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Janet Jackson Leaves Virgin Records; 'American Idol' Auditions Begin

Auditions for the seventh season of American Idol will begin on July 30 in San Diego, California. Tryouts will also be held in Dallas, Texas (August 6); Omaha, Nebraska (August 10); Atlanta, Georgia (August 14); Charleston, South Carolina (August 18); Miami, Florida (August 22); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (August 27). American Idol hopefuls must be between the ages of 16 and 28 as of July 28. Producers will choose 300 to 400 singers from the tens of thousands who audition in each city to perform before executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. They'll send approximately 120 on to judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, who decide which singers go to Hollywood to compete in the finals. Last year, more than 100,000 singers tried out for a spot on the talent show.

Classic rock band Lyrnyrd Skynyrd and former National Football League quarterback turned sports broadcaster Doug Flutie will host a concert in Aspen, Colorado on July 31. The show will benefit the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Doug and Laurie Flutie's son was diagnosed with autism at age 3.

Janet Jackson has departed Virgin Records, the label that signed her to a recording deal in 1991. The signing was reportedly worth between $30 and $40 million. Janet is now with Island Records and working on her first album for the label. Her boyfriend, Jermaine Dupri, heads Island's urban division.

On August 3, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville will open the Marty Robbins exhibit, "Marty Robbins: Among My Souvenirs." Among the memorabilia displayed are Robbins' high school yearbook, two guitars, a car racing uniform and helmet, and many stage costumes. Robbins died of complications from heart surgery in 1982. That same year, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Reprise Records is planning to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Saturday Night Fever film and soundtrack with a reissue of the Bee Gees greatest hits album. They'll repackage the collection with two previously unreleased tracks and new remixes of "You Should Be Dancing," "Night Fever," "How Deep Is Your Love and "If I Can't Have You." The album will be released on September 18.


New albums scheduled for release on July 31 include: "Finding Forever" by Common, "Famous" by Puddle Of Mudd, "True Beauty" by Mandisa (2006 "American Idol" finalist), "Go" by Mario, "New Possibilities" by Yo-Yo Ma, "Tribe" by Luka Bloom and "Where I Am" by Tammy Cochran.


On July 28, Eric Clapton's second Crossroads Guitar Festival was held in Chicago, Illinois. The lineup included Jeff Beck, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Alison Krauss & Union Station, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, the Robert Cray Band, Steve Winwood, and others. Proceeds will go to Clapton's Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Antigua.

The Lollapalooza '07 festival will be held in Chicago, Illinois August 3-5. The three-day event will feature performances by Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, Muse, Stephen Marley and dozens of other acts. 200,000 music fans are expected to attend this year's festival. (See for entire lineup.)

On August 4 & 5, the 2nd annual U.S. Virgin Fest will be held at the Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland. Headliners include the Police, Smashing Pumpkins and the Beastie Boys. Fountains of Wayne, Incubus, Cheap Trick, Amy Winehouse and Ben Harper are just a few of the other performers scheduled to appear.


On August 1, Prince will begin a 21-night engagement at London's new 23,000-seat O2 Arena. Each ticket buyer will receive a free copy of his new album Planet Earth. The concerts will be Prince's only U.K. dates in 2007.

T.I. and Ciara will headline the "Screamfest '07" tour, which begins on August 3rd in New Orleans, Louisiana. Also on the bill are Yung Joc, T-Pain and Lloyd. The 21-city outing wraps up in Los Angeles on September 2.

On August 4, Crowded House will kick off its first tour in more than a decade. Shows begin in Northampton, Massachusetts. The 29-date North American trek wraps up with a performance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on September 14. Crowded House will be supporting its new album, Time On Earth, which includes the band's current single, "Don't Stop Now."