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Coldplay's Latest Release a No. 1 Hit; Britney Spears Returns to Court for Child Custody Hearing


British rock group Coldplay enters this week's Billboard 200 chart at Number One with its latest release, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. The album sold 721,000 copies in its first week. Billboard reports that this marks the first time since March 2005 that two albums have sold more than 700,000 copies in consecutive weeks. Last week, rapper Lil Wayne became the first artist in more than three years to sell more than one million copies in the opening week.


On June 19, Britney Spears and her ex-husband Kevin Federline were in court for another child custody hearing. The judge ruled in Britney's favor to expand visitation with her two young sons. She's now allowed to have one monitored overnight each week with her children. Federline was given full custody of two-year-old Preston and one-year-old Jayden in January. Following the hearing, Kevin's lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said, "Kevin has always been willing to jointly parent these children. He felt confident that the conditions satisfied his concerns."


Two American Idol finalists are in the news. Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard applied for a marriage license in Columbiana, Alabama on June 23. His representative confirmed that he plans to wed Surata Zuri McCants on June 28. And, season 6 "American Idol" runner-up Blake Lewis has lost his recording deal with Arista Records. His debut album, "Audio Day Dream," sold 300,000 copies. Lewis claims Arista didn't promote the album properly. The label said, "We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."




47-year-old British singer Boy George planned to begin a 24-date North American tour on July 11. The State Department has turned down his visa request, however, because he's scheduled to stand trial in London later this year. The charges stem from his arrest in April 2006. A male escort from Norway accused him of false imprisonment and assault.



The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation has announced the 15 nominees being considered for induction later this year. The 10 nominees in the Songwriter category include Matraca Berg, Paul Craft, Kye Fleming, Larry Henley, John Jarrard, Bob Morrison, Mark D. Sanders, Tom Shapiro, John Scott Sherrill and Sharon Vaughn. Five additional nominees appear in the Songwriter/Artist category. They are Paul Davis, Larry Gatlin, John Hiatt, Johnny Horton and Tony Joe White. The 2008 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place in Nashville on October 26.



NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on July 1 include: "Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles" by John Mayer, "Forgiven" by Los Lonely Boys, "Identified" by Vanessa Hudgens, "Hole In The Sun" by Night Ranger and "Girlicious" by Girlicious.



MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS


The 2008 Essence Music Festival will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana July 4-6. The 14th annual event will feature performances by Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Jill Scott, Irma Thomas, Angie Stone, Ledisi, Rihanna, and many others.



AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

Alicia Keys and Chris Brown won the Best Female R&B Artist and Best Male R&B Artist honors at the 2008 BET Awards, which were handed out on June 24 in Los Angeles. Other winners in the music categories included UGK for Best Group, Marvin Sapp for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, The Dream for Best New Artist and Kanye West for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and Best Collaboration for "Good Life," an award he shared with T-Pain. During the ceremony, Quincy Jones received this year's BET Humanitarian Award and soul legend Al Green was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.



TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On July 1, the "American Idols Live" tour will begin in Glendale, Arizona. The 50-date trek will feature this year's Top 10 finalists Michael Johns, Kristy Lee Cook, Jason Castro, Syesha Mercado, Brooke White, Carly Smithson, Chikezie Eze, David Archuleta, Ramiele Malubay and winner David Cook. Concerts will wrap up in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 13.

Pop/rock singer John Mayer finishes his European tour on June 29. Two days later, he'll begin the North American leg. The first stop is at Milwaukee, Wisconsin's July 2 "Summerfest." Thirty more concerts are scheduled through August 31.

After wrapping up European shows with Avril Lavigne on June 28, the Jonas Brothers will return to the U.S. to kick off their headlining North American "Burning Up" tour. Dates begin on July 4 in Toronto. The Jonas Brothers' third album, A Little Bit Longer, is due out on August 12.

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