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Clarkson tour is canceled

Slow ticket sales are blamed for halt on summer shows. Her new album is still set to be released June 26.

June 15, 2007|Maria Elena Fernandez and Randy Lewis | Times Staff Writers

Kelly Clarkson's much-anticipated third album, "My December," will hit stores in 11 days, but fans hoping to hear her perform its songs live this summer will have to wait a little longer. Clarkson's camp announced Thursday that her summer tour is being "shelved" because of disappointing ticket sales.

"We came to the realization that we bit off more than we could chew," said the tour's promoter, Michael Rapino, chairman of Live Nation, in a statement issued Thursday.

The move marks a continuing period of turmoil for the 25-year-old artist. She fired her longtime manager, Jeff Kwatinetz, earlier this week and had previously decided not to reunite for the new album with the producers who helped develop "Breakaway," the record that sold 10 million copies and earned her two Grammys. That decision has caused considerable friction between Clarkson and executives at her label, RCA Records.

In a statement to fans on her website, Kellyclarkson.com, Clarkson wrote: "In the craziness of the music business, performing is what I look forward to doing the most, so it is really disappointing to me to have to tell you that I won't be coming out to tour this summer. The fact is that touring is just too much too soon. But I promise you that we're going to get back out there as soon as is humanly possible to give you a show that will be even better."

Clarkson wrote or co-wrote all of the material on "My December," which will be released as scheduled on June 26, according to an RCA spokesman. In interviews, she has described the work as a compilation of all of the highs and lows of the last two years.

"If you read the tea leaves, [the cancellation] is not really a surprise. There's so much turmoil going around her with her management situation and her record company," Pollstar Editor Gary Bongiovanni said Thursday. Pollstar magazine tracks the concert industry.

The scuttled North American tour, which had included arenas in 31 cities, did not yield the expected ticket sales, Rapino's press release said."In the end," the statement said, "we are in the Kelly Clarkson business, and for that reason we believe that this decision will only benefit her and her fans in the long run."

Clarkson's 2006 tour had played arenas, where she sold an average of nearly 12,000 tickets across two dozen shows. But affordability was a key factor: Tickets averaged $36.47 last year. Tickets for the new tour were priced from $45 to $88 for her July 19 show at the Honda Center in Anaheim, her only scheduled Los Angeles-area appearance. And for a stop in Uncasville, Conn., on Aug. 16, tickets went on sale at $75 to $110, versus $35 to $65 when she was slated to play Denver on July 21.

"She has demonstrated an ability to sell tickets," Bongiovanni said, "so it wasn't out of the question for her to book an arena-level tour.

"In her case, with her changing managers and the controversy with her record company over the content of the new record, taking a step back and rethinking everything might not be a bad idea."

Asked if he thinks the lackluster sales indicate that her star power is dimming, Bongiovanni said: "Only to the extent that there might have been an unrealistic expectation of that star power."

maria.elena.fernandez @latimes.com

randy.lewis@latimes.com

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