So Christina Aguilera isn't touring this summer after all, according to a release Live Nation floated late Monday and Rocks Off caught via Billboard this morning:
"Christina Aguilera's summer tour has been moved to 2011 due to prior commitments that the singer had made to her film Burlesque and to the promotion of her new album Bionic. The singer felt she needed more time to rehearse the show and with less than a month between the album release and tour date this wasn't possible."
We can practically hear the teeth gritting in whoever had to type that press release up and press "send"; promoters generally are not happy when artists tell them thanks, but we've changed our minds - especially when tickets are about to go on sale, like they would have done Friday (including here). Notice how those 'prior commitments' mysteriously slipped Team Aguilera's mind when Live Nation announced the tour about two weeks ago?
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Aguilera filmed Burlesque, which co-stars Cher and Variety describes as the story of "an ambitious small-town girl with a big voice who finds love, family and success in a Los Angeles neo-burlesque club that appears to be right out of Bob Fosse's Cabaret," (whew) last year. Release dates do get moved around a lot in Hollywood, but tours of this scale are booked months in advance for that exact reason: So they don't conflict with the artists' other projects. Or so we thought. As for promoting Bionic, since "promoting an album" has now come to mean "giving it away via free download to anyone who buys a ticket to your show," canceling that tour seems a little counterintuitive. What are people supposed to do now, go buy the thing? Interestingly, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are planning the same digital strategy but postponed the first leg of their tour, including the Houston stop, a little over a month ago so they could further promote new album Mojo. Except in Petty's case, "promoting" the album also meant "finishing" it. The band pushed back the scheduled release date by a month to June 16 and sure enough, showed up on Saturday Night Live the same night they were originally scheduled to be in the Woodlands. The original Aguilera tour press release, on the other hand, already listed a slew of TV appearances on just about every major network program that regularly features musical guests. (SNL is now on summer hiatus.) Unless she's planning a tour of local Fox affiliates - talk about counterintuitive - we can't think of much more TV promotion Aguilera could possibly do. Also unlike Mojo, Bionic has undergone no such last-minute tinkering, and in fact leaked on the Internet Monday night, so we're not buying it. Rocks Off is actually looking forward to hearing the record, especially since we heard Aguilera/Peaches/Le Tigre collaboration "My Girls" this morning. Here are five possible reasons for the tour's postponement that sound a little more plausible to us. 1. She's pregnant. Simple enough. If Aguilera and husband Jordan Bratman are expecting a baby brother or sister for 2-year-old son Max, perhaps the singer's PR flacks thought floating an innocuous smokescreen like "more time to rehearse" would ward off the paparazzi hounds and give the family their (well-deserved) privacy. If they think that's enough to keep wolves like TMZ and Perez Hilton at bay, though, maybe PR isn't the best line of work for them after all.
2. Slow ticket sales. This may be the worst-kept secret in the music business. Whatever the "official" reason may be, most of the time whenever a tour is postponed or cancelled the real reason is simple: People aren't buying tickets. Or not enough people. This case is a little different, though, because tickets for Aguilera's tour haven't gone on sale yet. Rocks Off supposes that with Lady Gaga already blazing through North American sheds and sports arenas this summer and well into next year, "more time to rehearse" may mean "more time to change the costumes and choreography so this tour isn't 'Monster's Ball' lite." We guess that counts as rehearsing. 3. Afraid of being upstaged by opener. Here's another interpretation of "more time to rehearse." Perhaps Aguilera and her management came to the belated realization that, since the singer hasn't been on the road for a while, it might not be such a good idea for her to go on immediately after one of the few vocalists capable of matching - or even surpassing - her talents. UK soulstress Leona Lewis is one. Check out this "Bleeding Love" from a few days ago at the Rock In Rio festival in the very non-Brazilian locale of Lisbon, Portugal. Rocks Off wouldn't want to have to follow that either. 4. Busy doing charity work. This one we could almost buy. Aguilera certainly does enough of it, working with and for a long list of causes including animal rights, AIDS research, breast-cancer prevention, battered-women's shelters and, most recently, Haitian earthquake relief. Just once, we'd like to see an artist postpone a tour because they've decided to fight poverty in Africa for the summer instead. We don't think even Bono would do that, although he at least had the good sense to get a doctor's note when U2 likewise canceled its tour. 5. Decided to have gender-reassignment surgery. As we mentioned before, just like every other pop star, Aguilera is chasing Lady Gaga right now - artistically, fashion-wise and at the box office. This may be taking things a little far, though.