LOS ANGELES (AP) – Green Day, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and U2 will perform at the 47th annual Grammy Awards next month.

They are the first group of performers to be announced by the Recording Academy. The announcement was made Thursday.

Keys is nominated for eight Grammys. Green Day has six nominations, U2 has three and McGraw has two nominations.

The Grammys will be presented Feb. 13 at the Staples Center, with Queen Latifah as host. Presenters include Ellen DeGeneres and John Travolta.

U2 will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, along with R&B singers The O’Jays, soul balladeer Percy Sledge, the Pretenders and blues guitarist Buddy Guy. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation will hold its induction ceremony March 14 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan.

Serbia president fan of R.E.M.

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) – Greeting members of the rock band R.E.M. in his Belgrade office, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic said he’s a fan and requested that his favorite song, “Orange Crush,” be played at their Friday concert.

Youthful and soft-spoken, Tadic, 46, is at the helm of a democratic leadership striving to open the troubled Balkan republic to the West after years of ostracism and isolation during the rule of Yugoslavia’s ex-President Slobodan Milosevic.

Bringing world-famous artists to the country is part of that effort, said Nebojsa Krstic, head of Tadic’s press team.

Krstic said Tadic has been a fan of R.E.M. since the band’s early days in the 1980s.

On Thursday, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe presented Tadic with a copy of the band’s new CD and Tadic gave the band a CD of Serbian ethnic music, “Serbia Sounds Global,” saying he hoped the exotic sound might inspire new hits.

R.E.M.’s sold-out concert was billed as the main rock event in Serbia in 2005.

Newton lone judge for his new realty show

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Wayne Newton says he won’t need a panel of judges to decide the winner of his new talent contest, “The Entertainer,” which debuts Sunday on E! Television Network.

Newton is the only judge, but the 62-year-old singer promises that he won’t be as nasty as, say, Simon Cowell, the tart-tongued judge on Fox’s “American Idol.”

“You can be difficult on them as long as it’s not crushing to them, as long as what you’re telling them is not mean-spirited,” Newton told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

The winner of the talent contest will appear in Newton’s Las Vegas show.

Costello does fairy tale opera

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Elvis Costello is creating an opera based on Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen’s impossible romance with a Swedish woman.

“The Secret Arias” is based on songs written by Andersen for Jenny Lind, a soprano dubbed the “Swedish Nightingale,” whom the Dane pined for, despite her never returning his affections, said Henrik Engelbrecht, head of dramaturgy at the Royal Theater.

“Elvis immediately loved the idea and when we met him 18 months ago to discuss it, he had already a clear idea about the opera,” Engelbrecht told The Associated Press on Thursday.

It is believed that Andersen wrote his tale “The Nightingale” with Lind in mind.

The work will open in 2006 in the new opera house’s small experimental stage that can seat 200. The cast hasn’t yet been decided.

After Copenhagen, “The Secret Arias” likely will go on an international tour, Engelbrecht said, and be released as a CD and DVD.

Costello, who has recorded with Swedish soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter and the Brodsky Quartet, will perform the songs in a concert this fall at the new $441 million opera house, which opened Jan. 15.

This year, Danes mark the bicentennial of Andersen’s birth. Andersen is renowned for his children’s stories, including the classics “The Little Match Girl,” “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Red Shoes.” He died in 1875.


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