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Rihanna to Testify in Chris Brown Preliminary Hearing; Usher Seeks Divorce


Former 'Idol' Contestant Michael Johns Releases New Album

The debut album by American Idol Season 7 Top 10 finalist Michael Johns will be released on June 23. Hold Back My Heart was funded entirely by Johns, who wanted complete control over the project. "I'd been signed before; my albums have always been shelved, or the label folded, or the guy that signed me got fired," the Australian singer told Billboard.com. "The most nightmarish situations. This time around, I wanted to go and make the record, own the masters, and whatever happened, it was going to be on my terms, my shoulders." The album's first single is "Heart On My Sleeve."

Former 'Idol' Contestant Teams Up with Evanescence

In other American Idol Season 7 alumni news… Top 10 finalist Carly Smithson has joined three Evanescence band members to form a new group. The hard-rock band, named The Fallen, releases its debut single, "Bury Me Alive," on June 22. That same day, they'll hold a news conference in Hollywood and make their public performance debut. The Fallen includes guitarists Ben Moody and John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray, plus bassist Marty O'Brien, who has recorded with Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, and many others. The band is planning to tour later this year.

Usher Files for Divorce

R&B star Usher is divorcing his wife of two years, Tameka Foster-Raymond. The couple has two children, 18-month-old Usher Raymond V and six-month-old Naviyd Ely Raymond. Usher and Tameka had reportedly been living apart for nearly one year. The singer missed this year's Grammy ceremony in February, when he learned that Tameka experienced a medical emergency in Brazil. She had a reaction to the anesthesia she was given prior to plastic surgery. Tameka suffered cardiac arrest, but was released from the hospital 11 days later.

Billy Joel Separates from Wife

60-year-old pop legend Billy Joel and his wife, 27-year-old chef Katie Lee, have separated. A joint statement released by their representatives said, "After nearly five years of marriage, Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel have decided to separate. This decision is a result of much thoughtful consideration. Billy and Katie remain caring friends with admiration and respect for each other."

Rihanna to Testify in Chris Brown Preliminary Hearing

On June 22, Chris Brown will be in a California courtroom for a preliminary hearing related to his assault case. The hearing will determine if there's enough evidence for the case to go to trial. Brown's former girlfriend, Rihanna, who he's accused of assaulting and threatening back in February, has been served with a subpoena to appear at the hearing. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jeffery Rubenstein, who's not involved with the case, told People magazine, "Rihanna's testimony can make or break the case. Her willingness to testify and be truthful about what happened is a step closer to convicting Brown. On the other hand, if prosecutors fail to present a case, [Brown's attorney Mark] Geragos can seek to dismiss or reduce the charges on the spot."

Grand Ole Opry Inducts Montgomery Gentry

Award-winning Country duo Montgomery Gentry will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on June 23. Last month, Country legend Charlie Daniels surprised them with the announcement during their Opry performance. Montgomery Gentry have one of the new entries on this week's Country chart with their latest single, "Long Line of Losers."

New Album Releases June 23

"Gran City Pop" - Paulina Rubio
"Black Clouds & Silver Linings" - Dream Theatre
"A Man's Thoughts" - Ginuwine
"Honey I'm Home" - Al B. Sure! (first new studio project in more than 15 years) "Steve Wariner, c.g.p., My Tribute to Chet Atkins" - Steve Wariner
"Buckingham Solo" - Tift Merritt

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits

The 2009 Glastonbury Festival will take place June 25-28 in Somerset, England. Headliners include Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Neil Young, Blur, Tom Jones, Lily Allen and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Hundreds of artists are scheduled to perform on more than one dozen stages during the four-day event.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin will hold its 2009 Summerfest June 25-July 5. More than 700 artists will appear, including Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan, No Doubt, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Earth, Wind & Fire. In addition to the many concerts, Summerfest offers special attractions, family activities, food vendors and interactive exhibits.

The "Rock the Bells" traveling hip-hop festival will stop in 10 North American cities beginning June 27. The lineup includes Nas, Common, the Roots, Damian Marley, KRS-One and Busta Rhymes, among others. The festival gets underway in Chicago, Illinois and wraps up in Mountain View, California on August 9.

Awards Presentations/Winners

On June 26, Motown legend Smokey Robinson will receive the Soul Heritage Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). The honor is given to ASCAP members who have made major contributions to the legacy of R&B music. Robinson will be presented with the award during the 22 annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Brad Paisley led the winners at the 2009 CMT Music Awards, which took place on June 16 in Nashville. He took home the Male Video of the Year honor for "Waitin' On A Woman," Collaborative Video of the Year for the Keith Urban duet "Start A Band," and he shared the CMT Performance of the Year award with Alan Jackson, George Strait and Dierks Bentley for "Country Boy" from CMT Giants: Alan Jackson. Taylor Swift's "Love Story" clip earned her the Female Video of the Year and the fan-voted Video of the Year awards. Other winners included Rascal Flatts, Group Video of the Year for "Every Day;" Sugarland, Duo Video of the Year for "All I Want To Do;" the Zac Brown Band, USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year for "Chicken Fried;" and Kid Rock, Wide Open Country Video of the Year for "All Summer Long."

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On June 21, Beyonce began a six-week U.S. tour at New York's Madison Square Garden. She's supporting her latest album, I Am…Sasha Fierce. After wrapping up U.S. dates on August 2, Beyonce will head to Japan to perform two shows in Osaka and Tokyo. Australian dates are set for September and she'll spend the month of November playing shows throughout Europe.

Classic rock groups Cheap Trick, Poison and Def Leppard will kick off a North American tour on June 23 in Camden, New Jersey. Forty shows are planned through early September. Last year, Def Leppard teamed with Country star Taylor Swift to tape a CMT Crossroads special. A DVD of the performance was released on June 16.

On June 26, Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd will begin their 2nd annual "Rock and Rebels" tour. The 38-city outing starts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lynyrd Skynyrd will likely preview songs from its upcoming album God and Guns, the band's first release since 2003. Kid Rock's latest album is 2007's Rock 'N Roll Jesus, which has sold five million copies worldwide.


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