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Top-artist honor caps eventful year for Bruno Mars

By Star-Advertiser news services

LAST UPDATED: 2:10 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2013

NEW YORK » Miley Cyrus twerked her way to the top of the charts, and Justin Timberlake returned to music after a seven-year hiatus, but another artist owned music in 2013: Bruno Mars.

Billboard announced Friday that the pop crooner is the year's top overall artist.

"It's flattering. It's just an honor," Mars said this week. "I'm proud to be a part of this whole team that I have."

The Honolulu-born singer's year included a No. 1 hit with "When I Was Your Man" and a top-five hit with "Treasure." His sophomore album, "Unorthodox Jukebox," was released late last year and has sold more than 1.8 million units. It's the second best-selling album of the year behind Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience."

Mars added that listeners have resonated with his music because it's "relatable."

"You know when you eat that food and it's filling that void you were missing," he said, describing his music.

Taylor Swift is the year's top female artist for Billboard, while Mars is the leading male. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is the top group and new act.

Timberlake ruled the R&B charts, while groups Florida George Line and Imagine Dragons topped the country and rock charts, respectively.

Mars' impressive year also includes four Grammy nominations. His No. 1 hit, "Locked Out of Heaven," is up for two of the top awards, song and record of the year. He'll launch the second North American leg of his "Moonshine Jungle World Tour" this summer.

Beyonce's announces, releases latest album

NEW YORK »Beyonce has released her new album in an unconventional way: She announced and dropped it on the same day.

The singer released "Beyonce" exclusively on iTunes early Friday. She mirrors how Jay-Z released "Magna Carta Holy Grail" earlier this year -- through a deal with Samsung where he gave the album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones days before its official release.

Beyonce's fifth effort features 14 songs and 17 videos. Jay-Z, Drake and Frank Ocean make guest appearances on the album, while the closing track, "Blue," features her daughter Blue Ivy. Justin Timberlake co-wrote the songs "Rocket" and "Partition," and Pharrell, Timbaland, Ryan Tedder, Miguel and Sia also co-wrote tracks. The song "***Flawless" -- which incorporates part of "Bow Down/I Been On," a song Beyonce posted earlier this year -- uses audio from a speech about feminism by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

On Friday afternoon the explicit and clean versions of "Beyonce" ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the iTunes albums chart.

"I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it," she said in a statement. "I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There's so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn't want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it's ready and from me to my fans."

"Beyonce" will be available in stores "in time for the holidays," her representative said.

Prince Harry, soldiers complete South Pole trek

LONDON »Prince Harry and his fellow adventurers have made it to the South Pole.

Harry, 29, is a member of one of three teams involving injured soldiers that set out two weeks ago on the 200-mile Walking with the Wounded South Pole Challenge.

The charity said Friday that the teams arrived at the South Pole at 3:25 a.m. Hawaii time.

The challenge was initially a race, but organizers suspended the competitive element last week because of harsh conditions.

Actors Dominic West and Alexander Skarsgard also were on the trek with teams from Britain, the Commonwealth and the U.S.

Harry, an army Apache helicopter pilot who has served in Afghanistan, spent several days in 2011 trekking with wounded servicemen on a similar expedition to the North Pole.

'American Psycho' arrives on London stage

LONDON » An energetic musical adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' novel "American Psycho," about a soulless yuppie serial killer at large in 1980s Manhattan, has opened onstage in London.

The show stars Matt Smith, best known as the galaxy-hopping hero of the BBC sci-fi series "Doctor Who."

The book's graphic violence provoked extreme reactions when it was published in 1991. The play, which opened Thursday at the Almeida Theatre, seems unlikely to generate such starkly opposing views, though it did divide critics.

The Times of London's Dominic Maxwell gave it five stars out of five Friday, calling it "a darkly funny, outrageously entertaining evening." But Daily Telegraph critic Charles Spencer found it "glib, heartless and pretentious" -- though he predicted, "It's going to be a big hit."

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