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The 13 Best Things That Happened in Music This Week (August 14)

Dolly Parton
Miller Mobley

Dolly Parton photographed on July 6, 2020 in Nashville.

This week kicked off with a sugary bang, as Harry Styles’ summer bop ascended to the top of the Hot 100. Truly a “watermelon sugar high!”

Plus, artists were overjoyed at Joe Biden’s VP pick in Kamala Harris, The Weekend stepped up to help Beirut victims, and country superstar Dolly Parton made a major statement about Black Lives Matter in her wide-ranging Billboard cover story. (If you have time for only one read this weekend, make it that one.)

Take a look at more of the week’s biggest music happenings below.


Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100

A Hot 100... high! Styles' "Watermelon Sugar" rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, becoming his first No. 1 on the ranking (up from No. 7). As Billboard's Gary Trust reports, Styles is the second member of One Direction to have led the Hot 100, following Zayn with "Pillowtalk" in 2016. Congrats, Hazza! Check out the full rundown for this week’s chart here.

Billboard published a Verzuz digital cover story

Writer Naima Cochrane dove deep on "the Verzuz effect" -- namely, why iconic artists (and Apple) are betting big on the battles. According to interviews with key players Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, they’re planning to expand beyond hip-hop and R&B. “We haven’t even hit the Latin space, we haven’t even hit the African space, we haven’t even hit the global space that we’re definitely going into,” Swizz hints. “People need to be educated and celebrated in those areas as well. That’s why we say we’ve got a long runway with this thing.” Check out the cover story here.

...And a Dolly Parton cover story

Dolly Parton opened up to Billboard’s Melinda Newman about steering her multi-faceted empire through the pandemic -- and spoke out about Black Lives Matter -- in our 2020 Country Power Players issue. “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” Parton says. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!” All hail Dolly. Read the full cover story here and see the 2020 Country Power Players list here.

...And caught up with Pentatonix

Pentatonix’s Kirstin Maldonado and Kevin Olusola joined the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast for a chat about how the group's been recording during quarantine, and what's next. “Before quarantine started, we actually had finished original (non-cover) songs that we're excited about,” Olusola teased, “And we're excited to start thinking about how we start to release those songs into the world.” Check out the full episode here.

Major artists joined iHeartMedia's new "Why I'm Voting" campaign

iHeartMedia announced the official launch of its 2020 voter awareness initiative, "Why I'm Voting, and artists like Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, John Legend and Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds are all on board. Those musicians -- and many more -- will share why voting matters to them in the upcoming 2020 election. Learn more here.

Selena Gomez announced an exciting virtual premiere

"Oh, oh, oh / It's magic": Gomez will reunite with her Wizards of Waverly Place co-star David Henrie for the virtual premiere of his directorial feature debut, This is the Year. "With all the craziness going on on the world, a feel-good movie is just what we need. Most premieres are only for a very small, select group of people, but not this one," Gomez said in a video announcement. "We want all of you to watch it with us." See when it’s happening here.

In related news, Blackpink confirmed that the special guest on their upcoming single is...you guessed it...Selena! Here’s what we know.

Dua Lipa stepped into the Jimmy Kimmel Live! hosting slot and dropped the "Levitating" remix

Lipa delivered host Jimmy Kimmel's monologue and interviewed celebrities, both a first, on Monday night (Aug. 10). She even went undercover to see what people think of her! Check out Lipa's monologue and interview with Gwen Stefani here.

The even bigger Dua news of the week, though, was her star-studded "Levitating" remix and video with Missy Elliott, Madonna and The Blessed Madonna. Check it out here.

Artists were overjoyed at Joe Biden selecting Kamala Harris as his vice presidential candidate

Taylor Swift, John Legend, Nick Jonas, Ben Platt and many more took to social media to celebrate the big news. "Madame Vice President has a nice ring to it! #BidenHarris2020," Jonas tweeted, while Legend wrote, "Very happy for our friend and Senator and future Vice-President, @KamalaHarris, and very much looking forward to voting for the Biden-Harris ticket to begin the difficult work of recovering from this nightmare presidency and building an even better future." Check out more reactions here.

The Weekend made a big donation to victims of the Lebanon explosion

The superstar gave a $300,000 donation to the victims of the recent explosion in Beirut, according to his manager, Wassim "Sal" Slaiby. "I am so honored and humbled to work with artist’s who have such deep care for the world and right now for our brothers & sisters of Lebanon who are in pain and need our collective help. I want to thank my brother @theweeknd for his generous and class act of donating $300,000 to the Global Aid for Lebanon campaign," Slaiby wrote on Instagram. Learn more here.

Sia, Portugal The Man, Matt Maeson and more will unite for a children's charity album

Benefitting Save the Children, Atlantic Records will release a children's charity album titled At Home with the Kids. The LP will feature 23 brand new kid-friendly tracks from Sia ("Riding On My Bike"), Portugal The Man ("Tomorrow"), Matt Maeson ("Giants") and more. Get the exclusive details here.

The 2020 edition of Premios Juventud exceeded all expectations

2020 Premios Juventud aired live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on Thursday night (Aug. 13). The 17th annual event provided a safe environment for the small group of on-site talent such as Karol G, Sebastian Yatra, and El Alfa, and the audience was completely virtual. From Pitbull getting emotional to an unforgettable Selena tribute, check out the highlights from the event here.

Artists didn’t hold back during Billboard Live At Home performances

This week, Jasmine Thompson, Niki DeMar and Mali Music partnered with Billboard for a new round of Live At-Home sessions, providing fans with quarantine entertainment while benefiting some worthy causes. Watch all three performances here.

New Music Friday was stacked

This New Music Friday featured fresh cuts from Drake and Lil Durk, Miley Cyrus, SuperM and Burna Boy. There were also can't-miss releases from Kane Brown, John Legend and Orville Peck this week -- if it all seems overwhelming, get the TL;DR on everything you need to know about the best new music here!