This week Mariah Carey scores her 18th Number One on Billboard's Hot 100 chart with "Touch My Body." That puts her in second place behind the Beatles for having the most chart-toppers on that list. The Beatles' Number One songs total 20. Elvis Presley is in third place with 18. "Touch My Body" is from Mariah's upcoming album E=MC2, which will be released on April 15. The single's 15 to 1 jump on the Hot 100 chart was made by first week digital sales of 286,000 downloads. That sets a new record for the most first-week downloads.
38-year hip-hop star Jay-Z is in the news for making big changes in both his personal life and professional career. He and longtime girlfriend Beyonce Knowles applied for a marriage license in Scarsdale, New York on April 1. The couple have not confirmed reports they married but MTV and UPI report that singer Mary J. Blige congratulated Jay-Z during their joint concert tour in North Carolina. People.com quoted a friend as saying the couple held a wedding celebration at Jay-Z's Manhattan apartment Friday night. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Jay-Z is close to signing a $150 million deal with concert promoter Live Nation, which recently made deals with Madonna and U2. Jay-Z's deal would give him an upfront payment of $25 million and advance payments of $10 million for at least three albums. It also includes $25 million to put toward concert tours, $20 million for publishing and licensing rights, and a $50 million commitment to finance his investments and entertainment ventures. Live Nation spokeman John Vlautin told USA Today that nothing has been signed, but the company is in "deep talks" with Jay-Z.
Dolly Parton was the guest mentor on the April 1 American Idol show. The nine finalists sang their versions of some of Dolly's hits and lesser-known songs. 20-year-old Florida native Ramiele Malubay, who sang, "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind," was voted off the following night. Upcoming mentors include Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Speaking of American Idol, on April 9, the second annual "Idol Gives Back" charity special will air on FOX-TV. Last year's benefit raised $76 million for needy children throughout the world. This year's show will feature appearances by Bono, Miley Cyrus, Celine Dion, Fergie, Mariah Carey, Maroon 5, American Idol alums Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Fantasia and Amy Adams, and many others. "Idol Gives Back" viewers can make donations via the Internet and a toll-free phone number.
On April 8, CBS-TV will launch its new reality series, "Secret Talents of the Stars." Each week, celebrities will compete to determine who has "the best unknown talent." Three judges will critique the performances, but viewers will vote for their favorite celebrity. Among the celebs taking part in the show are Country singer Clint Black, who will perform stand-up comedy; Country singer Jo Dee Messina, who will show her hip-hop dancing skills; actor George Takei, who will sing Country music; actress/model Marla Maples, who will perform gymnastics; and singer/actress Mya, who will tap dance.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on April 8 include: "Spirit" by Leona Lewis, "Sunset Man" by James Otto, "Boo!" by Was (Not Was), "Mountain Battles" by The Breeders, "Peace, Love & BBQ" by Marcia Ball and "Iron & Diamonds" by The Gibson Brothers.
On April 12, singers Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson will join actresses Jessica Alba, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Glenn Close and others at the "V To The Tenth" event at the New Orleans Arena. The show will benefit organizations that work to end violence against women. "V To The Tenth" will feature performances of "The Vagina Monologues," including a new monologue delivered by talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
On April 6, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will hold its 2008 Juno Awards in Calgary, Alberta. Celine Dion earned six nominations, including two Album of the Year mentions for Taking Chances and her French-language album D'elles. Avril Lavigne, Michael Buble and Feist each received five nominations. The International Album of the Year category includes Bon Jovi, Fergie, Josh Groban, Rihanna and Timbaland.
The 19th annual Billboard Latin Music Awards will take place on April 10 in Hollywood, Florida. Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra leads the contenders with seven nominations. Following close behind is Colombian artist Fanny Lu with six mentions. Dominican-American group Aventura and Mexican singers Marco Antonio Solis and Vicente Fernandez each received five nods. The awards ceremony will be broadcast live on the Spanish-language television network Telemundo.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
On April 10, pop/rock group OneRepublic and rapper Fabolous will begin a tour of college campuses. The 13-city "Crocs Next Step Campus Tour" opens at Miami's Florida International University and wraps up at the State University of New York in Albany on May 3. The winner of a campus "Battle of the Bands" contest will fill the opening slot in each city.
Soulja Boy will kick off his 19-date "21 and Under" tour on April 11 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He'll be supporting his debut album, "souljaboytellem.com," which has sold 800,000 copies since its release last year. The album's international hit single, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)," has sold more than three million digital downloads.
Former Men At Work lead singer Colin Hay will promote his 2007 album "Are You Lookin' At Me" with a solo acoustic tour that begins in Annapolis, Maryland on April 12. He's also scheduled to go on the road this summer with Ringo Starr and his 10th All-Starr Band. Hay's solo acoustic tour wraps up in Santa Barbara, California on May 22. The North American All-Starr Band outing begins in Niagara Falls, Ontario on June 19.