copy of Pokémon Yellow for his birthday.

"I just played that for years and years and years," he admitted. "I didn't really have many friends in primary school, so the Pokémon were essentially my mates... I'm sure lots of people watching this can relate to that."

Ed then did a 20-minute acoustic concert, singing hits old and new, including "Perfect," "Bad Habits," "Overpass Graffiti," "Thinking Out Loud," "First Times" and "Shivers."

As part of the multi-day event "Overpass Graffiti" will play instead of the usual theme song during the overnight hours. If you missed the show, you can watch it through November 30 at 4 p.m. ET. 

Ed's favorite Pokémon character, Squirtle -- wearing sunglasses -- will also appear in the game for players to capture during the event.

You can learn more on on the app's blog.

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Courtesy Niantic

If you're an Ed Sheeran fan, you probably know that he's a huge Pokémon fan. Now, he's going to live his dream by actually appearing in the game.

Ed's teaming with Pokémon GO for a special performance that will be accessible through the game.  The performance video will be available to view from November 22  at 2 p.m. ET through November 30 at 4 p.m. ET.  Ed will be performing some of his biggest hits and his new songs, like "Bad Habits" and "Shivers." 

Ed's favorite Pokémon character, Squirtle -- wearing sunglasses -- will also appear in the game for players to capture.  In addition, players can redeem a code to get an exclusive in-game avatar featuring Ed's album art for his new album Equals, which will be on the outfit he'll be wearing while performing. 

You can redeem the code -- 4SQS6N359Y7NPCUW -- via Pokémon GO starting November 22 at 4 p.m. ET.

The full details of all the Pokémon GO fun can be found on the game's blog.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

  • Updated

ABC/Randy Holmes

The Kid LAROI added yet another awards show performance to his ultra-busy schedule.  The "Stay" singer is set to take over the ARIA Awards stage when the ceremony airs November 24.

Previously, LAROI's performed at the MTV VMAs and is set to perform at a slate of music festivals before launching his debut headlining End of the World tour, which kicks off in January 2022.

The ARIA -- or Australian Recording Industry Association -- Music Awards unveiled its complete list of performers on Tuesday and tapped the 18-year-old as one of this year's main entertainers.

Ed Sheeran will also make a cameo during the festivities to honor the late Michael Gudinski.  The legendary Australian concert promoter was a close friend of Ed's, and his death earlier this year inspired Ed to write the song "Visiting Hours." The ARIAS are renaming its breakthrough artist award after Gudinski. Masked Wolf is one of the contenders for that award.

LAROI is up for four awards this time, including best artist.  Additionally, his "Stay" collaboration with Justin Bieber earned him a nod for best pop release, while his track "Without You" is up for song of the year and best hip hop release.  Justin's album Justice is being considered for best international act.

The ARIA awards are set to air on Wednesday, November 24 and will be simulcast on YouTube, starting at 3:30 a.m. ET/7:30 p.m. AEDT.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dan Martensen

Ed Sheeran just received a major invitation from Seoul, South Korea.  The Mnet Asian Music Awards, known as the MAMA Awards, asked the British pop star to perform at their event.

Entertainment Tonight describes the MAMAs as K-pop version of the Grammy Awards.  They will be held on December 11 and will be broadcast worldwide.

Ed recently collaborated with the K-pop group BTS on their summer hit "Permission to Dance" this year and co-writing their 2019 single, "Make It Right."

The singer has yet to comment on the MAMA Awards invitation.

This announcement comes as the MAMA Awards revealed that they are thinking about moving the ceremony from South Korea to the U.S. because of K-pop's growth in global popularity.  If they do, the organizers will evaluate nominees on their international influence.

As for why they want to move the show to America, Kim Hyun-soo, who is the CJ ENM director-general of music content, said it's because the U.S. is the "world's biggest music market."  He adds that these changes will help "further heighten MAMA as one of the top-tier global awards show."

The MAMA Awards go live Saturday, December 11, at 4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT.

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  • Updated

Courtesy MTV

BTS, Ed Sheeran, Måneskin and Lil Nas X took home trophies over the weekend at the 2021 MTV European Music Awards, which aired live from Budapest, Hungary on Sunday night.

BTS were the big winners, scoring four awards including Best Pop, Best K-Pop, Best Group and Biggest Fans.  Lil Nas X won Best Video for "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)," while Ed Sheeran won Best Artist and Best Song for "Bad Habits."  Ed opened the show with his song "Overpass Graffiti" and also performed "Shivers."

Måneskin won Best Rock and performed their latest hit, “MAMMAMIA,” while Doja Cat and SZA won Best Collaboration for "Kiss Me More." Billie Eilish's video for "Your Power" was named Video for Good. 

Olivia Rodrigo was named Best Push, and Saweetie, who hosted the show, was named Best New.  She also performed her songs "Best Friend," "Tap In" and "OUT OUT."

Other performers included OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons.

Justin Bieber, who was the leading MTV EMA nominee with eight nods, failed to win in any of the categories in which he was nominated.

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  • Updated

Sean Gallagher/NBC

Last month, Ed Sheeran revealed that he and Elton John were teaming up for a Christmas single, and during an appearance on The Tonight Show on Monday, Sheeran shared some more details about the song.

The "Shivers" singer told host Jimmy Fallon that Elton called him up last December to wish him a Merry Christmas and extended an invitation to join him on another holiday song, because his classic "Step Into Christmas" had returned to the British top 10.

"So, he rung me on Christmas day and said, 'I want to do another Christmas song do you want to do with it me?'" Sheeran recalls. "So I said to Elton, I was like, "I don't really want to do Christmas song unless we're going in unless it's like...sleigh bells, ding dong -- it needs to be a proper Christmas song. So I wrote a chorus, and then I went to go and stay with him and we wrote three and one of them was this one called 'Merry Christmas.'"

"I'm like, "We're gonna have to change that title 'cause there's probably loads of songs called 'Merry Christmas,'" he continued.

However, to Ed's surprise, "I went on Spotify and I typed in 'Merry Christmas.' Nothing. There's 'Merry Christmas, everyone,' there's 'Happy Xmas.' There's 'Merry Xmas (War Is Over)'... There's not a song called 'Merry Christmas.' And then I went on YouTube and checked it out; it baffled me...it's kind of like this glitch in a video game where no one saw."

A release date for "Merry Christmas" has yet to be announced.

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Courtesy Netflix

Ed Sheeran's cameo in Game of Thrones made him the target of online haters, but he's now doubling down by using yet another unexpected cameo appearance to poke fun at the situation.

The new Netflix action comedy film Red Notice, starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, includes a scene in which an extremely rich man pulls out all the stops for his daughter's wedding -- including hiring Ed to be the entertainment. 

However, the party gets busted by Interpol for reasons we won't go into, and Ed is then dragged away by agents. After swinging his guitar at them, he screams, "Don't you know who I am?  I was on Game of Thrones!"

Ed talked about the cameo when he was a guest recently on Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, but didn't mention the name of the film.  He explained that random, funny cameos like that are the only types of acting he likes to do these days, because when it comes to acting, he has "real imposter syndrome."

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Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Spotify

Ed Sheeran celebrated the success of his number-one album, = (Equals), by transforming a New York City hotel into a traditional English pub this past weekend.

Ed teamed with Spotify to turn The Bowery Hotel into 'The Butterfly,' an English pub with English food and decor, as well as beers inspired by his album.  Fans and their families who attended also got to have an 'English Sunday Roast' -- a traditional meal that includes roasted meat, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and vegetables.

Ed also entertained the guests by performing songs from = (Equals), including "Overpass Graffiti," "Tides" and "The Joker & the Queen" -- the first time he ever performed the latter for a live, in-person audience.  In addition, Ed mingled with fans and took selfies, noting, "This was the first time getting to meet and interact with fans in a while.”

The event took place on Sunday, after Ed performed on Saturday Night Live.

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