January 18, 2013

» Country Idolize: Keith Urban made his debut as a judge on the American Idol Two-Hour Season Premiere, Part 1 Wednesday (1/16) and tried to keep cover as things got catty between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. "I feel like a scratching post," said Urban. When things calmed down he was able to pay attention to what's important, like who might be the breakout country contestant this year.


So far, there's potential for 17 year old, blueberry farm worker Sarah Restuccio from Hammonton, NJ. Restuccio auditioned in New York with Carrie Underwood's "Mama's Song," then followed it up with her version of Minaj's "Super Bass." Randy Jackson said, "You come in here, you work on the farm, you're singing Carrie Underwood, but then you do 'Super Bass' and wreck the whole thing up." But she wrecked it right, making it through to Hollywood, unanimously.


» Lifeless Performance: Without giving too much away, Jason Aldean's character in the film Sweetwater dies. But the real spoiler is that Aldean was offered a larger role in the movie then decided to trade it in for a smaller part because of a personal shortage of screencraft experience. "They caught me looking at the camera a couple times," Aldean admitted to Lon Helton while co-hosting this weekend's (1/19-20) Country Countdown USA. "Doing videos I'm used to looking into the camera, so that was a big thing ... just trying to remind myself not to look at the camera." Ed Harris and January Jones rarely make eye contact with the lens in the film, which premiered at Sundance and ... maybe ... will make it to a theater near you.

» Blake Lively: Blake Shelton will start his Ten Times Crazier tour in Virginia Beach, VA July 19. “My fans, Country radio, friends, family, you name it - they know I love to perform," he says. "With The Voice schedule, I was not able to go out and perform as much as I wanted last year but I plan to make up for it this year." Jana Kramer and Easton Corbin will open. Details here.

» Music Rewards: Kenny Chesney will lend his support to Music & Memory, a charitable organization that supplies personalized music players to people suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia. "The gift of a music player full of favorite songs can help reconnect people with Alzheimer's to good memories and the people around them," Chesney says. "And that's a ray of hope for a lot of people." See his PSA here; details here.

» Timmy Takes A Tumblr: Tim McGraw has announced the Two Lanes Of Freedom tour with 30 dates beginning at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Birmingham May 2. The tour is presented by Pennzoil and features Brantley Gilbert and Love And Theft in support. Additionally, McGraw has teamed with Tumblr for "Fanticipation," which gives fans a heads up as to when tickets go on sale. More about "Fanticipation" here; tour updates here.

Hit List

  • Lady Antebellum will collaborate with Stevie Nicks for an upcoming episode of the CMT series Crossroads. The show will be filmed on a soundstage in Los Angeles and is scheduled to air later this year.
  • Up-and-comers Parmalee will headline their very own Country Gone Wild Tour with another new band, Bush Hawg, in support. The first date of the club run is in Ladson, SC Feb. 15. Details here.
  • Ronnie DunnSonny Curtis and Roger Miller will be inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame March 3. Dunn and Curtis will perform along with Toby KeithJack Ingram and Larry Gatlin at the institution's eighth annual event in Austin. More here.


Phil Everly (1/19)

Dolly Parton (1/19)

John Michael Montgomery (1/20)


Sunday (1/20): Clay Walker, Trophy Hunters TV (The Outdoor Channel).

Upcoming Album Releases

Gary Allan Set You Free (1/22)

Randy Houser How Country Feels (1/22)

Tim McGraw Tim McGraw & Friends (1/22)

The Mavericks In Time (1/26)

Tim McGraw Two Lanes Of Freedom (2/5)

Ashley Monroe Like A Rose (3/5)


» We Loved You In Friday Night Lights: Chris Young (l) and Brantley Gilbert play themselves while Connie Britton plays Tami Taylor playing Rayna James in an upcoming episode of ABC's Nashville.





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