• KEITH URBAN IS OFFICIALLY A JUDGE FOR THIS YEAR’S ‘AMERICAN IDOL!’ (AUDIO)

    When AMERICAN IDOL’s 12th season debuts in January 2013, superstar judge Mariah Carey – the best-selling female recording artist of all time – and returning judge Randy Jackson, a Grammy Award-winning producer whose expertise and beloved persona have been instrumental in discovering IDOL talent from the beginning, will be joined by two new judges: quadruple-platinum singer, songwriter, rapper and fashion icon Nicki Minaj; and Keith Urban, a four-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 15 million albums. 

    Hopefuls will meet host Ryan Seacrest and the new four-person panel of Carey, Jackson, Minaj and Urban today, when the auditions begin in New York City. Other audition cities include Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City. 

    Carey is a multiple Grammy Award-winning global superstar with more than 200 million records sold worldwide and more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history, whose 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote) rival all but The Beatles. Jackson is a Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked on more than 1,000 gold and multi-platinum albums, which have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. His amazing talent, vast studio knowledge, performing, touring and record company experience have made him one of today’s most coveted music industry experts. Known for her unique performance style and iconic fashion, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Urban, one of country music’s biggest stars of the decade, has four Grammy Awards and 14 No. 1 hits, and was named Male Vocal Artist of the Year three times, as well as Entertainer of the Year, by the Country Music Association. 

    “I am thrilled about this year’s judges’ panel! We’ve got global icon Mariah Carey and IDOL’s heart and soul Randy Jackson, who will be joined by Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop. And Keith is another great addition to IDOL – he’s one of the biggest stars in country music and I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with him,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favorite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan, we’ve put together one of the most exciting judging panels around.” 

    “We’re ecstatic to welcome Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to the AMERICAN IDOL family, joining Mariah and Randy at the judges’ table,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia. “Nicki is someone who represents a different side of the music industry, who has now crossed into mainstream culture with her unique artistry, style and flair. Keith is one of country music’s true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry.” 

    Executive producer Simon Fuller noted, “With the exciting addition of Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj, alongside Randy Jackson, AMERICAN IDOL’s star power has never been so great. For this we have to thank the ongoing commitment and belief of FOX and the dedication and focus of the IDOL production team. We have all been together since the very beginning and we are focused on making IDOL Season 12 the best ever.” 

    “IDOL has truly never looked better,” said Marc Graboff, President of CORE Media Group (owner, 19 Entertainment). “We couldn’t be more pleased about this new team of judges, and, along with our partners at FOX and Fremantle, look forward to a terrific Season 12.”

    About Keith Urban:

    In 2001, the Country Music Association honored Keith Urban with its Horizon Award, designating him a talented artist with a bright future. He is the first Horizon Award winner in history to go on to win the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year, a title he’s captured three times, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. More than 15 million albums later, Urban is a four-time Grammy Award winner, who has also won a People’s Choice and American Music Award. He’s won five Academy of Country Music Awards and had 14 No. 1 songs, including 28 Top 5 hits. In 2012, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His latest CD, “Get Closer,” comes on the heels of his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum release. It has produced three consecutive No. 1 singles: “You Gonna Fly,” “Long Hot Summer” and “Without You.” 

    In 2009, Urban was named radio’s most-played country artist, thanks to No. 1 hits such as “Sweet Thing,” “You’ll Think Of Me,” “Only You Can Love Me This Way,” “Better Life” and “Days Go By.” In addition, his 2002 smash, “Somebody Like You,” was named the No. 1 Country Song of the Decade by Nielsen BDS (based on radio airplay and audience impressions). 

    But Urban’s reputation as an elite songwriter, musician, vocalist and virtuoso guitarist is no more evident than when he is onstage. His electrifying concerts have played to sold-out venues in Australia, Germany, England, Canada and the United States, all while receiving high praise from critics. In fact, 2009’s Escape Together World Tour, as well as 2007’s Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy World Tour, were both, according to Pollstar, one of the top-grossing tours for their respective years. Last year, his Get Closer 2011 World Tour solidified Urban as one of the music industry’s best live performers. 

    AMERICAN IDOL has been the No. 1 entertainment program among Total Viewers for the past nine consecutive seasons. To date, IDOL alums have produced 356 No. 1 Billboard hits and garnered nearly 250 million iTunes downloads. Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips’ first single, “Home,” which was released May 23, has been certified platinum. Last year, Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery released his debut album “Clear As Day,” which dominated the Billboard Country Albums chart and has gone platinum, selling more than one million copies. McCreery is the youngest male artist to ever enter the U.S. albums charts at the No. 1 spot. 

    AMERICAN IDOL is produced by 19 Entertainment, a division of Core Media Group and FremantleMedia North America, Inc.

    Visit www.americanidol.com for exclusive videos, interviews and photos, as well as special behind-the-scenes information and all of your AMERICAN IDOL news. “Like” AMERICAN IDOL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmericanIdol. Follow the series on Twitter @AmericanIdol and join the discussion at #idol. Follow host Ryan Seacrest at @RyanSeacrest, and follow the judges: @MariahCarey; @yo_randyjackson; @nickiminaj; and @keithurban.

    AUDIO: During his visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for an educational program a couple of weeks ago, Keith Urban talks about the rumors swirling around that he would be a judge on the FOX TV show, American Idol.

    Keith Urban (American Idol) OC: …what we do. :25“I
    would love to do it and hopefully that happens. I did get to do that similar kind of role in Australia for The Voice, and I really enjoyed it. I actually did a few of those kinds of shows when I was very young. I went on a few TV talent shows. I was terrible at all of them, but I really enjoyed the experience. The thing about some of these shows is that mentoring aspect. I really like that. It’s all about passing it on, and all of us help each other get better at what we do.” 

  • LUKE BRYAN CO-HOSTS ‘COUNTRY’S NIGHT TO ROCK’ ON MONDAY! (AUDIO)

    Luke Bryan will be coming to the small screen on Monday (September 17th), as he’ll be hosting the ABC-TV special, CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock, along with The Band Perry’s Kimberly Perry. You’ll see him interview some of your favorite country superstars, including pals Lady Antebellum, which he says is “gonna be so funny!” Luke had a blast with his hosting gig, and says the point of the show, for him, was to try to make the viewers at home feel like they were actually at the Festival. “I think, most importantly, is trying to make the show for the viewers at home and really allow everybody to have a big ole smile on their face while they’re watching the show and watching all the fans have a great time at CMA Music Fest and watching the artists up there on stage putting on amazing concerts.”

    In addition to hosting the show, you can also catch Luke in action “shaking it” and singing for the crowds. Other performers include Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry and Keith Urban, among others.

    CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock airs Monday at 8pm ET on ABC.

    AUDIO: Luke Bryan talks about hosting this year’s CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock television special.

    Luke Bryan (hosting CMA Music Fest) OC: …was a blast. :35
    “The Lady Antebellum interview is gonna be so funny ‘cause I have such a big history with them. But I think most importantly, is trying to make the show for the viewers at home and really allow everybody to have a big ole smile on their face while they’re watching the show and watching all the fans have a great time at CMA Music Fest and watching the artists up there on stage putting on amazing concerts. The whole week for me was fun, getting to perform, getting to host and hanging with Kimberly and, obviously, interviewing the artists. It was a blast.”

  • KEITH URBAN AND HIS BAND PLAY HARD AND…PLAY HARDER IN LATEST EPISODE OF URBAN DEVELOPMENTS. (VIDEO)

    Go out on the road with Keith Urban and the guys in this episode of Urban Developments! There’s front flips, hammocks, horse shoes, ping pong and plenty of rocking out!

    Video / Urban Developments: Episode 128: Bangor, ME & Gilford, NH

    View
  • LITTLE BIG TOWN’S MESSAGE TO ELLEN DeGENERES! (VIDEO)

    After appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday (September 13th) to promote their new album, Tornado, Little Big Town recorded a message to the talk-show host. Check the message, as well as their performance of the No. 1 hit, “Pontoon” below:

  • LITTLE BIG TOWN’S CHART-TOPPING MOMENT IN TIME. (VIDEO) (credit Associated Press)

    Little Big Town talk to the Associated Press about their new album, Tornado, and what Karen Fairchild did to help push their single ‘Pontoon’ to the top of the charts. The song is their first No. 1 hit in 13 years as a band.

    Video / Little Big Town's Chart-topping Moment in Time

    View
  • ERIC CHURCH PREMIERES ‘REALLY COOL’ VIDEO FOR ‘CREEPIN’ ON FRIDAY. (AUDIO-PHONE QUALITY)

    The video for Eric Church’s “Creepin’” will premiere exclusively on RollingStone.com on Friday (September 14th). The music video was directed by Peter Zavadil and filmed in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the East Chattanooga Depot. The video features a normally sunglass-clad star sans his regular shades as he and a group of bandits–all Church’s longtime band members disguised alongside Church–set out to rob a train. Costume designer and stylist Katy Robbins worked in conjunction with Church and Zavadil to recreate the late 18th century fashion.

    “It’s an interesting concept. My band got to play in it and act in it, which was pretty cool. We’re all in western wear and robbing a train,” Church shares. “For one of the scenes we filmed, we had the train stopped in a tunnel, and it was hotter than nine hells in there. It reminded me of the old days when we used to play crowded bars and clubs, only this was the first time I’ve ever sweat through the bottom of my boots!”

    It has been quite a month for the arena-headlining artist who commences the fall leg of The Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour tonight in Amherst, Mass. with a pre-show 21+ BBQ at Mullins Center before doors open for the show featuring special guests Kip Moore and Justin Moore

    For more information and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the “Creepin'” video, stay tuned to www.EricChurch.com

    AUDIO: Eric Church says the clip for his single, “Creepin’,” is his favorite video so far.

    Eric Church (Creepin’ video) OC: …really cool. [NOTE: Audio is phone quality.]
    [Must credit WKIS-FM, Miami]
    “It’s hands down the best thing we’ve ever done on film, and it is now my favorite video. It’s odd and weird and really cool.”

  • LADY A TALK ABOUT THEIR NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUM, ‘ON THIS WINTER’S NIGHT.’ (VIDEO)

    On Monday, Lady A announced they will be releasing a Christmas album, On This Winter’s Night, this year on October 22nd. Watch this week’s webisode below as Charles, Hillary and Dave talk about all that went into making this record.

    Video / Lady Antebellum - Webisode Wednesday - Episode 216

    View
  • ERIC CHURCH RETURNS TO THE ROAD WITH ‘MOORE’ ‘BLOOD, SWEAT & BEERS!’ (AUDIO)

    Eric Church kicks off the fall leg of his Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour on Thursday (September 13th) in Amherst, Massachusetts. He’s taking along Justin Moore and Kip Moore as his opening acts. He says he’s looking forward to being on the road with both acts. “Justin’s been around for a while now. I’ve been impressed with the fact that he’s gone out played bars, played clubs, whether he had a radio hit or he didn’t have a radio hit. He’s been a guy that hasn’t been afraid to go out and work, and build a fan base, and that’s certainly the way that we came up,” says Eric. “With Kip, I’m impressed with just the songwriter sense and his instinct from a songwriter’s side. I like the grit in his music. I think there’s a lot of integrity in the kind of songs that he writes and the way he sings ‘em and the way they’re recorded.”

    During the tour, his two-night stand in Chattanooga on October 8th and 9th, he will record a live album for release early next year.

    Eric, who is climbing the country charts with his latest single “Creepin’,” leads the list of CMA nominees with five, including Male Vocalist and Album of the Year for Chief.

    AUDIO: Eric Church talks about his opening acts, Justin Moore and Kip Moore, and is looking forward to getting on the road with them on the next leg of his Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour.

    Eric Church (Justin & Kip Moore) OC: …journey too. :47
    “You know, Justin’s been around for a while now. I’ve been impressed with the fact that he’s gone out played bars, played clubs, whether he had a radio hit or he didn’t have a radio hit. He’s been a guy that hasn’t been afraid to go out and work, and build a fan base, and that’s certainly the way that we came up. With Kip, I’m impressed with just the songwriter sense and his instinct from a songwriter’s side. I like the grit in his music. I think there’s a lot of integrity in the kind of songs that he writes and the way he sings ‘em and the way they’re recorded, so I’m looking forward to get on the road with both those guys. They both done things that I certainly respect their path. Being the guy who kinda took the long way around, it’s cool to have those guys out there and be a part of their journey too.

  • LITTLE BIG TOWN HOPES TO MEET ‘A WELL-COIFFED ACTOR MAN’ WHEN THEY PERFORM ON ‘THE ELLEN DeGENERES SHOW’ THIS WEEK. (AUDIO)

    To help celebrate the release of their fifth studio album, Tornado, Little Big Town are making an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday (September 13th) and they couldn’t be more excited. “I’ve been a fan of hers since her TV sitcom, says LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman. “I think I’m just really looking forward to meeting her.” Bandmate Jimi Westbrook agrees. “There is such a fun spirit that she just brings along and that show has.”

    While Jimi’s wife and bandmate Karen Fairchild is looking forward to meeting Ellen, she seems to have a not-so-hidden agenda in mind. “What I really want to do is to run into George Clooney because I heard that his office is right across the [street],” she says, while Kimberly sighs heavily. “If we run into George Clooney in the parking lot…” Karen’s husband isn’t quite sure he wants to know, but he asks anyway. “What exactly will you do, darlin’?” Kimberly answers for Karen, “Die! Sorry, Jimi.” Playing off of one of the songs on the new album, a duet between Jimi and Karen, Phillip Sweet says matter-of-factly, “You’ll find out on ‘Your Side of the Bed’…Jimi’s gonna be singing, ‘On Your Side of the Bed, there’s a well-coifed actor man.’”

    The Ellen DeGeneres Show is not the only place you can catch Little Big Town this week. The group debuts CMT Unplugged on CMT.com on Wednesday (September 12th). They performed their current No. 1 single, “Pontoon” and two other songs from the new album, as well as “Boondocks” and a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” for a live studio audience. Little Big Town also are choosing their favorite videos to play on CMT on Thursday (September 13th) at 9a ET/PT and Friday (September 14th) at 10a ET/PT.

    AUDIO: Little Big Town are looking forward to meeting Ellen DeGeneres this week when they make an appearance on her talk show.

    LBT (Ellen) OC: (Phillip) …in there.” :26
    KIMBERLY: “I’ve been a fan of hers since her TV sitcom. [PHILLIP: “Yes.”] And so, I think I’m just really looking forward to meeting her and I respect her and…” JIMI: “There is such a fun spirit that she just brings along and that show has.” KIMBERLY: “It’s fun.” JIMI: “It’s fun.” KAREN: “I want to be her friend too.” KIMBERLY: “Me too.” KAREN: “I want to be her friend and Julia Roberts’ friend.” [JIMI LAUGHS] PHILLIP: “It just looks like a party. Her crowd, the studio audience, is having fun. The mood should be awesome in there.”

    AUDIO: While hanging out at the Ellen DeGeneres Show this week, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild just hopes to run into George Clooney.

    LBT (Ellen) 2 OC: (Phillip) …actor man. [ALL LAUGH] :50
    KAREN: “What I really want to do is to run into George Clooney because I heard that his office is right across the…[KIMBERLY SIGHS; JIMI: “They used to terrorize him.”] …they used to terrorize him. If we run  into George Clooney in the parking lot…” KIMBERLY: “We will die!” JIMI: “What exactly will you do, darlin’?” KIMBERLY: “Die! Sorry, Jimi.” JIMI: “What exactly, what will you do?” PHILLIP: “You’ll find out on ‘Your Side of the Bed.’” JIMI: “That’s right. [KIMBERLY LAUGHS] I have a feeling I’ll roll over and see George on my side of the bed.” [ALL LAUGH] KIMBERLY: “No, he’ll be on hers!” [ALL LAUGH] JIMI: “That’s right!” KAREN: “The same thing you do when you meet all these, we, often Kimberly and I don’t get to meet it seems like actors, beautiful actor men. You guys are always running into Olivia Munn [PHILLIP: “I did stare.”] and Nicole Kidman, although we get to stare at Keith, so.” PHILLIP: “Jimi’s gonna be singing, ‘On Your Side of the Bed, there’s a well-coifed actor man.” [ALL LAUGH]

  • DIERKS BENTLEY ‘GRABS A BEER’ AND SETTLES IN. (VIDEO)

    If you happened to miss Dierks Bentley on his recent Country & Cold Cans: Back to College Tour, you don’t have to worry. You can catch the exclusive video for “Grab a Beer” below.

    By the way, Dierks’ current single, “Tip It On Back,” is high-tailing it up the country charts.