Artist of the Week: Usher


After Usher's last album, 2004's Confessions, went platinum 10 times with four No. 1 singles, there wasn't much the natural-born star -- and natural-born seller -- hadn't yet achieved in the recording studio or in his personal life. Except settle down.

After winning Star Search as a kid, coming up under L.A. Reid and under Diddy's wing at the height of Puffy Mania, collecting five Grammys and selling nearly 30 million albums worldwide, Usher -- who seems physically incapable of not creating monster hits -- has gone from boy wonder to self-made man, and finally, husband to Tameka Foster and father to Usher Raymond V.

His fifth studio album, Here I Stand, drops tomorrow, and its first single, "Love In This Club,'' has already climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been downloaded over 1.5 million times and counting. And though "Love In This Club" is a booty jam with enough commitment to free love to bring tears to the eyes of R. Kelly, the rest of the album -- including "Best Thing" and the title track -- assures that Usher's "U Don't Have to Call" player days are over. This is the work of a changed man, a self-actualized, introspective adult, but with all that sexy swagger still fully intact.

In less than 30 years, Usher has had more career ups (and, remarkably, very few downs) and has accomplished more than more than half his peers combined: his own charity and camp. TV and film roles. A stint on Broadway in Chicago. His own fragrance collection. His own NBA team. Super-sick abs.

But there's still one thing the 29-year-old superstar hasn't yet done, and that's Superbad. Specifically the role of McLovin'. Until now.

With the 2008 MTV Movie Awards less than a week away, Usher got in front of the lens for a series of fake auditions in his MTV Artist of the Week spots, stepping into the shoes of some of the silver screen's most memorable men. And according to the shoot's producers, Usher could've earned a prestigious golden popcorn statue too -- his performances drew spontaneous applause from the crew, but no one cheered harder than his wife and kids who came out to the shoot to hang out.

You can catch the spoof spots all week on MTV, and, below, watch Usher's new "Love In This Club" video and live performance from The Hills After Show party, plus a handful of our all-time favorite Usher videos. And don't forget to tell us why Usher's talent, soul, and honesty never fail to get you caught up.

UPDATE: Watch all of Usher's Artist of the Week videos here.

+ More Usher videos after the jump.