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Capitol Christmas Tree to Be Illuminated Wednesday Evening

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The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be illuminated Wednesday night during a lighting ceremony on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

The star of the evening is a 60-foot blue spruce, which traveled to D.C. from New Mexico’s Carson National Forest and will be decked out with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of New Mexico.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will light the tree during Wednesday night’s ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The tree will then be lit each night through New Year’s Day.

It won’t be the week’s only high-profile lighting ceremony. The Christmas tree outside the White House will be illuminated during an event Thursday night, but only those who previously obtained tickets during a free lottery will be able to attend. However, D.C. residents and visitors will be able to view a lighting display nightly on the White House Ellipse from Dec. 9 to New Year’s Day. Called the Pathway of Peace, the walkway surrounding the tree will feature 56 state and territory trees decorated with unique handmade ornaments. 

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Halsey Apologizes After Unintentionally Calling for Collapse of One World Trade Center – NBC4 Washington

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Halsey is clarifying a controversial comment she made on social media.

Earlier this week, Pitchfork shared their review of the singer’s new album. “Too much of this album sounds like the amorphous pop that you might associate with a miserable Lyft ride,” the tweet shared.

Ultimately, Halsey saw the review and chose to respond. “Can the basement that they run p*tchfork out of just collapse already,” she posted (then deleted) online.

While it may sound like a standard clap back, one follower couldn’t help but point out that the Pitchfork offices are at the One World Trade Center building in New York City.

“Losing my mind thinking about the person on Halsey’s team who had to tell her she just called for the collapse of One World Trade,” NBC News reporter Ben Kesslen pointed out online. Ultimately, Halsey realized she made a mistake and quickly deleted the post.

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“ABSOLUTELY deleted it upon realizing this. Was just trying to make a joke! Intended zero harm,” the “Without Me” singer shared on the social media platform. “Just figured I could poke at them back with the same aloof passive aggression they poke at artists with! Clearly a misunderstanding.”

Social media posts aside, Halsey has big plans for the year ahead.

Earlier this month, the pop superstar announced she will be heading out on the North American leg of her Manic World Tour this summer. CHVRHES and Omar Apollo will serve as special guests.

And although many believe Halsey was snubbed out of nominations for the 2020 Grammys, the singer is still feeling grateful for the music she has been able to create.

“My fans, please do not waste your anger or frustration,” she shared shortly after the nominations were announced. “I see a lot of you are upset. Of course I’m sad too. None of it matters. Literally none of it. You’re here. I’m here. Plus everything is gonna stay exactly the same and without me is still a super tight, record breaking song.”

This story first appeared on eonline.com. More from eonline:

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Taylor Swift Talks Eating Disorder, Politics in Revealing New Documentary – NBC4 Washington

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The normally private Taylor Swift premiered an intimate documentary Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival in which the pop star discloses a past eating disorder, chronicles her inner battle over speaking forthrightly about politics and says her victorious 2017 sexual assault court case was a dramatic turning point in her life.

“Miss Americana,” a Netflix documentary directed by Lana Wilson, was one the most feverishly awaited films in this year’s Sundance program, and the premiere at the Eccles Center in Park City on the festival’s opening day was a predictably frenzied scene. Outside the theater, dozens of Swift fans sang in unison.

The film, which will debut Jan. 31 on Netflix, plays like a coming-of-age drama for a performer who — despite finding mega-fame as a teenager — took some time to truly find her voice. In the film, she says she always strove to be “a good girl” and needed approving “pats on the head” for any sense of gratification.

But “Miss Americana” captures an evolution in Swift.

“It’s time to take the masking tape off my mouth, like, forever,” she says in the documentary.

Swift entered the theater after the lights went down to watch the film and appeared afterward on stage in a brief Q&A with Wilson. While Swift said she was a big fan of movies and documentaries, this was a new experience for her. After a standing ovation, Swift turned to Wilson and said, “So I’ve never done this before. What do we do?”

One of the film’s most dramatic scenes shows Swift, eager to speak out against the 2018 Senate campaign of Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, meeting with her family to discuss it. Her father warns against it, citing the potential economic impact. Her publicist later advises President Donald Trump might come after her. Indeed, when Swift posted on Instagram against Blackburn and urged young voters to register, Trump said he liked Swift’s music about 25% less — a response Swift mocks in the film.

On the Eccles stage, Swift said she grew more political after she countersued, and won, against a Denver radio DJ whom she said groped her during a meet-and-greet before a concert.

“It was a really horrible experience to have,” Swift said. “I had all the privilege in the world, financial support and the ability to pay for a brilliant lawyer. I won that trial but without all that, I don’t know what would have happened. It taught me so much.”

Swift also talks in the film about coming to terms with body image issues that grew out of scanning the countless images that are shot of her, and the comments posted on social media. Swift says she would sometimes go into “a hate spiral” and starve herself after seeing photos that she felt she looked overweight in.

“Miss Americana” includes plenty of intimate scenes of Swift at home or at work. She drinks white wine with ice cubes and didn’t try a burrito until a few years ago, we learn.

But a continuous thread through the documentary is of Swift, who last month turned 30, crafting music. In scenes by the piano or in the studio, Wilson captures Swift writing lyrics and honing melodies with a relentless passion.

Swift said she was most nervous about sharing her writing process with Wilson. But the filmmaker earned her trust.

“For so much of my life in the public eye when I get sad or upset or humiliated or angry or go through a really horrible time, I feel like people lean in with, like, this hunger. And you never did that to me,” said Swift to Wilson. “That was what made me feel OK about feeling sadness, humiliation and anger around you.”

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‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Tyler Gwozdz Dead at 29 After Apparent Overdose – NBC4 Washington

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Former “Bachelorette” contestant Tyler Gwozdz has passed away at the age of 29.

E! News has confirmed that the reality star, who competed on Hannah Brown‘s season of the dating series, has died. Gwozdz was hospitalized last week after a suspected overdose.

The Boca Raton Police Services Department previously confirmed to E! News that officers responded to a call for a suspected medical overdose at around 10:45 a.m. local time on Jan. 13. Gwozdz was then transported to the hospital.

PHOTOS: A Brief History of Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” Finales

TMZ previously reported that Gwozdz was admitted to the intensive care unit in a Florida hospital and remained there for about a week.

Bachelor Nation will remember “Tyler G.,” as fans called him, as an early stand-out on Brown’s “Bachelorette” season in 2019, where he received the first one-on-one date. However, shortly after becoming a fan favorite, Gwozdz suddenly left the show without much of a warning to Brown or his fellow contestants, other than he “had to leave.”

Brown has yet to comment on the passing of Gwozdz a psychology grad student.

Gwozdz’s last Instagram post was shared in September. In the photos, he can be seen with fellow Bachelor Nation stars, including Matt Donald, Dylan Barbour and Clay Harbor.

Our thoughts are with Gwozdz’s family during this heartbreaking time.

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Elton John, Erivo, Menzel, Metz Among Oscar Performers – NBC4 Washington

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The singers from five Oscar-nominated songs will reprise their performances live at next month’s Academy Awards.

Producers said Thursday that best actress nominee Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Randy Newman will perform during the Feb. 9 ceremony.

Erivo will sing “Stand Up” from “Harriet.” John will perform “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman.” Newman will sing “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4.”

Menzel will be joined by singer-songwriter Aurora to perform “Into The Unknown” from “Frozen II.” Chrissy Metz will sing “I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough.”

The show will also feature an appearance by Questlove and a guest-conducted segment from Eímear Noone, who is the first woman to conduct during an Oscars telecast.

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Ousted Grammy Chief Suggests Awards Are Tainted – NBC4 Washington

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The ousted head of the Grammy Awards says that music’s biggest awards are tainted because of conflicts of interest that affect how certain songs and artists are nominated.

Nevertheless, Deborah Dugan said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday that she plans to watch the Grammys this weekend.

Dugan was fired only months into her job as head of the Recording Academy and this week filed an explosive complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that alleged she was sexually harassed and that the music organization was a “boy’s club” that favors friends. The academy, which has accused Dugan of misconduct, has said it has launched an investigation.

The personnel allegations had largely overshadowed Dugan’s charges about the integrity of the Grammys’ awards process — a huge problem given that its annual ceremony is set to be televised on CBS in three days.

“The system should be transparent and there are incidents of conflicts of interest that taint the results,” Dugan said on ABC.

Her complaint charged that a “secret committee” that decides who gets Grammy nominations contains people with business and personal relationships with artists, and that they push their favorites ahead. The Grammy membership generally selects 20 potential nominees in categories and internal committees whittle those lists down to the five or seven eventual nominees.

She charged that an artist who was ranked 18th out of 20 in the initial song of the year process last year got a nomination and the artist was actually on the committee that decided the nominees. The same artist, who Dugan did not identify, is represented professionally by someone on the Recording Academy board.

Dugan suggested the conflict was behind two notable snubs in the category, of songs performed by Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran, although there has been some question about whether Grande had submitted her indelible hit, “Thank U, Next,” for the award.

Brandi Carlile, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga were among the nominees for this award, which was won by “This is America,” performed by Childish Gambino.

In the category of jazz vocals, Dugan alleged that an artist nominated for an award participated in the nomination process. Again, she did not name the artist involved.

Overall, she said some 30 artists whose work was not chosen as a potential nominee by the Recording Academy membership were added to that list because they had personal or business relationships with people on the nomination committees or the Academy’s board.

Dugan also said that nominations were handed out to songs or albums because the producer of the annual awards show wanted them to be performed on the show.

Producer Ken Ehrlich did not answer a message seeking a response to Dugan’s allegations.

Despite her charges, Dugan said she’s watching Sunday because she worked very hard on the show and loves the artists who will be performing.

“I couldn’t say more positive things about all of the nominations and everyone that performs,” she said. “Oh, my God, I hate that I’m in this situation because I’d much rather be talking about the artists and their music.”

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The Smithsonian’s Obama Portraits Are Going on Tour – NBC4 Washington

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The iconic portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will temporarily leave the National Portrait Gallery next year to go on a nationwide tour.

The portraits will go off-display in D.C. in May of 2021, according to a press release.

Kim Sajet, the Portrait Gallery’s director, said in the release that the museum has seen a record number of visitors since unveiling the portraits in February 2018.

She says visitors come “not only to view these works in person, but to be part of the communal experience of a particular moment in time.”

The year-long tour will kick off in President Obama’s hometown at the Art Institute of Chicago on June 18, 2021. The portraits will then travel to the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the High Art Museum in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

The tour will feature an audio-visual element, workshops and special presentations in each location, the Portrait Gallery says. The National Portrait Gallery also plans to release a book, “The Obama Portraits,” on Feb. 11 in anticipation of the tour.

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