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Usher's New Album Tops Billboard 200; American Idol Runner-Up Signs Record Deal


R&B star Usher takes over the Number One position on the Billboard 200 for the week ending June 14 with his new album, Here I Stand. Usher's previous album, 2004's Confessions, also debuted at Number One after selling more than one million copies its first week.

Legendary soul singer Al Green makes his first Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 this week with Lay It Down. The release enters the chart at Number 9. Some critics are calling Lay It Down Green's best effort since the 1970s. Guests include Corinne Bailey Rae, Anthony Hamilton and John Legend.

American Idol season seven runner-up David Archuleta has been signed to 19 Recordings/Jive Records. Two weeks ago, his versions of "Imagine," "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" and "In This Moment" all entered Billboard's Hot 100 chart. That same week, sales of digital downloads led to 11 chart debuts by American Idol winner David Cook.

Country music's reality competition Nashville Star will launch its sixth season on June 9. For the first time, the series will air on NBC-TV. The two-hour premiere will include a special appearance by 18-year-old Taylor Swift. It will also feature highlights from nationwide auditions and a look at this season's Top 12 finalists. Billy Ray Cyrus will host this year's Nashville Star. The celebrity judges are Jewel, John Rich of Big & Rich and hit songwriter and producer Jeffrey Steele. John Rich will also write and produce the winner's debut single.

This week, Jessica Simpson's first Country single blasts onto the Country chart at Number 41. "Come On Over" was co-written by Simpson, Rachel Proctor and Victoria Banks. Jessica says, "It's about that feeling you get when you just can't wait to see the person you're crushing on. You feel like you're going to burst if you can't see them right then and there." Simpson was in Nashville on June 5 to appear at the CMA Music Festival. Her Country album will be released later this year.


New albums scheduled for release on June 10 include: "Tha Carter III" by Lil Wayne, "Flavors of Entanglement" by Alanis Morissette, "Back When I Knew It All" by Montgomery Gentry, "All I Intended To Be" by Emmylou Harris, "Encanto" by Sergio Mendes, "Seeing Things" by Jakob Dylan, "Circus Monkey" by Walter Becker, "Live In Washington, D.C." by Patti Labelle and "Like A Fire" by Solomon Burke.


The 7th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will take place June 12-15 in Manchester, Tennessee. More than 100 artists and bands will perform on 13 stages during the four-day event. They include B.B. King, Pearl Jam, Kanye West, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, and the Allman Brothers Band.

On June 13, the U.K.'s 2008 Isle of Wight Festival will begin at Seaclose Park. This year's headliners include The Police, The Sex Pistols and The Kaiser Chiefs. Also making appearances are many up-and-coming artists, including KT Tunstall, Kate Nash and Newton Faulkner. The festival will close on June 15.

The 2008 Playboy Jazz Festival will be held June 14-15 in Los Angeles. The festival's 30th will be celebrated with appearances by Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Keb' Mo', Tower of Power and the Roy Hargrove Big Band, among many others.


Country star Brad Paisley will kick off his "Hershey's Presents The Paisley Party" tour on June 11 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Joining him on the 42-date outing are newcomers Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks and pop-turned-Country singer Jewel. Concerts wrap up on October 18 in San Antonio, Texas.

On June 13, Rascal Flatts will head out on their "Bob That Head Tour." Dates begin in St. Louis, Missouri. Opening acts include Taylor Swift and two of Nashville's top songwriters, Wendell Mobley and Neil Thrasher. During the past two years, Rascal Flatts has performed for two million fans in 156 cities.

Classic British rock group Yes has cancelled its North American summer tour due to lead singer Jon Anderson's recent health problems. Anderson was hospitalized in May after suffering an asthma attack. He was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure and advised to rest for at least six months. The band was scheduled to begin its 40th anniversary tour on July 12 in Quebec.