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Las Vegas Gears Up for Billboard Music Awards; Rolling Stones Score Top Grossing Tour


On December 5, Gwen Stefani's second solo album will be released. The Great Escape includes collaborations with the Neptunes, Senegalese hip-hop star Akon, Swiss Beatz and Dave Stewart, among others. In April 2007, Stefani plans to begin a tour in support of the album. In other news, Stefani's concert DVD, "Harajuku Lovers Live," will also be released on December 5. It features performances from a show she performed in her hometown of Anaheim, California.

Third season American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson has been signed to Arista Records. She'll begin recording her first album with producer Clive Davis in 2007. Hudson, 25, is receiving critical praise for her role as Effie in the upcoming film version of Dreamgirls. The movie opens in select cities on December 15 and nationwide on December 25.

Box office numbers are in for Barbra Streisand's recent concert tour, which marked her first live shows in six years. reports that her 20 concerts grossed more than $92 million and set house records in 14 of 16 arenas. Performances from her concerts in Philadelphia and New York City will be released on her upcoming double CD Barbra Streisand Live. The set is due out February 6, 2007.

In other touring news, the Rolling Stones' "Bigger Bang" tour has beat U2's record as the top grossing tour ever. U2's 2005-2006 "Vertigo" tour grossed $333 million. The Stones shattered that record by bringing in $437 million. Director Martin Scorcese filmed two of the group's late October shows at New York's Beacon Theater for an upcoming documentary.

On December 5, former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar will be honored for promoting tourism in Los Cabos, Mexico. Mayor Luis Armando Diaz will attend the event, which will showcase more than 20 local restaurants and several jazz, salsa and rock bands. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Red Cross and Fire Department of Los Cabos. Hagar first visited Cabo San Lucas in the early 1980s and later wrote the song "Cabo Wabo" about his love for the area. He now owns a world-famous nightclub and restaurant in Cabo San Lucas.


New albums scheduled for release on December 5 include: "Eminem Presents the Re-Up" by Eminem, Ciara: The Evolution" by Ciara, "10" by Brian McKnight, the original motion picture soundtrack to "Dreamgirls" and "Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live" by Lil Scrappy.


The 2006 Billboard Music Awards will be presented on December 4 in Las Vegas. The awards honor the year's most popular recordings and artists as determined by Billboard's weekly charts. This year's top contenders include Nickelback, Rascal Flatts, T.I. and Mary J. Blige, who are nominated in five categories each. The ceremony will feature performances by Janet Jackson, Fergie, the Killers, Gwen Stefani, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris and the Fray. Also during the telecast, Tony Bennett will receive the 2006 Century Award, Billboard's highest award for artistic achievement. FOX-TV will broadcast the show live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.