Pop Culture

Manilow marches onto ‘American Idol’

Barry Manilow will be one of the celebrity guest judges on the current season of “American Idol,” Billboard.com has learned.

In live episodes airing April 19-20, Manilow will sit in as a judge alongside Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. The episodes will feature the contestants performing Manilow songs, and Manilow himself will perform on the April 20 edition.

“American Idol,” currently in its third season, is Fox’s highest-rated series of the year so far, according to Nielsen Media Research. Producers are currently trying to persuade Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder to be guest judges on the show.

In other Manilow news, the singer/songwriter recently won a interim arbitration awarding him and writing partner Bruce Sussman the rights to their stage musical “Harmony.” The American Arbitration Association ruled that former “Harmony” producer Snorkel Productions no longer has the rights to the musical and can no longer act as its representative.

A Manilow spokesperson says the musical will now go forward with plans to be staged on Broadway. Meanwhile, the artist is gearing up for his only planned U.S. concert appearance this year on June 5 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

On April 6, BMG Heritage will release Manilow’s “2 Nights Live!,” a two-disc set consisting mostly of the singer’s greatest hits performed live. The set also includes six previously unreleased songs such as “Every Single Day” and the title track from “Harmony.” Manilow will make a series of TV appearances to promote the release, including ABC’s “Good Morning America” on April 7 and “The View” on April 8, as well as the syndicated programs “The Ellen Degeneres Show” on April 19 and “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest” on April 22.

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