Season 8 auditions of American Idol will begin on July 17 in San Francisco, California. Other audition cities include Louisville, Kentucky on July 21; Phoenix, Arizona on July 25; Salt Lake City, Utah on July 29; San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 2; Kansas City, Missouri on August 8; Jacksonville, Florida on August 13; and East Rutherford, New Jersey on August 19. Contestants are required to be between the ages of 16 and 28. Some of the best and worst auditions will air on FOX-TV's launch of American Idol Season 8 in early 2009.
This week, Billy Joel will become the last artist to perform at New York's Shea Stadium. His two shows will take place on July 16 and 18. The stadium is home to Major League Baseball's Mets team, which is playing their final season at the stadium before moving to Citi Field in 2009. Joel's concerts are billed as "The Last Play at Shea: From the Beatles to Billy." The Beatles were the first musical act to appear at Shea Stadium in 1965. Many others followed, including Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Police.
On July 15, classic rock group Foreigner will release its greatest hits album No End In Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner. The 2-CD set features the band's biggest hits, plus live performances, three previously unreleased tracks and one new song called "Too Late." Also on July 15, Foreigner will begin a concert tour with Canadian pop singer Bryan Adams. Shows begin in Augusta, Maine.
The motion picture version of the phenomenally successful musical "Mamma Mia!" will open in theaters on July 18. The stage show, featuring the music of Swedish pop group ABBA, has been seen by more than 30 million people. Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, produced the film, which stars Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.
Country newcomer Taylor Swift continues to break chart records this week. Last year, she became the youngest artist to have a self-penned Number One Country single. She was only 17 when "Our Song" reached the top of the Country chart, where it spent six weeks. This week, Taylor becomes the only solo female artist to have five singles from a debut album reach the Top 10 on Billboard's Country singles chart. Her latest hit, "Should've Said No," climbs three spaces to Number 10 (week ending July 19).
New albums scheduled for release on July 15 include: "Live, Death, Love and Freedom" by John Mellencamp, "Nas" by Nas, "Colby O" by Colby O'Donis, "Delta" by Delta Goodrem, "Ace Young" by Ace Young, and the original motion picture soundtracks to "The Dark Knight" and "American Teen."
The Mile High Music Festival will take place in Denver, Colorado on July 19 and 20. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will headline the first date. The Dave Matthews Band will top the bill on July 20. Other acts appearing at the event include John Mayer, Black Crowes, One Republic, Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz. Concerts run from 12:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. both days.
After postponing their North American tour by two weeks due to "production delays," Coldplay will begin the outing on July 14 in Los Angeles. The rock group's new album, "Viva La Vida," debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 and has sold 1.1 million copies in the United States since its release on June 17.
On July 19, Neil Diamond will kick off a 42-date North American tour in St. Paul, Minnesota. He'll be supporting his new album Home Before Dark. Diamond told the Associated Press, "This is the most technically challenging show that I've ever done. We can do things on this stage that we've never dreamed were possible." Concerts are scheduled to wrap up on October 30 in Jacksonville, Florida.