Billboard Bits: AMAs, MTV, Joel/John, Travis Tritt
News on AMAs, MTV, Joel/John, Travis TrittRap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and actress Jenny McCarthy will host the 29th annual American Music Awards, to be broadcast live Jan. 9 on ABC. As previously reported, Alicia Keys leads this year's nominations with five, joining other multiple nominees Brooks & Dunn, Destiny's Child, Dave Matthews Band, Lonestar, R. Kelly, Tim McGraw, 'N Sync, and Shaggy. Lenny Kravitz, Brooks & Dunn, Cher, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Shaggy, and Yolanda Adams are confirmed to perform.
In addition, Garth Brooks will receive an award of merit for his "outstanding contributions to the musical entertainment of the American public."
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Ja Rule, P.O.D., Sum 41, O-Town, and City High will perform at MTV's New Year's Eve 2002, which the network will air live Dec. 31 from its New York headquarters in Times Square. Papa Roach, Marilyn Manson, and BBMak were among the artists that participated in last year's annual broadcast. MTV sister network MTV2 also broadcast a Moby concert from Edinburgh, Scotland, last New Year's Eve.
-- Carla Hay, N.Y.
Early sales for the reprise of Billy Joel and Elton John's Face to Face co-headlining tour are off to a record-setting pace in the Northeast U.S., Billboard Bulletin reports. A sixth show at Philadelphia's First Union Center, set for Feb. 24, will go up Saturday (Dec. 15); it is expected to join sellouts for shows Feb. 13, 15, 17, 19, and 21. Boston's FleetCenter is about to open sales for a fifth show Feb. 2, joining sellouts Jan. 22, 24, 29, and 31. The Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center has sold out shows on Feb. 4, 6, 8, and 9, and the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., has sold out the tour opener on Jan. 13 as well as Jan. 18 and 20.
"We're not just going into the Northeast, we're taking it over," says Joel's agent, Dennis Arfa. Last year's Face to Face tour grossed $59 million from just 31 dates.
-- Ray Waddell, Nashville
Travis Tritt is in California's Mojave Desert this week, shooting a video for "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde," the fourth single from his Columbia set "Down the Road I Go," with actor Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton's role as "Clyde" is his first in a music video, outside of those he made supporting his own album, "Private Radio" (Lost Highway).
"Down the Road I Go" debuted at No. 8 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart in October 2000 and has already spawned the singles "Best of Intentions," "Love of a Woman," and "It's a Great Day To Be Alive," the latter a No. 2 hit on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in April. Tritt is nominated for favorite male country artist at the American Music Awards, to be held Jan. 9 in Los Angeles.
-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.