News on Mary J. Blige, CMT, Kathy Mattea

MaryMary J. Blige is the latest addition to the performance lineup for the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards. As previously reported, the Aug. 28 event at New York's Radio City Music Hall will also feature 50 Cent, Good Charlotte, Coldplay and Christina Aguilera. The Chris Rock-hosted show will be broadcast live on MTV.

Artists on hand to present awards during the affair will be Nelly, Avril Lavigne, DMX, Pharrell Williams, Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro, Lil Jon, Duran Duran, P. Diddy, Ashanti, Kelly Clarkson, Redman, Evanescence, Hilary Duff, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg. Also tapped to present are actors Pamela Anderson, Drew Barrymore, Jason Biggs, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, David Spade and Ben Stiller, skateboarders Tony Hawk and Bam Margera and basketball star LeBron James.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







RascalHave music videos gotten too sexy? CMT will search for answers with "Sex in Videos: Where's the Line?" Premiering Aug. 22, the half-hour special will trace the evolution of sexuality in country music and its videos, an issue brought to the forefront recently by the steamy scenes and brief nudity in the clip for Rascal Flatts' "I Melt."

"Sex in Videos" will feature interviews with the members of Rascal Flatts, as well as Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, Sara Evans and Blake Shelton. Also chiming in will be Kurt Loder of MTV News, Blender magazine's Rob Tannenbaum and Peter Cooper, a writer for Nashville-based newspaper The Tennessean.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







KathyKathy Mattea will release a new holiday album, "Joy for Christmas Day," Sept. 9 via Narada/Virgin. The country artist says the collection is "more about the spiritual side of Christmas, and not so much about the holiday."

The set features a rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High," as well as a medley of traditional carols titled "Christmas Collage." Other tracks include "Baby King," "When the Baby Grew Up" and a Melissa Manchester/Beth Nielsen-Chapman written song, "There's Still My Joy."

Mattea will kick off a U.S. tour Sept. 19 in Plymouth, Mass., and will stay on the road through mid-December. A 2004 tour will get underway in early February. For details, visit her official Web site.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.