In a surprising move just days after firing her long-standing manager, Kelly Clarkson has canceled her summer tour — “for now” — after ticket sales for the outing did not live up to the promoter’s expectations.
The cancellation is the latest in a series of bad events for Clarkson, who has been struggling in advance of the release of her third album, My December (see “Kelly Clarkson On Rumored Label Squabble: ’I Always Stick To My Guns’ “ ). On Tuesday, she split with manager Jeff Kwatinetz amid continuing tension with her label over the darker, more rock-oriented direction she chose for December, on which Clarkson co-produced and wrote or co-wrote all the songs, despite protests from label head Clive Davis (see “Kelly Clarkson On Her Revealing New LP: ’I’m Not Even This Open With Boyfriends!’ “ ).
“It is mind-blowing when you stop to think about what Kelly Clarkson has achieved during her young career,” said Michael Rapino, CEO of tour promoter LiveNation, in a statement. “But ticket sales have not been what we anticipated and we came to the realization that we had bit off more than we could chew. In the end, 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 addressed the cancellation in a post on her Web site, explaining to fans, “I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to getting out there to perform for y’all. In the craziness of the music business, performing is what I look forward to doing the most, so it really is disappointing for 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.”
My December is slated for release on June 26 and rumors have swirled since tickets went on sale a month ago that that the box-office response was weak in some areas for the outing (see “Kelly Clarkson On Summer Tour, Live Earth: ’I Can’t Wait’ “ ). A spokesperson for Clarkson’s label said that the cancellation of the tour will not affect the album’s release date.
Clarkson spoke out in the July issue of Elle magazine, claiming that Davis offered her $10 million to drop five of her songs from My December in favor of more likely hits. “My resistance upsets a lot of people, because we could make a lot of money,” Clarkson said in the interview. “And I’m not hatin’ on money. … I’m just not comfortable doing things that don’t feel like me.”
According to the statement, ticket holders can obtain refunds at the point of purchase and will be notified of future concert dates once they are scheduled. When, and if, the dates are rescheduled, they will likely take place in smaller venues, according to Gregg Perloff, CEO of Another Planet Entertainment. “The day when [Kelly] will play in sold-out arenas is, no doubt, coming,” Perloff said in the statement. “But for now her fans should look forward to seeing her in a more intimate concert environment.”
After lining up a 35-date tour that was scheduled to kick off on July 11 in Portland, Oregon, and continue through a September 26 date in Los Angeles, the only current gig listed on Clarkson’s site is an appearance at the July 7 Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
Just a month ago, the singer told MTV News that she was not afraid of a fight with her label over the controversial record and was willing to stand up for her musical choices. “I’ve never once compromised myself, so I don’t think you should,” she said. “I think that’s when you start to lose fans and credibility … I always stick to my guns. I think you definitely need to keep doing what you love, because I’m the one who needs to sing it every night.”