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Cirque du Soleil Plans Michael Jackson Tribute, Country Fans Gear Up for CMA Awards

  • Mary Morningstar

Taylor Swift

According to Nielsen SoundScan, Taylor Swift's new album, Speak Now, sold 1,047,000 copies its first week of release. That's more than any other release in the past five years. In 2005, 50 Cent's The Massacre opened with sales of 1,140,000 copies, giving him the sixth highest first-week sales in SoundScan history. Rapper Lil Wayne's 2008 album, The Carter III, sold 1,006,000 copies its first week.

Natalie Cole Opens Up in Memoir

Natalie Cole's Memoir
Natalie Cole's Memoir

Simon & Schuster released Natalie Cole's memoir, Love Brought Me Back: A Journey of Loss and Gain on November 9. In it, the Grammy-winning singer recounts her two-year battle with hepatitis C, her life-saving kidney transplant, the death of her sister and growing up the daughter of legendary singer Nat "King" Cole.

'Idol' Judge DioGuardi Has a New Gig

Songwriter and former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi has signed on as the head judge of a new reality show. The songwriting competition, "Going Platinum," will be hosted by singer-songwriter Jewel. Each episode will feature a different theme to showcase the songwriting diversity of the contestants. Twelve finalists will compete for the $100,000 grand prize. "Going Platinum" will begin airing on the Bravo channel in early 2011.

Placido Domingo
Placido Domingo

Grammy to Honor Placido Domingo

Opera tenor Placido Domingo will receive the Latin Grammy Person of the Year award on November 10. The honor recognizes Latin artists for their career and philanthropic work. Previous recipients include Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias and Carlos Santana.

The Best Of The Rat Pack CD
The Best Of The Rat Pack CD

New Loretta Lynn Tribute Album Features Top Artists

Columbia Records released "Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn" on November 9. The Country legend personally chose the artists to cover her hits. They include Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, the White Stripes, Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, Reba McEntire, Lucinda Williams, Gretchen Wilson, Lee Ann Womack, Steve Earle, Faith Hill, Allison Moorer and Paramore. Loretta says, "I am so happy that these singers wanted to do this record. I love them all, and it was so great to hear all the different ways they did my hits. I hope people like it as much as I do and we sell a bunch of records."

"Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn" CD
"Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn" CD

Reprise Records Celebrates Rat Pack Members

The "Rat Pack's" 50th anniversary will be celebrated with the Reprise Records release, The Very Best of the Rat Pack. The album features solo hits by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis and Dean Martin, plus two duets. Last month, Capitol Records issued Christmas With The Rat Pack, a 16-track set of holiday classics.

New Album Releases November 9:

"The Gift" by Susan Boyle
"Now That's What I Call Music! 36" and "Now That's What I Call The 1990s: The Alternative Pop Collection" by various artists
"All The Women I Am" by Reba McEntire
"Q: Soul Bossa Nostra" by Quincy Jones with various vocal guests
"Greatest Hits" by Bon Jovi
"The Lady Killer" by Cee Lo Green
"Man On the Moon 2: The Legend Of Mr. Rager" by Kid Cudi
"Document" by Kate Bush
Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton" by Blake Shelton
"Live in New York City" by the Dave Matthews Band
"Viva Elvis: The Album" by Elvis Presley.

Musical Events, Festivals, Benefits:


VH1's Save the Music Foundation held its 13th annual gala in New York on November 8. This year's honorees included John Legend, John Mayer, Julie Andrews and the ASCAP Foundation. "The gala is an opportunity for us to celebrate our 13th year of existence and the number of schools where we've been able to restore music programs," explained Executive Director Paul Cothran. "And, to get as many of our donors, friends and partners in one room to say 'thank you' and honor some very special people who have done extraordinary work for music education and education in general." Since 1997, Save the Music has donated nearly $45 million in musical instruments to 1700 schools throughout the U.S.

The 30th annual John Lennon Tribute concert will take place on November 12 at New York's Beacon Theatre. Performers include Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, Patti Smith, Keb' Mo', Aimee Mann, Playing For Change and Shelby Lynne. The event pays tribute to Lennon's life, music and message of peace. Proceeds will go to the Playing For Change Foundation, which works to promote peace and positive change through music.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

'The Essential Michael Jackson' CD
'The Essential Michael Jackson' CD

Cirque du Soleil will launch its Michael Jackson musical tribute tour on October 2, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec. The North American leg of "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" runs through 2012. It will be a permanent Las Vegas theatrical and dance production beginning in 2013. More than 60 performers will appear in the $57 million show. Jamie King, who was a dancer on Jackson's 1992-93 "Dangerous Tour," will write and direct the 90-minute production. "Imagine being transported into the wonderful world of Michael, where we'll discover and learn about his love of fairy tale and magic and music and dance," King said. "We'll also be touching on a subject that was very important to Michael: the state of the world, the environment and bringing people together. We will be celebrating the man, his immortality and how he touched all of us with his music and his voice."

Awards Presentations/Winners:

Cirque du Soleil Plans Michael Jackson Tribute, Country Fans Gear Up for CMA Awards
Cirque du Soleil Plans Michael Jackson Tribute, Country Fans Gear Up for CMA Awards

The MTV European Music Awards were presented on November 7 in Madrid, Spain. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry led this year's contenders with five nominations each. During the ceremony, Bon Jovi received the Global Icon Award. "There's no question that Bon Jovi has achieved iconic status across the globe and are widely recognized as one of the most beloved and influential rock bands of all time," MTV executive Bruce Gillmer said.

On November 10, the 44th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards will be handed out in Nashville. Miranda Lambert is up for nine awards, which sets a new record for most CMA nominations for a female artist in a single year. Miranda is mentioned in the coveted Entertainer of the Year category, which also includes Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and the Zac Brown Band. Other multiple nominees include Lady Antebellum with five nods, followed by Blake Shelton and the Zac Brown Band with four each. Easton Corbin is up for three. Last year, Taylor Swift swept the CMA Awards. This year, she's mentioned in only one category - Female Vocalist of the Year. (Complete list of nominations at

The 11th annual Latin Grammy Awards will take place on November 11 in Las Vegas. Mario Domm, Jorge Drexler, Juan Luis Guerra and Alejandro Sanz each received four nominations. Other multiple nominees include Camila, Daddy Yankee, Lee Levin, Tommy Torres and Dan Warner with three apiece. Bebe, Rubén Blades, Buika, Andrés Calamaro, Dori Caymmi, Gustavo Cerati, Alex Cuba, El Cuarteto De Nos, Estrella, Maria Gadú, Gilberto Gil, Jotdog, Mala Rodríguez, and Vico C. are all double nominees. The ceremony will air on the Univision network.