With but a brief explanation on her Web site, Kelly Clarkson has cancelled her 35-venue summer tour in support of her newest release, "My December," slated to drop on June 26. The home page of the singer's official site reads:
"I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to getting out there to perform for y'all. In the craziness of the music business, performing is what I look forward to doing the most, so it really is disappointing for me to have to tell you that I won't be coming out to tour this summer. The fact is that touring is just too much too soon.
But I promise you that we're going to get back out there as soon as is humanly possible to give you a show that will be even better.
Thanks for all of your love and continued support."
Glenn Gamboa in Newsday writes that Clarkson was set to play amphitheaters this summer, as she did last year after her "Breakaway" album. However, Michael Rapino, CEO of LiveNation, said yesterday that the demand has not been as strong. "Ticket sales have not been what we anticipated and we came to the realization that we had bit off more than we could chew," he said in a statement. "In the end, we are in the Kelly Clarkson business and for that reason we believe that this decision will only benefit her and her fans in the long run."
The tour cancellation follows Clarkson's firing of her manager Jeff Kwatinetz earlier this week in the midst of a rumored rumble with RCA Chief Clive Davis over her new album's commercial viability. Clarkson's "My December" album is currently slated for a June 26 release and she is still scheduled to appear at the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium on July 7. Her single "Never Again" is currently No. 17 on the Billboard charts after peaking at No. 7.
And Hollywood Today says that in a statement released from Clarkson's camp, Gregg Perloff, CEO of concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment, said, "Kelly is a spectacular artist and an incredible performer who undoubtedly has what it takes to sustain a long and prosperous career. The day when she will play in sold-out arenas is, no doubt, coming, but for now her fans should look forward to seeing her in a more intimate concert environment. Kelly deserves a tremendous amount of praise for her courage in not only being a part of, but in supporting, this difficult decision."
NEW VIDEOS OF JORDIN, BLAKE AND TAYLOR
Taylor Hicks sang the National Anthem at the NBA finals last night. Hicks spent time before the game dribbling a basketball while players warmed up.
"I actually played a lot of basketball in high school," the 29-year-old Birmingham, Ala., native told The Canton Rep. "I was a better harmonica player. I was a little bit short for basketball and wasn't too short for the harmonica."
So, what's more pressure - the NBA Finals or "American Idol"? "That's interesting," said Hicks. " 'American Idol' is like the Super Bowl each week. There is a lot of pressure. It's very similar to that when you consider what's at stake for each team."
Watch video of Taylor Hicks singing the National Anthem at the NBA finals:
Watch video of Jordin Sparks on "The View":
Watch video of Blake Lewis on "The View":
Watch video of Jordin Sparks singing the National Anthem at the NBA finals:
Afterwards, Sparks she did a qna with the Toledo Blade:
On singing the national anthem, her first performance at a sporting event: "I got here and I just did it. I just go with what comes, do whatever I feel like at the moment."
On how Simon Cowell would have rated her national anthem performance: "There's always going to be that little, are they here, are they watching, did they hear? There's always going to be, 'I think they're there.' You always feel that pressure to do as good as you can and hope everybody that was out there, if they were a judge, then they would like it. You just try so hard. I don't know. I thought I did OK. I thought I did pretty good. But you never know what Simon's going to think."
On who she wants to win the NBA championship: "I'm very sad about the Suns. That's all I'm going to say."
How she felt when she heard her song, "This is My Now" on the radio for the first time: "I was at home for a couple days, and I was at a tanning salon with my mom. I was sitting there, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, they're playing it on the radio,' and I just started crying. I hadn't heard it yet. So I just sat there and thought, I can't believe this is really happening. It was one of those moments that I'll remember for the rest of my life."
On what her album will sound like: "No matter what song I sing, I always have this country-style flare. But I love pop, I love rock and roll, and I love country, I love everything. I just want great songs. When the tour is over I'm going to hit the recording studios very, very hard. It's supposed to be out before Thanksgiving. It's going to be so crazy."
On her life since winning "Idol": "The whole thing since I won Idol has been a whirlwind. I've been riding on adrenaline and no sleep, but being on shows I've been watching for the longest time has been so crazy, and getting opportunities like this is, I cannot express it anymore, I'm enjoying every moment of this."
IDOL DIGITAL RELEASES AVAILABLE ON iTUNES
Diehard Season 6 fans can now purchase a selection of compilations through iTunes. The "Greatest Hits" collections, a misnomer if there ever was one, goes for $7.99 and includes:
Blake Lewis - You Give Love a Bad Name 3:09
Gina Glocksen - Paint It Black 3:21
Melinda Doolittle - As Long As He Needs Me 2:59
Chris Sligh - She’s Not There 2:02
Sanjaya Malakar - Besame Mucho 3:42
LaKisha Jones - This Ain’t a Love Song 3:57
Chris Richardson - Smooth 4:05
Haley Scarnato - Turn the Beat Around 3:30
Stephanie Edwards - Love Hangover 2:43
Brandon Rogers - You Can’t Hurry Love 2:56
Phil Stacey - Blaze of Glory 4:48
Jordin Sparks - This Is My Now 3:50
Frankly, we'd love to get our hands on a studio version of Melinda singing "My Funny Valentine" and Brandon Rogers singing anything but "You Can't Hurry Love." Also, in spite of all the judge bitchin', the studio rendition of Sligh singing "Endless Love" is not to be missed. We're not too crazy about some of the other picks, either.
You can also download a "Collector’s Edition" for $29.97 that has all 76 Idol studio recordings from Season 6 except Jordin Sparks' "Living on a Prayer," which was available on americanidol.com during the season. All selections can also be purchased individually for 99 cents. Note: The studio versions do vary from the live versions. So if you LOVED the live version of a performance, you might not be getting what you were hoping for. We found this especially true for Blake Lewis songs that had beatboxing. The studio versions tended to be straighter releases with far less of Lewis' innovative touch, and therefore disappointing. We even thought Jordin's live version of "I Who Have Nothing" was better than the studio release. So you've been warned.
QNA WITH TAYLOR HICKS
The Elmira Star-Gazette recently interviewed Taylor Hicks via e-mail.
You're starting the second leg of your tour with us in Big Flats, N.Y., and you'll have visited 50 cities by Labor Day. How do you keep up?
I am most comfortable on the road, so being on tour is a good pace for me. The mornings I get to sleep in really help me keep up though.
You're playing everything from open air venues like ours to casinos, to county fairs to arenas. What size audience do you prefer, how are the audiences different (if they are) and what was your favorite stop on the first half of the tour?
As long as there is chemistry between a performer and the audience, I don't think the size matters. That chemistry is what drives the whole performance and is what I thrive on when I am on stage. My favorite stop? I guess I really enjoyed the venues with a lot of history like the Ryman in Nashville. [Editor's note: Ryman Auditorium opened in 1892.]
Aside from the obvious ability to play your own music and to perform an entire song, how will your live performances differ from the performances people got to see on "American Idol"?
I don't think they differ that much. I have an energetic set with some signature dance moves ... how can I deny the fans of those?
You're a seasoned performer already, having spent years playing clubs prior to your break with "AI." Do you still (or did you ever) get nervous before a show? If so, what do you do to prepare for a performance?
Of course I get nervous. but I don't really have a routine before each night. I just enjoy a little down time by myself.
On your MySpace page you described your inspiration, or maybe motivation, as "defining modern soul." Tell us more about that.
I think there is an underground movement for modern soul-like artists such as Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone. Taking the old sound of Motown and soul and putting more of a modern spin on them with samples and actual music that has the nostalgia of the old but with a new twist.
You also have a book coming out, "Heart Full of Soul." What can diehard Tay fans expect?
You can read about some "American Idol" secrets and my road thus far. I didn't get to where I am now easily, and I share a lot of the struggles I faced in this book.
You were able to put some of your original music on your new CD; this CD isn't your first, however, and you have the song "Soul Thing" on your prior CD, "Under The Radar." That is a much more acoustic version, at a slower tempo. Which version most closely represents the Taylor Hicks musical vision?
The show is very high energy so it is definitely the up-tempo version of "Soul Thing" when I am on stage.
You've described being on "American Idol" as "dancing with the devil." If you could change one thing about your whole "American Idol" experience, what would it be and why?
I don't think I would change anything about the experience. The whole thing provided an incredible platform for me, and I wouldn't be answering your questions today if it weren't for that show and everything that happened during the journey.
A new "American Idol" was crowned last month. What advice would you give Jordin Sparks as she embarks on her own year as the new Idol?
I was able to talk with Jordin after she won and give her my advice. She knows what I told her.
HEATHER COX: FROM HOLLYWOOD TO HOG DAY
The News & Observer reports on Heather Cox, an "American Idol" Season 5 semi-finalist.
It's Hillsborough, not Hollywood, but Heather Cox is still a bit nervous about singing at Hog Day on Saturday. "It's actually harder to sing in front of a small crowd than it is to sing in front of 40 million people," said the former "American Idol" contestant.
She'll be performing at the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough's Hog Day festival of all things porky.
Cox, from Jonesville in Yadkin County, made the top 24 on "Idol's" season five. She was one of four North Carolinians to do so that year. The other three -- Kellie Pickler, Chris Daughtry and Bucky Covington -- advanced further in the TV contest and now have successful albums out.
Cox, 23, is recording a pop-country album of her own. Otherwise, she is hanging around the homefront, spending time with her family. "There is not much to do," she said of Jonesville, population 1,464. "I think we have a few stoplights."
She can't believe it has been almost two years since she flew to Denver to audition for "Idol." "I was so nervous and thinking about backing out," said Cox, who has no formal vocal training.
She had spent a year practicing in secret after deciding to try out. "I would go out to the shed and sing in private," said Cox, a minister's daughter who grew up singing in church.
Her favorite judge on the show was Randy Jackson; Paula Abdul made weird comments about her eating habits, Cox said.
She also had a blast hanging out with the other contestants -- Rockingham native Covington would always jokingly try to buy teetotaling Cox a beer on flights to and from North Carolina.
"I still have Chris Daughtry's phone number in my cell phone," Cox said. "But he's so busy."
After a lazy start to the summer, Cox should be pretty busy herself in the coming months. She'll be singing at the Reality TV Convention in Nashville on June 30. Her album of "positive" pop-country should be out by the end of the year. She plans to build a house for herself, in the goat pasture behind her parents' property.
And she'd like to settle down and start a family soon, she said, expressing what may or may not be joking concern over being "old."
"I have had just some quagmire experiences in the dating department after 'American Idol,' " she said, groaning. "Therefore, Heather is extremely picky."
RUNNING AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS
Nola.com says thay in many ways the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is as magnetically real now as it was 136 years ago, when the traveling show began.
Not that the venerable circus hasn't changed with the times. The newest incarnation, "Circus of Dreams," incorporates a spate of up-to-the-moment modifications.
Gone is the venerable three-ring format, with simultaneous, overlapping acts sharing the spotlight. It has been replaced with a continuous story thread in which an "ordinary" family descends from the audience to assume dream roles among the clowns, aerialists and elephants. Jennifer Fuentes, 21, a second-season "American Idol" finalist, is a sort of seductive fairy godmother who narrates the story in song, backed by a live band providing a pop/hip-hop score. And everything is projected on a giant circular replay screen. The new touches seem to edge the old circus closer to the Cirque du Soleil and Disney mindsets of the 21st century.
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