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Lopez Pulls Out of 'Dallas' Movie; Madonna Teams Up with Kabbalah Center on Malawi Project


Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez has pulled out of the upcoming film version of the long-running CBS television drama Dallas. She had been cast in the role of Sue Ellen Ewing, wife of oil tycoon J.R. Ewing, who will be played by John Travolta. Shirley MacLaine and Luke Wilson will also star in the motion picture.

In a recent interview with Time magazine, Madonna announced that she has teamed with Kabbalah Center founder Michael Berg to create the project Raising Malawi. Its aim is to help orphan children in the southeast African country, which she plans to visit in October. Madonna hopes to raise at least $3 million for programs to improve the health, agriculture and economy of Malawi. This week, ground breaking took place for an orphan center that will be used to feed and educate up to 1,000 children each day.

Pop singer Clay Aiken will soon release the follow-up to his 2003 debut album Measure of A Man, which sold close to three million copies in the United States. Clay's new 14-track album, A Thousand Different Ways, is due out on September 19. The collection will feature ten cover songs, including Clay's versions of Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting," Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is," Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" and Celine Dion's 1996 hit, "Because You Loved Me."

Legendary Country artist Freddy Fender has revealed that he has an incurable form of lung cancer. The three-time Grammy winner was diagnosed with the disease this past January, and, since then, his doctors have found several more tumors. In the mid-1970s, Fender recorded a string of hits, including the Number One singles "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," "Secret Love" and "You'll Lose A Good Thing." He's at home in Corpus Christi, Texas and will undergo chemotherapy treatments to prolong his life. Freddy told his hometown newspaper, "I feel very comfortable in my life. I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run…I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."

The Walk of Fame at New York's Madison Square Garden now includes a plaque honoring the late George Harrison for organizing the Concert for Bangladesh. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the multi-star benefit, which raised money for the United Nations Children's Fund. Also on the Garden's Walk of Fame are plaques honoring such legendary artists as Paul McCartney, the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones.

This week, American Idol producers will travel to the first of seven cities to begin auditions for the show's sixth season. After spending the day in Los Angeles on August 8, they'll head to San Antonio, Texas (August 11); East Rutherford, New Jersey (August 14th); Birmingham, Alabama (August 21); Memphis, Tennessee (September 3); Minneapolis, Minnesota (September 8); and Seattle, Washington (September 19). They expect to audition up to 100,000 singers before sending 1,000 on to the second round to perform for executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. 250 will go on to the final round of auditions, where they'll face the show's judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. "American Idol" auditions are open to singers between the ages of 16 and 28.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

This week, many rock and Country artists will be in Sturgis, South Dakota for the first "Rock'n the Rally" festival. The event will run from August 6-10. Performers will include Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar, Keith Urban, Big & Rich, Steve Miller and the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

Nominations for this year's MTV Video Music Awards have been announced. Leading the contenders are the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Latin star Shakira. Each received seven mentions, including Video of the Year. Shakira says she's dedicating her nominations to the Latino community in the United States. Other major nominees include Madonna and Panic at the Disco with five nominations apiece, and Christina Aguilera, who's up for four awards. The 2006 MTV Video Music Awards will be handed out on August 31 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

1970s rock group the James Gang has reunited for a 17-city tour that begins on August 10 in Sturgis, South Dakota. The legendary band is led by Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh and also includes drummer Jimmy Fox and bassist Dale Peters.

On August 11, Country superstar Toby Keith will kick off his "Hookin' Up & Hangin' Out" tour in Cleveland, Ohio. Opening acts throughout the tour include newcomer Lindsey Haun, the new Country duo Rushlow Harris and Joe Nichols. Haun co-stars with Toby in his upcoming film, "Broken Bridges." She recorded the soundtrack's title track, which will be released as its first single. Toby's 27 tour dates are scheduled to run through mid-October.

For the third year-in-a-row, Bob Dylan will perform a series of summer concerts at minor league baseball stadiums throughout the U.S. The 17-city outing begins on August 12 in Comstock Park, Michigan. He'll be promoting his upcoming album, Modern Times, which hits record stores on August 29. Dylan will wrap up concerts in Fort Wayne, Indiana on September 5.

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