Aretha Franklin Returns to Concert Stage
Aretha Franklin will make her return to the concert stage on May 28 after spending the past five months recovering from undisclosed surgery. The “Queen of Soul” will perform at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York. Also on her itinerary is a June 21 concert in Vienna, Virginia; two shows in July in Wantagh, New York and Holmdel, New Jersey; and a performance in Clarkston, Michigan on August 25. In a recent interview with Pollstar, Aretha talked about tentative plans to perform her first European tour since 1983. She said that will occur as soon as she gets over her fear of flying in airplanes.
Adele Still Tops Billboard 200
This week, Adele spends her eighth week at the top of the Billboard 200 with her second album, 21. According to Billboard, that’s the longest reign by any artist since 2009. Taylor Swift’s Fearless album claimed 11 non-consecutive weeks at Number One from November 29, 2008 through March 14, 2009. 21 is predicted to hold the top spot for a ninth week before being replaced by Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is expected to debut at Number One with her new album, Born This Way, which dropped on May 23.
MTV Plans Lady Gaga Documentary
In other Lady Gaga news: On May 26, MTV will air her hour-long documentary, “Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside.” The show features an interview that reveals events in her life that helped shape her career in music. The set’s title track reached Number One in the U.S. and many other countries around the world. She had a Top 10 hit with its second single, “Judas.” Lady Gaga debuts at Number 3 on this week’s Hot 100 chart with the third single, “The Edge of Glory.”
Fans Prepare for American Idol Finale
American Idol is down to its final two contestants. On May 19, 20-year-old Illinois native Haley Reinhart was voted off, which leaves 16-year-old Lauren Alaina battling against 17-year-old Scotty McCreery. Both Lauren and Scotty are known for their Country music leanings. The two-night American Idol finale airs on May 24 and 25 live from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
Tim McGraw Spars with Record Label
The drama is intensifying between Country star Tim McGraw and his label Curb Records. Curb has slapped him with a breach-of-contract suit. The label alleges that Tim began recording his upcoming Emotional Traffic album earlier than the contractual agreement of 12 to 18 months following the release of the previous album. A spokesperson for Tim told Billboard, “Sadly, after a 20-year relationship which has provided unprecedented success for both parties, Curb Records has chosen to end its accord with Tim McGraw by filing suit against him. Tim McGraw delivered his new album, Emotional Traffic, to Curb in the fall of 2010. The label is holding the album hostage from country music fans in an attempt to force Tim McGraw to serve perpetually under a contract that he has already fully and faithfully completed.” Curb Records’ roster also includes LeAnn Rimes, The Judds, Rodney Atkins and Hank Williams, Jr., among many others.
New Album Releases May 24:
“This Is Country Music” by Brad Paisley
“NKOTBSB” by New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys
“Revelation Part 1: The Roots of Life” by Stephen Marley
“Eclipse” by Journey (Wal-Mart exclusive)
“Tough Love: Best of the Ballads” by Aerosmith
“Wild Together” by Carter’s Chord
“The Royal Wedding: The Official Album” by various artists
Awards Presentations / Winners:
The 2011 Billboard Music Awards were presented on May 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rihanna led the finalists with 18 nominations, including Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Female Artist and Top Dance/Electronic Artist. Her duet with Eminem, “Love The Way You Lie,” was nominated for six awards. Eminem followed as a finalist in 16 categories. The rapper was nominated for Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Rap Artist. Other leading finalists included Lady Gaga, who’s named in 12 categories, and Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber, who were up for 11 awards apiece. Winners were also determined by album, single and digital sales, touring, streaming and social interactions on MySpace, Facebook and other popular online music sites. During the ceremony, legendary singer Neil Diamond received the 2011 Billboard Icon Award in recognition of his cultural impact and career longevity. And, Beyonce was given the Billboard Millennium Award in honor of her career achievements and influence in the music industry.
Look Who's Going on Tour!
New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys kick off their 53-date “NKOTBSB American Tour 2011” on May 25 in Rosemont, Illinois. Two days earlier, Sony Legacy Recordings will release “NKOTBSB,” which includes five songs by each of the groups. Fans chose the tracks for the album by online voting. Also included is one special song called “Don’t Turn Out The Lights,” which features both of the groups.
On May 27, Willie Nelson’s “Country Throwdown Tour 2011” begins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among the Country acts joining Willie on the trek are Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and Lee Brice. The tour will wrap up with a show in Fort Worth, Texas at Willie’s annual 4th of July picnic.