Ariana DeBose to Take Part in Virtual Concert to Benefit the Covenant House Charity for Homeless & Trafficked Youth

Ariana DeBose  is helping homeless and trafficked youth…

The 29-year-old half-Afro-Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, known for her work in musical theatre and on So You Think You Can Dance, will take part in a virtual concert event to benefit the Covenant House charity for homeless and trafficked youth.

Ariana DeBose

DeBose joins a 50-plus roster of stars who’ll perform or appear for the May 18 fundraiser that includes Meryl StreepDiane Keaton, Jon Bon JoviRachel BrosnahanStephen ColbertMartin ShortDolly PartonDionne WarwickStephanie J. BlockTony ShalhoubCharlie DayChris O’DowdZachary Leviand Zachary Quinto.

A Night of Covenant House Stars, to be held on Monday, May 18 at 8:00 pm ET on the Broadway on Demand streaming platform, will be co-hosted by six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and 60 Minutes orrespondent John Dickerson, both members of the Covenant House Board of Directors.

The event is designed to support Covenant House, the international, mostly privately funded charity providing housing, food and healthcare to children and youth facing homelessness, and the front-line staff working during the COVID-19crisis.

“This virus does not get the last word,” said Covenant House President & CEO Kevin Ryan. “This amazing group of stars uniting in love to help us care for kids is proof positive of that.”

Other stars slated to appear include Robin Thicke, Deborah CoxQuentin Earl DarringtonDarius de HaasMary Elizabeth EllisEden EspinosaJordan FisherStephanie Hsu,Randy JacksonCapathia JenkinsJeremy JordanRamona KellerAlex NewellKaren OlivoDawn O’Porter, Laura OsnesBenj PasekJodi Picoult, Shereen PimentelAndrew RannellsKeala SettleJake David SmithWill SwensonBobby Conte ThorntonAna VillafaneFrank Wildhorn, and the Broadway Inspirational Voices choir.

Event proceeds will benefit Covenant House’s work across 31 cities, in six countries.

The May 18 fundraiser will mark the launch of the Broadway on Demand platform (the company had previously announced a May 17 program). Viewers can watch the Covenant House event free of charge.

In addition to Broadway on DemandA Night of Covenant House Starscan be streamed on iHeartRadio BroadwayFacebookTwitchYouTube, and Stars in the House.

Sanchez Releases New Yuletide EP, “Christmas with Jessica”

Jessica Sanchez is getting into the holiday spirit…

The 20-year-old half-Mexican American singer and former American Idol finalist has released a new yuletide EP, Christmas with Jessica.

Jessica Sanchez

“I have always wanted to do a Christmas album and covers,” Sanchez tells Billboard. “It’s just a gift for my fans because I love them.”

Recorded in just two days, the independently-released six song EP includes Sanchez performing a soulful rendition of Eartha Kitt’s classic, “Santa Baby,” a jubilant “Joy to the World” and a soaring version of “Ave Maria.”

The record, produced by James Daniels and executive produced by LA Mic Studios and Wise Owl Media Group, celebrates Sanchez’s love of the holiday season.

Adding to the holiday merriment is the announcement that the Season 11 runner-up will join other Idols Kris Allen, Pia Toscano, Ruben Studdard, Tamyra Gray, Elliott Yamin, Ayla Brown and Paris Bennett for the Orange County Christmas Extravaganza on December 23.

Former judge Randy Jackson is also scheduled to appear at the show — a benefit for the Jessie Reese Foundation — which supports children fighting cancer.

The show will be broadcast live from the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on KDOC TV and other markets from 8 to 10 p.m.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday because you spend time with family,” she said. “I love the decorations, the music, and buying gifts for people. Everything about Christmas is the best.”

“Santa Baby” was the California native’s personal pick, and she chose to throw back to Kitt’s version when she went into the studio.

“I went with the earlier version, the classic, which is very soft spoken but sexy at the same time,” she said. “It was the most fun to record. There is so much room to mess around with the song, but I tried to keep it as classic as possible.”

Recording the EP had its challenges, Sanchez said.

“I was actually really sick during that time and I was worried how my voice would sound. I was afraid to put this EP out because my voice was not fully there and I’m such a perfectionist I don’t like putting anything out that is not my best,” she said. “But I had to put that aside and remember that this is for my fans and my supporters and it’s a little EP for them. I hope that it was good enough.”

In addition to the record, the singer has also launched her first merchandise store on her Website, Jessicasanchez.bigcartel.com. Sanchez oversaw the selection of T-shirts, crop tops, hoodies, and a signature “snapback hat” is on sale on the Website until Jan. 2.

“We looked through a couple of things and I personally handpicked what I wanted. I have always wanted to do clothing because I’m a typical girl and I love clothes and shoes,” she said. “That was a lot of fun and I’m really happy with the way that it came out for my first  pieces of merch. The quality is nice, too.”

When the holiday season is over, Sanchez is launching straight into 2016 with plans for the follow-up to her debut album, Me, You and the Music.  The record, she said, will be more R&B “rhythmic pop” or “more soulful Tinashe.”

“I’m very excited to be working on the music that I really love,” she said.

The entertainer — who has signed on with new manager Mark Lamica — has more plans for 2016, including exploring acting roles, endorsements, and a possible return to Idol.  Sanchez said she is “sad” to see the Fox show ending, but hinted she “might make an appearance” before the final curtain.

“It was a big part of my life. It felt like I was on that show for years, and being in that Idol bubble it felt like a family with the staff and the judges and the contestants, so it’s sad seeing it end,” she said. “But I know they will be going out with a bang. This is their final season and they are going to kill it. I’m excited for that.”

With all that ahead of her, Sanchez has one New Years Resolution she has yet to conquer.

“Every single year I tell myself I am going to drive. It never happens,” she said. “I don’t know how to drive. I am already 20. This needs to happen.”

Christmas with Jessica is available on CDBaby, iTunes Amazon.com and Google.

Carey Hires New PR Representation & Management Team

Mariah Carey has new representation…

A day after the 45-year-old half Venezuelan singer and her longtime publicist Cindi Berger parted ways, Carey announced her new PR and management team.

Mariah Carey

Chris Chambers of the Chambers Group, who’s worked with Lil Wayne, Drake and many other artists over his long career, will her as her PR agent. Her fifth set of managers since 2013: TV producers Brian Sher and Stella Bulochnikov.

Carey’s new managers have worked together on several projects, most recently E!’s Christian Milian Turned Up and VH1’s T.I.’s Family Hustle and Tiny & Shekinah’s Weave Trip. Sher, who has worked as T.I.’s agent since 2004 and his co-manager since 2009, has been credited with helping to rebrand the rapper’s image via the television shows.

Sher began his career as a production assistant before beginning his career in ICM’s mailroom. He rose to the role of agent in 2000 and left in 2008 to form Category 5 Entertainment, where he begin working with T.I., Michael Vick (executive producing The Michael Vick Project for BET) and partnered with Kelsey Grammer in Grammnet NH.

Bulochnikov is a producer and writer who’s worked with Sher on Boss, T.I. & Tiny and Larry the Cable Guy’s Star-Studded Christmas Extravaganza.  She has a long history as a producer with Viacom shows dating back to 2001, including VH1 Divas, I Love the ‘80s and ‘90s, and several Paris Hilton Specials.

The moves come ahead of several big projects for the singer, who has stumbled in recent months with the poor sales of Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse, the lowest-selling non-holiday studio album of her career and several wobbly live performances. On May 6, she begins a Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, the same venue where Celine Dion will return on Aug. 27 after a year-long hiatus. Also expected later this year is a newly repackaged greatest-hits set called #1’s, the first release in her new deal with Epic Records, to accompany her Vegas show. She also has a Christmas movie on the horizon, according to Deadline.

Among other chart feats, Carey holds the record for total time spent at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, 79 weeks total, and also holds the record for longest-running Hot 100 No. 1 single (for 1995’s “One Sweet Day” with Boyz II Men, 16 weeks at No. 1), although she hasn’t had a Top 10 single since 2009’s “Obsessed.”

Carey had three management teams in 2013 alone, beginning with a Randy Jackson/Irving Azoff partnership, then Bruce Eskowitz of Red Light Management and then Jermaine Dupri, who produced some of her biggest hits including “We Belong Together.” Dupri gradually gave way to Kevin Liles, who semi-officially took the reins in August of 2014 but recently dropped out.

The news was first reported by Page Six and confirmed to Billboard by Chambers Group.

Richie to Appear on the Oprah Winfrey Network Web Series “Who I Am”

Nicole Richie is ready to answer the question, “Who Am I?”

The 32-year-old part-Mexican American fashion designer, author, actress and television personality will be part of a special Oprah Winfrey Network web series debuting on August 28.

Nicole Richie

OWN has been working out of YouTube Space LA for more than six months to experiment with digital formats and online talent. The result of that partnership is a growing slate of digital programming, including the new series Who Am I, which will feature interviews with celebrity guests, including Richie, about the qualities that define them.

After the first two episodes of Who Am I premiere this Thursday, subsequent two- to three-minute episodes will be made available each week.

In addition to Richie, guests will include beauty vlogger Michelle PhanBrandy, former American Idol judge Randy Jackson and La Toya Jackson.

Who Am I is the second digital series from OWN. #OWNSHOW, a daily series that features stories from the Oprah community, debuted in March with the relaunch of Oprah.com, a digital hub for the network, O, The Oprah Magazine and Harpo Studios.

Fox Releases Official “American Idol” Judges Photo, Featuring Lopez

It’s official… Jennifer Lopez is back in the hot seat…

Fox has released the first official photograph of the new American Idol judging panel, with the 44-year-old Puerto Rican singer/actress sandwiched between fellow judges Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban.

American Idol Season 13 Judges Panel

The photo, which was taken on the first day of the Boston auditions for season 13, was released just hours after the network confirmed that former judge Lopez and new panelist Connick Jr. have joined country singer Urban on the show this season.

Not pictured is veteran Randy Jackson, who has been with Idol since it premiered. He’ll return to the show as a mentor when the singing competition airs in January.

In the photo, Lopez seems thrilled to be back in the same spot she occupied before when she shared the table with Jackson and then-judge Steven Tyler.

Earlier today, Fox released a statement announcing the “dream team.” Lopez also tweeted her excitement: “#IDOL2014TheRemix.”

The panel appears comfortable together. Urban, who always seemed to enjoy the job more so than anyone else on the panel last season, had kind words for his new comrades in music, and anticipates the new season is going to be “a blast.”

Idol returns in January.

Lopez Returning to American Idol, According to Her Boyfriend

Jennifer Lopez is returning to the American Idol judges’ table…

At least that’s the word from the 43-year-old Puerto Rican singer/actress’ boyfriend Casper Smart.

Jennifer Lopez

He confirmed to E! News that La Lopez will be returning as a judge next season.

Asked whether J.Lo is planning to join the Fox singing competition’s 13th season, Smart replied: “Yes.”

There’s just one problem… Fox hasn’t made any announcement yet about Lopez’s return.

It’s no surprise that Lopez was high on the producers’ wish list. As previously reported, the “Live It Up” singer’s deal was expected to close imminently. Fox declined comment on Smart’s remark.

The only confirmed “Idol” judge so far is returnee Keith Urban, who sat alongside departed season 12 judges Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey.

Lopez served as judge for two previous seasons, in 2011 and 2012.

The American Idol season 13 hopefuls are expected to face the judges for the first time next month, with the season premiere set for January.

Carey to Release Her Fourteenth Album This Summer

Prepare for new Mariah Carey music in July…

The 43-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer and former American Idol judge will be releasing her fourteenth studio album on July 23, with Island Def Jam confirming the date.

Mariah Carey

“The New Era Begins.. 7/23 #MC723,” posted Carey to her 11 million Twitter followers.

The album has been previewed by Carey’s duet with Miguel, “#Beautiful,” which reaches No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week.

Carey’s new album follows 2009’s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, which featured the single “Obsessed” and has sold 546,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Carey also released a new holiday album, Merry Christmas II You, in 2010.

Last week, Carey officially announced that she wouldn’t be returning to the American Idol judges panel, after starring on the show alongside Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson this season.

Instead, Carey’s focus will be her solo career: the singer has performed “#Beautiful” on Good Morning America and at the Hot 97 Summer Jam.

“#Beautiful” marks Carey’s 27th Top 10 hit on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart — the fourth most Top 10s all-time on the tally for a female.

Carey will perform on NBC‘s Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on July 4, and will embark on a world tour beginning in October, although dates have yet to be announced

Carey Leaving the American Idol Judges’ Table After One Season

It’s official… Mariah Carey is bidding adieu to American Idol.

43-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer confirmed via Twitter today that she’s leaving the Fox reality singing competition after one season.

Mariah Carey

“W/ global success of #Beautiful (#1 in 30+ countries so far) @MariahCarey confirms world tour & says goodbye 2 Idol,” said a tweet Carey retweeted from her publicist PMK BNC.

Carey’s exit as an Idol judge doesn’t come as a big shock though. Her husband Nick Cannon essentially said she’d be leaving the show back in May because of the on- and off-screen drama with fellow judge Nicki Minaj.

In addition, change has seemed to be on the horizon for the once dominant Idol after seeing double-digit ratings declines and an all-time finale low this year.

“Mariah Carey is a true global icon — one of the most accomplished artists on the planet — and we feel extremely fortunate that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the American Idol contestants this season. We know she will remain an inspiration to Idol hopefuls for many seasons to come,” said Fox Broadcasting Co. and FremantleMedia in a statement.

Carey follows in original judge Randy Jackson’s footsteps. He announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t be back for season 13.

Lopez to Perform on the “American Idol” Finale

Jennifer Lopez is heading back to the American Idol stage…

The 43-year-old Puerto Rican singer/actress, who will perform at this year’s Billboard Music Awards, will reportedly return to American Idol for the first time since ending her judging stint last year.

Jennifer Lopez

La Lopez will perform on one night of this season’s two-part finale, according to E!.

Lopez will take the stage in front of current judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson on either May 15 or 16.

J. Lo shared the judges panel with Jackson and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler for two seasons.

While a song hasn’t been confirmed for the performance, Lopez will presumably play “Live It Up,” the first single from her next album, which will be released on May 8.

Like previous hits “On The Floor” and “Dance Again” — both of which were performed on the Idol stage — “Live It Up” was produced by RedOne and features Pitbull.

Sanchez Wows with Her Performance of New Single “Tonight” on “American Idol”

Talk about showing American Idol’s new crop of finalists how it’s done…

Jessica Sanchez, last season’s runner-up, returned to Fox’s reality singing competition to perform the first track from her upcoming debut album.

Jessica Sanchez

Dressed in a sparkly silver midriff-exposing top, baggy pants and silver, high-heeled high tops, the 17-year-old half-Mexican singer took the stage to sing “Tonight,” her poptastic collaboration with R&B star Ne-Yo.

It’s hard to believe Sanchez was competing on Idol just a year ago after her seasoned pro-like performance on Thursday night’s results show. She strutted her stuff across the stage with confidence, showed her Jennifer Lopez-like sass in front of a wind machine and even busted a move with her backup dancers.

Following her performance, which earned a standing ovation from Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, Sanchez confirmed to Idol host Ryan Seacrest that she’s having the time of her life.

Sanchez’s new track is available for download on iTunes. Her debut album Me, You & the Music will be released on April 30.