Michael Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, appeared on the witness stand at the singer's child molestation trial on April 27 and 28. Called by the prosecution, Rowe was expected to testify that her participation in the rebuttal video to Martin Bashir's documentary about Michael's relationships with children was done to gain visitation rights to their two children. Instead, Rowe became a better witness for the defense by calling her ex-husband "a great person and a great father" who can be easily manipulated. Rowe also described two of Jackson's former managers as "opportunistic vultures" who took advantage of Michael. Jackson and Rowe were married from 1996 to 1999 and are the parents of eight-year-old Prince and seven-year-old Paris. Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon reportedly told the judge that the prosecution will rest its case on May 3.
On May 3, Universal Motown Records will release Stevie Wonder's new album, A Time 2 Love. The long-awaited album marks his first since 1995's Conversation Peace. Wonder says, "As an artist, you get anxious and excited…you want to show what you can do. But, for me, I had to make a real decision not to rush. A lot of what I do when I do an album is based on whether the timing is right." The first single from A Time 2 Love is a track called "What's The Fuss."
California theme park Disneyland will mark its 50th anniversary with many celebrations during the next 18 months. Among them, the May 3 release of Walt Disney Records' The Official Album of Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. The album includes LeAnn Rimes' recording of "Remember When," which will be played during the park's regular fireworks presentation. Richard Marx wrote and produced the track.
Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas enters the Billboard 200 chart this week at Number One with his solo debut album Something To Be. It marks the first time a male artist from a rock or pop group has debuted in the top spot with a debut solo album since Billboard introduced the chart 50 years ago. The collection also made chart history as the first album released in the new DualDisc format to reach Number One. Something To Be contains the full 12-song album on the CD side and more than 20 minutes of exclusive video material on the DVD side.
The 2005 Nashville Star winner was announced April 26. 18-year-old high school senior Erika Jo Heriges, from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, won the USA Network's Country music talent competition and earned a recording contract with Universal South Records. Erika Jo's debut album will be released on June 14.
Latin pop singer Paulina Rubio was a triple winner at the April 28 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Her wins included being named Artist of the Year Female Artist of the Year. She also took home the Female Pop Album of the Year honor for Pau-Latina. Colombian singer Juanes also received three trophies -- Male Album of the Year for Mi Sangre and Hot Latin Track of the Year and Top Male Pop Airplay Track for "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor." Other top winners included the new Mexican band Grupo Climax and Dominican-born Juan Luis Guerra. (See www.billboard.com for the complete list of winners)