WEEK AHEAD: It's 'Idol' Tryout Time
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 4: Think you've got what it takes to be the next Fantasia, Clay, Ruben … or maybe even William Hung? If so, it's time to prove it: Auditions for the fourth season of American Idol kick off in Cleveland, Ohio, and will travel to eight U.S. cities – including Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Anchorage, Ala. – until the beginning of October. This time around, the show's rules have loosened up a little: The maximum age for contestants has moved from 26 to 28, while the minimum age of aspiring Idols is still 16. The new season will air in January.
While singing-star wannabes compete for their 15 minutes of fame, Tom Cruise is heading to Harlem to show off his new movie, Collateral. The Michael Mann-directed thriller (which costars Jamie Foxx) launches the 8th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival, a five-day gathering in New York City. The event, launched in 1997, is part of the Urbanworld Foundation, a nonprofit group devoted to redefining the role of minorities in modern cinema. The comedy Beauty Shop will also debut at the festival, and there's also a 20th-anniversary screening of Prince's celluloid opus Purple Rain, complete with a sing-along.
THURSDAY, AUG. 5: Yeah! Usher is hitting the road. The chart-topping R&B sensation (who just scored five MTV Video Music Award nominations) is taking his multiplatinum act on tour. With rapper Kanye West opening, the Chattanooga, Tenn., native will begin his Truth tour in support of Confessions in Hampton, Va. It wraps Oct. 7 at New York City's Madison Square Garden.
FRIDAY, AUG. 6: Will Ken Jennings become the $2 million man? The Jeopardy! whiz, who earned $1,321,660 million in 38 appearances on the quiz show, will return for another round of answers and questions at the show's Culver City, Calif., studios. The software engineer from Salt Lake City, who's also a devout Mormon (he's promised to give 10 percent of his winnings to the Church), has helped boost the show's ratings by 50 percent during his streak. But viewers will have to wait to see how Jennings performs: The new season of Jeopardy! doesn't air until Sept. 6.
Elsewhere, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson are ready to play ball: Instead of amphitheaters or mammoth stadiums, the legendary rocker and country icon are hitting minor-league ballparks across America. It's the first time the two artists are touring together. First stop: Cooperstown, N.Y., the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, where the 23-date trek (called The Bob Dylan Show) will get underway. "What we aim to do with this tour is hit the ball out of the park, touch all the bases and get home safely," Dylan said of the tour, which will end in Kansas City, Kan., on Sept 4.