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Quick Takes: Beliebers make it happen

June 28, 2012

Justin Bieber's "Believe" is the year's top-selling debut album.

Nielsen SoundScan reports sales of 374,000 copies following its release last week, giving the 18-year-old Canadian pop singer the fourth No. 1 album and the best sales week of his young career. "Believe" also debuted at

No. 1 in 29 other countries.

The album topped Madonna's "MDNA" as the year's top debut thus far and is the bestselling first-week release since Drake's "Take Care" came out in December. Kenny Chesney's "Welcome to the Fishbowl" followed Bieber last week with 193,000 albums sold.

Bieber has sold more than 15 million albums since he put out his first record in 2009.

Fans have been impatiently awaiting the release of "Believe," viewing the video for the title single 86 million times on YouTube and putting four songs in the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100 chart simultaneously.

— Associated Press

A musical with plenty of Spice

Proving that some musical phenomena can stay dormant for only so long, the Spice Girls are set to make a comeback of sorts with a stage musical that's set to open on London's West End on Dec. 11.

But before you imagine the lattice-work plot of the 1997 film "Spice World" being reworked for onstage audiences, Judy Craymer (creator of "Mamma Mia!") reportedly has something different in mind for the similarly exclamatory "Viva Forever!," which will prominently feature the sounds of Sporty, Ginger, Posh, Baby and Scary Spice.

More seriously, writer Jennifer Saunders (of "Absolutely Fabulous" fame) signed on to work with Craymer on the project and envisions the Spice Girls music framing an "American Idol"-styled singing contest led by Viva, a young woman with a chaotic home life who looks to resolve feelings about her adoption through belief in herself, female friendship and "girl power."

Though the Spice Girls reportedly pitched Craymer on the project and elements of their story were used for "Viva Forever!," the producer is careful to clarify that this isn't a tribute show.

"It isn't just an excuse to put the Spice Girls' songs on stage," she said. "It's a beautiful story, properly told. Whether you like the Spice Girls or not you'll love these songs within a musical."

— Chris Barton

Eli Broad among top art collectors

Eli Broad remains among the top 10 art collectors in the world, according to the 2012 annual ARTnews list, which was published this week. The magazine released the list of the world's top 200 collectors, among whom are a number of wealthy individuals with ties to Southern California.

Broad and his wife, Edythe, have placed in ARTnews' top 10 for several years running. This year, they are joined by several other familiar faces — François Pinault, Philip Niarchos, Pierre Chen, Alexandra and Steven A. Cohen, Debra and Leon Black, Helene and Bernard Arnault, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Dmitri Mavromatis and Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Besides the Broads, the ARTnews 200 list features several other collectors who live in the Los Angeles area — Maria and William Bell Jr., Pamela and Jarl Mohn, Eric Smidt, Dean Valentine and the Ovitz family.

The list also includes Dasha Zhukova, a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Zhukova appears in the ARTnews list alongside her partner, Roman Abramovich.

— David Ng

Who can lead against aliens?

A poll has found that President Obama has a commanding lead over Mitt Romney on an issue that neither candidate has yet addressed: how they would handle an alien invasion.

National Geographic Channel found that nearly 65% of Americans surveyed said they believed that Obama was better able to handle an alien onslaught than Romney. And no, that's not the kind of alien from another country. It's the green kind, with tentacles and beak-like jaws.

The channel surveyed 1,114 Americans in late May to get their thoughts on all things alien in anticipation of the channel's upcoming series "Chasing UFOs." It even asked which superhero Americans would turn to first in the event of an alien invasion. (It's the Hulk.)

Obama was particularly strong on the issue with women, with 68% saying they favor the president when it comes to dealing with flying saucers. And 61% of male respondents agreed. Obama also did well among Americans older than 65, with half of those surveyed casting their lot with him.

— Patrick Kevin Day

2012 Olympics finds its Muse

The British rock trio Muse has the official song for the 2012 London Olympics.

The song, "Survival," is a thundering rock anthem that was broadcast for the first time Wednesday on BBC radio. It will be played during the July 27-Aug. 12 Games as athletes enter the venues and before medal ceremonies.

— Associated Press

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