The second season of the FOX-TV talent search series American Idol came to an end last week with the announcement that the public voted Ruben Studdard its winner. The 25-year-old native of Alabama earned a recording deal with Clive Davis' label, J Records. His debut single, Flying Without Wings, is due out next month and his album will follow in September. Runner-up Clay Aiken also received a record deal. RCA Records plans to issue his single, This Is The Night, and his debut album at the same time Studdard's are released. The competition continues…
May 26, Willie Nelson's 70th birthday tribute concert will air on the USA Network. Taped last month at New York's Beacon Theater, the show features appearances by Eric Clapton, John Mellencamp, ZZ Top, Paul Simon, Aerosmith, Ray Charles, Shania Twain, and many others. Nelson celebrated his 70th birthday on April 30.
May 27, the Honduran town of La Ceiba will unveil a monument to Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died in April of last year. The monument sits on the property Lopes bought before she was killed in a car accident while vacationing in Honduras.
58-year-old singer Barry White is recovering from a stroke he suffered on May 1. It's been reported that his right side and speech were affected. White has been in ill health for several years. In 1999, he was hospitalized for hypertension. Last year, doctors found that his high blood pressure had caused kidney damage. They stabilized his condition with dialysis so that he can undergo kidney transplant surgery. They're still searching for a suitable donor.
Michael Jackson spent a couple hours in an Indianapolis hospital on May 21, the same day he was scheduled to give a deposition in a copyright lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the Jackson Five were improperly credited for two songs done by another group, Ripples & Waves, that was based in Gary, Indiana. After being treated for dehydration, Jackson boarded his private jet for a return trip to Los Angeles.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES / MAY 27:
The National Memorial Day Concert in Washington will take place on May 25 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Performers will include Country band Lonestar, classical singer Renee Fleming, gospel star Yolanda Adams, Broadway/pop singer Linda Eder and the National Symphony Orchestra. The event will be televised on PBS and broadcast on Armed Forces Radio to U.S. military personnel in more than 135 countries.
May 27, Eric Clapton, Ricky Martin, Lionel Richie, Queen and Andrea Bocelli will perform at the 10th Pavarotti and Friends concert in Modena, Italy. The show will also include a duet by opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti and U2 frontman Bono. Proceeds from this year's event will go to S.O.S. Iraq, created by the People In Need Foundation. The foundation provides humanitarian aid to people in war-torn countries.
Singer Shemekia Copeland led the winners at the 2003 W.C. Handy Blues Awards, which were presented on May 22 in Memphis, Tennessee. The daughter of the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Copeland took home three awards, including Blues Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for Talking To Strangers. She was also named Contemporary Female Artist of the Year. Other multiple winners included Solomon Burke, who took home the Soul Blues Album of the Year and Soul Male Artist of the Year honors, and Charlie Musselwhite, who was named Contemporary Male Artist of the Year and Best Blues Instrumentalist (harmonica). B.B. King won the Blues Entertainer of the Year award for the fifth consecutive year.
LOOK WHO'S GOING ON TOUR!
Mariah Carey has made changes in her upcoming tour plans. The outing was set to begin on July 18, but the singer says she's decided she wants "something more intimate" than performing in big arenas. New dates will be announced soon. Carey will also re-release her latest million-selling album, Charmbracelet, on July 29. It will include four new tracks.