College student Tim Urban, 20, from Duncansville, Texas was voted off "American Idol" on April 21. That night's two-hour special included the annual "Idol Gives Back" benefit to raise money for charity organizations in the United States and abroad. The list of organizations is available at www.idolgivesback.org. Carrie Underwood, Elton John, the Black Eyed Peas and Alicia Keys were among the many artists who performed on the show.
In other "American Idol" news, bandleader Ricky Minor is leaving the show after the current season ends on May 28. He's taking over Kevin Eubanks' position as music director for Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" beginning June 7. Minor has been music director on tours by many superstars, including Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles and Christina Aguilera.
On April 27, Atlantic Records will release the debut album by rapper B.o.B. "B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray" includes the track "Airplanes," this week's highest entry on the Hot 100 chart at Number 12. A second digitally-released track, "Nothin' On You," takes over the Number One position on that same chart. Born Bobby Ray Simmons in Atlanta, Georgia, B.o.B. was signed to Atlantic Records while he was still in high school. He's supporting his debut album on a U.S. tour with rapper Lupe Fiasco.
Legendary British rock guitarist Jeff Beck earned the highest debut of his 45-year career with his new album "Emotion & Commotion." Beck's first new collection in seven years entered the Billboard 200 at Number 11. Its first single, "I Put a Spell on You," is a duet with Joss Stone. Other vocalists on the set include jazz singer Imelda May and opera singer Olivia Safe.
Hanson will perform a five-night run at New York's Gramercy Theatre April 26-30. Each of the shows will feature Hanson playing full albums from their five-CD catalog. Group member Zac Hanson says, "We've been a band for a long time… I think we just wanted to take a moment and reflect on where we've come from and sit down and say, 'OK, what is this band? What has it been?' and play these records back to back before we blaze into the future." Hanson plans to film and record the shows for future release. The band's new album, "Shout It Out" is scheduled to be out on June 8.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES:
New albums scheduled for release on April 27 include: "Party Heard Around the World" by Lonestar, "Fearless Love" by Melissa Etheridge, "Nobody's Daughter" by Hole, "Unmistakable Love" by Jo Dee Messina, "Never Alone" by Jim Brickman featuring Lady Antebellum, "Age of Miracles" by Mary Chapin-Carpenter, "Drowning Pool" by Drowning Pool, "Thank You Mr. Churchill" by Peter Frampton and "The Essential Carole King" (double CD) by Carole King.
MerleFest 2010 will be held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina April 29-May 2. The annual festival showcases bluegrass, Americana, Country and roots music. It was founded in 1988 in memory of Merle Watson, son of bluegrass legend Doc Watson. More than 75 acts will perform at this year's event, including Doc Watson, Elvis Costello, Dailey & Vincent, Little Feat, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and the Zac Brown Band. In addition to the many concerts, MerleFest offers children's activities, crafts and entertainment and a shopping village featuring artisans, vendors, food and official MerleFest memorabilia.
The 2010 Bamboozle festival will take place May 1-2 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Headlining artists include Weezer, Paramore, Drake, Ke$ha and MGMT. The Bamboozle music festival has taken place every year at Giants Stadium since 2003. Earlier this month, Giants Stadium was replaced by the new Meadowlands Stadium.
The 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards will be presented on April 29 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Tito "El Bambino" leads this year's contenders with 18 nominations for his album "El Patron" and single "El Amor." Following close behind with 14 nominations is Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel. Other leading nominees include Dominican bachata group Aventura with 12 nods and Mexican singer Espinoza Paz with eight. Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and Mexican groups Banda el Recodo and La Arrolladora Banda El Limon each received six nominations. Two special honors will be handed out during the telecast. Marc Anthony will be given the Billboard Spirit of Hope Award for his philanthropic work. Mexican group Los Temerarios will be recognized for its 30-year career with a Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards will air in 47 countries on the Telemundo Network.
Lady Antebellum led the winners at the 45th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, which were presented on April 18 in Las Vegas. The Country trio was named Top Vocal Group, ending Rascal Flatts' seven-year winning streak in that category. Lady A also won the Single Record of the Year and Song of the Year honors for their recent Number One hit, "Need You Now." Because they produced and composed the song, the trio picked up two additional ACM Awards. Other winners included Miranda Lambert (Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for "Revolution" and Video of the Year for "White Liar"), Brad Paisley (Top Male Vocalist), Luke Bryan (Top New Solo Vocalist and Top New Artist), Gloriana (Top New Vocal Group), Joey + Rory (Top New Vocal Duo) and Carrie Underwood (Entertainer of the Year). Miranda Lambert is the first female solo artist in the history of the ACM Awards to twice win the Album of the Year category. Carrie Underwood became the first female artist to win two ACM Entertainer of the Year Awards.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION:
Country singer Daryl Worley will perform his eighth Stars for Stripes tour in Iraq from April 29-May 3. He'll play some shows with his full band and also several special acoustic concerts at bases in remote areas. Worley says, "Those young men and women are so phenomenal. Because of what they do, we are all very fortunate to have the lifestyle and freedom that we have." The non-profit Stars for Stripes organization provides entertainment to American military troops overseas and provides education to the public on U.S. military history and operations.