24-year-old Brooke White from Mesa, Arizona was voted off American Idol on April 30. She finishes in fifth place. The five finalists were mentored by pop legend Neil Diamond and each sang two songs from his extensive catalog. Remaining in the vocal competition are Syesha Mercado, David Cook, Jason Castro and David Archuleta. The show proved to be "too hard" for judge Paula Abdul, who critiqued two songs by Jason Castro after he had performed only one. In her defense, producers changed the judging requirement at the last moment on Tuesday night's show. Due to time restraints, they were asked to give a quick summary of the five finalists after all had performed the first round of songs.
Jennifer Lopez is in talks with the TLC cable channel to create a new series. Lopez's manager, Simon Fields, says, contrary to some reports, the shows will not feature her children and family life. "It's a show that will track the creation, production and eventual launch of a new fragrance," he says. The series is expected to air later this year.
68-year-old R&B legend Tina Turner has announced she'll begin her first U.S. tour in seven years on October 1 in Kansas City, Missouri. Her "Twenty Four Seven" tour was the highest-grossing tour of 2000 and America's fifth highest-grossing tour ever.
On May 6, Cher will open her Las Vegas stage show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. She's scheduled to perform four nights a week at the venue for the next three years. The 61-year-old singer issued a statement that said, "I started in Vegas at Caesars, so I've come full circle. I'm back and I plan to give my fans the best experience yet. I think everybody knows I only do things in a big way."
Country superstar Carrie Underwood will become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry on May 10. Randy Travis offered the Opry's invitation during her recent performance on the famous stage. Since making her debut in 2005, Carrie has sold more than 9 million copies of her first two albums. She's also won three Grammy Awards, four Country Music Association Awards and many other industry honors.
Many artists are teaming with the non-partisan voter registration group HeadCount to stage voter registration drives at their upcoming concerts. They include Santana, John Mayer, the Foo Fighters and Jack Johnson. Volunteers with HeadCount will register new voters at more than 1,000 concerts this year.
Last year, the British rock group Radiohead offered fans its 2007 album In Rainbows as a digital download for any price they wanted to pay. But, it seems the group won't be so generous with future releases. Lead singer, Thom Yorke, told the Hollywood Reporter newspaper, "I think it was a one-off response to a particular situation. I don't think it would have the same significance now anyway, if we chose to give something away again. It was a moment in time." Radiohead left EMI Records in 2005 and released In Rainbows independently. Prince and Nine Inch Nails are among the other artists who have offered free music. Last week (April 28), Coldplay released the first single from its new album Viva La Vida as a free download. Demand for the song, called "Violet Hill," was overwhelming and the band's web site crashed.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on May 6 include: "Gavin DeGraw" by Gavin DeGraw, "Home Before Dark" by Neil Diamond, "On My Way Here" by Clay Aiken, "Greatest Hits: Every Mile A Memory 2003-2008" by Dierks Bentley, "Awake Live" by Josh Groban (live performance CD/DVD recorded last August in Salt Lake City, Utah, which will air as a PBS special next month), "Momofuku" by Elvis Costello, "Trust Me" by Craig David, "Stars" by Mindi Abair, "Running Back To You" by Chris Sligh, "A Night To Remember" by Johnny Mathis, "Secrets" by Sierra Hull and "E-Life" by Mint Condition.
Sting and his wife Trudie Styler will host their annual Rainforest Foundation benefit concert on May 8 at New York's Carnegie Hall. Feist, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, trumpeter Chris Botti, cellist Natalie Clein and tenor Roberto Alagna will perform at the event.
On May 9, the fourth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert will take place in Los Angeles. Guitarist Slash will receive the From the Heart Award for his dedication to the mission and goals of the organization. Alice Cooper will be honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his support of the MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community with access to addiction recovery treatment. Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and President of MusiCares says, "The issues of addiction and recovery have been front and center this past year. And our annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit draws attention and raises funds to support the critical resources we offer members of the music community from all walks of life who may be struggling with addiction. We thank Alice and Slash for being strong supporters of our cause - it's more important now than ever before."
The Blues Foundation's 29th annual Blues Music Awards will be presented on May 8th in Tunica, Mississippi. This is the first time the ceremony has been held in the Mississippi Delta, which is considered to be the birthplace of the Blues. Leading nominees include Bobby Rush, Watermelon Slim and Bettye LaVette. The night before the awards show (May 7), the Blues Foundation will induct its 2008 Hall of Fame class. Inductees include Jimmy McCracklin and Hubert Sumlin, as well as late artists Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Peetie Wheatstraw, Jimmy Witherspoon, and the Mississippi Sheiks.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
On May 7, Australian pop star Kylie Minogue will begin a 52-date European tour in Paris, France. She'll be supporting her new album, X. Kylie will also stop in Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Latvia, the Netherlands and the U.K. She'll wrap up the tour with seven nights at London's O2 Arena on August 4.
Country star Tim McGraw will kick off his "'08 Live Your Voice" tour on May 9 in Tampa, Florida. Thirty-five dates are currently scheduled across the U.S. through July 6. Country newcomers Jason Aldean and Halfway To Hazard will open the shows. McGraw invited the "Rock the Vote" organization to join the tour to mobilize voter registration awareness.