News on MTV Asia Awards, Thalia, Craig David

Groove ArmadaShaggy and Hong Kong-born Mandarin-pop singer CoCo Lee will host the second MTV Asia Awards, set for Jan. 24 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event will feature performances by Avril Lavigne, Missy Elliott, Nick Carter, Blue, Atomic Kitten, Suede, and Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. Winners in 19 categories are determined by the public, who can vote until Dec. 31 by mail, Internet, or mobile-phone text messaging.

As the 2002 edition of the event, held in February, the favorite international male artist award went to Ricky Martin. Britney Spears triumphed in the best female artist race. Boy band Westlife was named most popular pop act, besting groups including M2M, N 'Sync, Backstreet Boys, and Destiny's Child. Bon Jovi was declared favorite rock act, while the favorite music video went to Backstreet Boys' "The Call." Favorite breakthrough artist was Linkin Park.


-- Clarence Tsui, Hong Kong







Groove ArmadaKmart Corp. has entered into a long-term marketing pact with singer/actress Thalia, Billboard Bulletin reports. The discount retailer will offer a collection of branded apparel, accessories, footwear, and lingerie designed and inspired by the EMI Latin recording artist, starting this summer. The deal builds upon a previously announced strategy by Kmart to attract more African-American and Hispanic shoppers to its stores.

The deal also reflects the burgeoning trend of labels and artists looking to non-traditional promotional outlets to build their brands. Thalia, for instance, was featured in a Dr. Pepper campaign earlier this year. "Kmart is incredibly supportive of the Hispanic community and is therefore an ideal partner for my exclusive collection," says Thalia in a statement.

Kmart says Hispanic customers account for more than 17% of its sales. Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, with an estimated buying power of more than $500 billion, according to Kmart. Thalia -- who is married to Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Thomas D. Mottola -- has 62% "total awareness and universal appeal" among Hispanics, Kmart reports.


-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.







Groove ArmadaBritish R&B star Craig David will perform a special acoustic set Friday (Dec. 13) in New York as part of AOL's "Sessions@AOL" series. The concert will take place at the American Express Headquarters, at the "Rewarding Lives" exhibit of work by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz. The performance will be streamed live on AOL at 5:15 p.m. ET.

David is supporting his second album, "Slicker Than Your Average" (Wildstar/Atlantic), which debuted at No. 32 on The Billboard 200 earlier this month.


-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.