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Elton John Performs at Clinton Fundraiser; Ashlee Simpson Announces Engagement


On April 15, Island/Def Jam Records will release Mariah Carey's new album, E=MC2. Last week, she earned her 18th Number One hit with the collection's first single "Touch My Body," which keeps its place at the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart this week. Mariah's last album, 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi, has sold close to six-million-copies in the United States.

Fall Out Boy's first live album, "****, will be released on April 15. The set includes the group's version of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." In other news, the members of Fall Out Boy say they hope to begin recording a new album soon. And, the band's bassist Pete Wentz and singer Ashlee Simpson recently announced their engagement. Ashlee is pop singer Jessica Simpson's younger sister.

On April 19, singer Kelly Clarkson will perform for Pope Benedict XVI at the Papal Youth Rally at St. Joseph's Seminary Chapel in New York. Also appearing at the event are contemporary Christian acts Third Day, Three Graces and TobyMac.

On April 9, Elton John performed a concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall to raise money for Senator Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign. The show brought in $2.5 million. Last October, Senator Clinton celebrated her 60th birthday with a fundraising concert at New York's Beacon Theater. Performers included the Wallflowers, Elvis Costello and actor/comedian Billy Crystal. That event raised more than $1.5 million for her campaign.

Australian singer Michael Johns was voted off American Idol on the April 10 results show. His final performance was Aerosmith's "Dream On." Many viewers were shocked because Johns had never been in the weekly bottom three contestants. During the elimination show, host Ryan Seacrest announced that the April 9 "Idol Gives Back" benefit raised $60 million through sponsor and viewer donations. He said more donations are expected to come in from online pledges at the American Idol web site and iTunes downloads of the contestants' performances. Last year's "Idol Gives Back" show raised $76 million. The Idol Gives Back Foundation is a non-profit organization established by the producers of American Idol and the FOX Network to raise money and awareness for children and families living in poverty and at risk in the U.S. and abroad.

NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on April 15 include: "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Concert" (CD/DVD set) by Miley Cyrus, "Vegas Years" by Everclear, "When You Know" by Dianne Reeves, "Phoenix" by Asia, Lady Antebellum's self-titled debut, "Fail On Cue" by Jimmie's Chicken Shack, and "Insides Out" by Jordan Zevon (son of the late Warren Zevon).

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

On April 14, the 2008 CMT (Country Music Television) Music Awards will be handed out in Nashville. Brad Paisley and Sugarland lead this year's contenders with four nominations each. Following close behind with three mentions apiece are Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift and Trace Adkins. In addition to a trophy, this year's winners will receive $2500 for their favorite charity. CMT's Director of Public Affairs Lucia Folk says, "Much like the goal of CMT One Country to inspire others to take action and bring about change, we are proud to facilitate artists giving back to the community that has supported them in their successes." Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and his 15-year-old daughter, pop superstar Miley Cyrus, will co-host the ceremony. Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus are among the scheduled performers.

Juan Luis Guerra led the winners at the 2008 Billboard Latin Music Awards, which took place on April 10 in Miami. The merengue star took home the Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year award, the Tropical Album of the Year honor for La Llave de Mi Corazon and the Producer of the Year trophy. Double winners included bachata group Aventura, late Mexican singer Valentin Elizalde, pop singer Gloria Estefan, raggaeton star Daddy Yankee, Mexican pop group Camila and Puerto Rican singer Kany Garcia. (Complete list of winners at www.billboard.com.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

Van Halen returns to the road on April 17 to perform concerts that were postponed in March due to guitarist Eddie Van Halen's undisclosed health problems. Shows begin in Reno, Nevada. On April 19, the band will appear at golfer Tiger Woods' "Tiger Jam XI." The event benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, which works to empower and educate youths. Van Halen will wrap up its make-up dates on June 2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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