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Norwegian singer wins 'World Idol' title

By Wire services
Published January 2, 2004

LONDON - Norway's Pop Idol Kurt Nilsen moved a step up to World Idol on Thursday when he triumphed in a singing competition with winners from 10 other nations.

American Idol Kelly Clarkson placed second, and Belgium's Peter Everard came in third when the vote was announced on Britain's ITV television Friday evening after a New Year's Day broadcast of the international singing competition.

The competitors are all winners of the first season of the Idol series in their respective countries.

Nilsen, a 25-year-old plumber, won the Norwegian version of Pop Idol in May. His single, She's So High, went straight to No. 1 in the Norwegian singles chart and is the country's biggest-selling single to date.

Clarkson, a former Texas cocktail waitress, won the first American title in September 2002 and scored a No. 1 single with A Moment Like This.

Nelson ready to unveil antiwar ballad at fundraiser

AUSTIN, Texas - Willie Nelson plans to debut an antiwar ballad he wrote Christmas Day at a fundraising concert Saturday for Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich at Austin Music Hall.

Nelson said he planned to record What Ever Happened to Peace on Earth this week in Nashville and rush-release it as a single.

"Now, I haven't played it for Toby (Keith) yet," a laughing Nelson said. Although the two are close friends, the sentiments of Nelson's song are the polar opposite of Keith's angry-American anthem Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, with its call to arms.

Sammy Davis Jr.'s life to be detailed in musical

NEW YORK - Auditions will be held in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles this month by producers casting a new musical about the life of entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.

The show will be called Mr. Bojangles: The Ultimate Entertainer, said JTR Entertainment. Producers seek two performers - "who can sing, dance, act and do impersonations, all at the same time" - to portray Davis.

"The show will focus on Sammy's triumph over his own doubts and fears, and will re-create the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing Sammy live," said Gerry Dedera, the show's director.

Davis died in 1990. His hit songs included Mr. Bojangles, I've Gotta Be Me and The Candy Man, and his films included Porgy and Bess, Ocean's 11, Robin and the 7 Hoods and Sweet Charity.

MTV special to chronicle correspondent's trip to Iraq

NEW YORK - MTV News correspondent Gideon Yago, who previously traveled to Kuwait to report on how the war was affecting young people there, is now sharing his experiences with the youth in Baghdad.

Diary of Gideon in Iraq is scheduled to premiere at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 14 on the cable music channel.

The special chronicles Yago's two-week trip to Baghdad, in which he interviewed young Iraqis and talked to American soldiers stationed there.

"This trip will allow MTV News to finish what we started back in March," Yago said.

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