Dates have been announced for this summer’s American Idol tour — are they continuing to scale down with smaller venues and are they coming to a city near you? Also in today’s Roundup, Jennifer Hudson has released a new song featuring Timbaland, and Jermaine Jones has recently joined the discrimination lawsuit against Idol.

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American Idol Live! Tour Dates Announced

Diehard fans of American Idol should pay attention: tour dates have been announced for the annual summer tour. All of this year’s Top 10 contestants will be hitting the road starting in June for the 41-show tour.

American Idol Live! kicks off on June 24 in Binghamton, NY, and then will make its way across the country (including two concerts in Ontario, Canada). The singers will travel to such cities as Highland Park, IL; Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; New Orleans, LA; Phoenix, AZ; and Los Angeles, LA; before wrapping up on August 23 in Redmond, WA. Check out the entire list of tour dates and locations here.

The number of concerts is pretty much the same amount as last year’s tour. The difference is that after many venues had low ticket sales, about 10 of the concerts were cancelled, bringing the tour down to about 30 concerts.

Since tickets aren’t available yet, we won’t know if the same thing is bound to happen again. What might work in the tour’s favor this year is that smaller venues seem to be the norm this time around — and some are even outdoors.

Tickets go on sale starting on Friday, May 9. And $1 of every ticket sold will be donated to The Melanoma Research Alliance.

Idol‘s rival singing competition show, The Voice, is also doing a tour this summer. This will be the NBC series’ first time hitting the road with the contestants. But unlike Idol, which involves the Top 10 (or so) every year, The Voice Tour (with 31 stops) will feature this year’s top three finishers, last season’s top three finishers, Dia Frampton from season 1 and another fan favorite to be announced in May.

Jennifer Hudson’s New Song “Walk It Out”

Season 3 alum and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson released a new single this week, making the announcement via Twitter. The song is called “Walk It Out” and features Timbaland. The track will be featured on her upcoming third album, which doesn’t have a release date yet.

Timbaland is not the only big name expected to lend a hand to J-Hud on the new album. T.I., Pharrell Williams, RedOne and R. Kelly are also involved. RedOne said of the record (courtesy of Rap-Up), “It’s not dance dance, but it’s soulful dance. It’s very ’70s kinda style.”

Jennifer revealed last month that she was parting ways with Weight Watchers, telling People, “I have chosen to step away from my role as ambassador and I am excited for the year to come, with many new projects and lots of new music.” And as we know, this will include a new album featuring “Walk It Out.”

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Jermaine Jones Joins Idol Discrimination Lawsuit

The discrimination lawsuit against American Idol just added a new name: Jermaine Jones. The season 11 alum was disqualified (and on-air by producers, no less) after his criminal history that he didn’t disclose to the producers came to light during the course of his season.

He released a statement to ABC News saying, “I was and continue to be appreciative of the opportunity to perform as a Top 10 contestant during season 11 of American Idol, which was once considered the world biggest stage for up-and-coming recording artists. And I wanted to believe that my humiliating public disqualification in March 2012 was just part of the show and an experience that could be internalized and ultimately forgotten. But I realize now, with the support of my family and friends, that Equal Rights under the law (or in this case, under contest rules), is something we must always strive for and never take for granted.”

“I am therefore honored,” he went on to say, “to join my fellow brethren in their continuing struggle to enforce this Nation’s Civil Rights laws against the powerful forces who discriminated against top-ranking Black American Idols for more than [a] decade.” He also said he didn’t want to be “falsely portrayed as a thug or a ‘gangsta.”

The lawsuit includes 10 (now 11) former contestants who claim the show unfairly disqualified them on the basis of race.

But what makes the addition of Jermaine so interesting is that less than a year ago, he publicly claimed he wanted no part in the lawsuit, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I think [the plaintiffs] are going a little overboard,” and saying the whole thing is “ludicrous.”

In the same interview, he also said, “I am grateful for the exposure, the good and the bad. … God don’t like ugly. You can’t win when you are ugly.” Apparently, the former contestants involved in the lawsuit tried to get Jermaine involved from the start, but to no avail — until now, that is.

It’s obvious that if any of these singers had become famous following their runs on Idol, they would not be suing the show at all. But their careers have gone nowhere, and now that the same thing has happened to Jermaine with his career, maybe he feels like he might as well get in on the action since he could reap some financial benefits as a result, along with getting his name in the headlines for a little bit longer.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.