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Bice, Underwood to Compete in <i>American Idol</i> Showdown

  • Mary Morningstar

29-year-old Southern rocker Bo Bice and 22-year-old Country-influenced singer Carrie Underwood are the final two contestants in this year's American Idol contest. May 18, 21-year-old Vonzell Solomon was voted off FOX-TV's talent competition. The postal worker from Fort Myers, Florida said, "My American Idol journey has been crazy - a lot of emotions balled up into one. But it's all been worth it." Popularity polls show Bo Bice in the lead to win this year's American Idol title by as much as 61% of the vote. 37 million votes were cast for the top three contestants last week. Bo and Carrie will compete on May 24 and the new American Idol will be named on May 25.

37-year-old Australian pop star Kylie Minogue was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She learned of the illness while in Melbourne visiting family. Kylie was scheduled to perform dates on her "Showgirl Tour" in Australia and Asia, but those concerts have now been postponed while she undergoes treatment. Her manager stated that the disease appears to be confined to her breast and that surgery is planned to remove the cancer. Kylie issued a statement to her fans saying, "I want to reassure you that I'm being well taken care of. Hopefully, all will work out well and I'll be back with you all again soon." Doctors expect her recovery to take at least six months.

Cher's three-year farewell tour brought in nearly $195 million, making it the highest-grossing tour by a female artist ever. Her final two shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles both sold out, grossing $2,800,000.

On May 23, 62-year-old Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil and 79-year-old German crooner Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau will receive the 2005 Polar Music Prize for their contributions to music. Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf will present the award at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall, which will be followed by a dinner in their honor.

The Argent Mortgage Orchestrated concert series will begin on May 23. LeAnn Rimes will launch the one-night-only events with a performance with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Other contemporary artists to be paired with symphony orchestras include Seal, who will sing new arrangements of his songs with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on June 13; Duran Duran with the Orlando Philharmonic on July 18; and Jewel, who will appear with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra on July 30.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS:

There were several double winners at the 40th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, which were presented in Las Vegas on May 17. Australian Keith Urban was named Top Male Vocalist and won the Album of the Year honor for Be Here. Tim McGraw's recent hit "Live Like You Were Dying," won for Song of the Year and Single of the Year. Gretchen Wilson took home the Top New Artist and Top Female Vocalist trophies. And, Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss won in the Top Video and Vocal Event categories. In addition, Brooks & Dunn won their twelfth Vocal Duo ACM Award, Rascal Flatts was named Top Vocal Group, and this year's Entertainer of the Year award went to newlywed Kenny Chesney. Kenny's wife, actress Renee Zellweger, was unable to attend the event because of movie commitments. This year's fan-voted Home Depot Humanitarian Award went to Neal McCoy. Home Depot will build a playground in his hometown in East Texas. Other highlights of the ACM ceremony included Garth Brooks' special tribute to his late friend Chris LeDoux, who lost his battle with cancer in March. LeDoux was given the ACM's Pioneer Award.

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