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Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams and Damon Albarn will headline the 48th Montreux Jazz Festival later this year.

The full line-up for the festival, which runs from July 4-19, includes Van Morrison, Massive Attack, hip-hop duo Outkast and Jamie Cullum.

Stevie Wonder’s appearance fulfils a long-held wish of the festival’s late founder Claude Nobs, who died in 2013.

Stevie Wonder will join Pharrell Williams and Damon Albarn at the 48th Montreux Jazz Festival

Stevie Wonder will join Pharrell Williams and Damon Albarn at the 48th Montreux Jazz Festival (photo Getty Images)

“We tried to get Stevie many times,” said festival director Mathieu Jaton.


Stevie Wonder will play at the Swiss resort’s Stravinsky Auditorium on July 16, with seats priced at 450 Swiss francs ($470).

Paharrell Williams, who stole the show at this year’s Oscars with his performance of Despicable Me 2’s Happy, will perform at the festival on July 7.

“He is the artist we had to get this year,” Mathieu Jaton told Reuters.

“You hear Pharrell Williams everywhere on the radio and television. He has produced incredible pieces,” he added, alluding to Pharrell Williams’ string of hit performances on tracks like Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

Robin Thicke will also perform at the event, as will Chris Rea – who returns to the Montreux stage for the first time in 14 years.

Announcing the line-up, Mathieu Jaton spoke about the on-going work to digitize the 6,000 hours of recorded music from Montreux concerts across the years.

Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland was founded in 1967 and has hosted stars including Miles Davis, Ray Charles, David Bowie and Prince.

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Alpha Walker and Tamara Diaz, a couple who tried to extort millions of dollars from Stevie Wonder, have pleaded no contest and been sentenced to 292 days in prison in Los Angeles.

But Alpha Walker and his girlfriend Tamara Diaz were released after being sentenced, having already served their time since they were arrested in May.

Alpha Walker was accused of making a video that he said would make the singer “extremely” embarrassed.

He tried to blackmail the star for up to $5 million, Stevie Wonder’s lawyer said.

The couple who tried to extort millions of dollars from Stevie Wonder have pleaded no contest

The couple who tried to extort millions of dollars from Stevie Wonder have pleaded no contest

At a preliminary hearing, a police detective described the video as an 80-minute rant against Stevie Wonder.

It was said to feature the dilapidated home of Stevie Wonder’s dead mother and to show Stevie Wonder’s son, of whom the musician is protective.

A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt but means the defendant does not contest the charges.

Alpha Walker had previously maintained his innocence and his solicitor Ian Wallach had claimed that he had a constitutional right to make and market the video.

A sting operation involving Stevie Wonder’s solicitor led to the pair’s arrest.

Ian Wallach said a deal was reached after prosecutors encountered trouble proving the extortion case, according to the Associated Press news agency.

He added that the charges were eligible to be reduced to misdemeanors and expunged later if the pair comply with the terms of their release.

Alpha Walker and Tamara Diaz were both ordered to spend three years on probation and told to stay away from the singer and his associates.

 

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Alpha Lorenzo Walker and his girlfriend Tamara Eileen Diaz have been arrested in the United States and charged with trying to extort money from the singer Stevie Wonder.

Alpha Lorenzo Walker and Tamara Eileen Diaz threatened to reveal “embarrassing information” about the star, officials in Los Angeles said.

Both deny the accusations and are in custody awaiting a preliminary hearing on 16 May.

A judge will decide if there is enough evidence for the two to stand trial.

Alpha Lorenzo Walker and Tamara Eileen Diaz threatened to reveal "embarrassing information" about Stevie Wonder

Alpha Lorenzo Walker and Tamara Eileen Diaz threatened to reveal "embarrassing information" about Stevie Wonder

LA district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said that Alpha Lorenzo Walker contacted Stevie Wonder’s representatives and claimed to have embarrassing information about the musician.

Detectives organized a sting operation and the pair were arrested, she said.

Officials said Alpha Lorenzo Walker had identified himself as a relative of Stevie Wonder.

Police have not released any additional details about the investigation.

 

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American Idol’s last remaining contestants offered a great show last night, as song choices were limited to Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston hits.

Jessica Sanchez created shock and awe in equal measure when she brought the house down with Whitney Houston’s greatest hit, I Will Always Love You.

Joshua Ledet did kick off the show with an incredible performance of I Wish, but Elise Testone brought the mood down when she failed horribly with I’m Your Baby Tonight.

“Whitney’s a beast,” Jennifer Lopez stated oddly, though it was clear to understand what she meant despite the odd choice of metaphor.

Whitney Houston’s vocals seemed insurmountable to the spirited young girls struggling desperately to emulate her.

A similar fate befell Shannon Magrane, who was understandably having trouble catching her breath throughout I Have Nothing.

“I think your nerves got the best of you, baby,” Steven Tyler told Shannon Magrane.

“You kind of crashed and burned.”

Jeremy Rosado’s beautiful voice struggled last night on Ribbon in the Sky, which was the song Stevie Wonder himself sung at Whitney Houston’s funeral last month and therefore probably doomed to failure by comparison.

Even “gentle giant” Jermaine Jones was nitpicked for “forcing” the chorus on Knocks Me Off My Feet.

Heejun Han turned in an adequate All in Love Is Fair, and Colton Dixon ably sailed through Lately, looking every bit the pin-up.

“The song started out shaky for me, but by the last eight bars, you were flawless,” critiqued Randy Jackson, who said that Colton had the most trouble staying on pitch when he was singing “soft and low”.

Jessica Sanchez created shock and awe in equal measure when she brought the house down with Whitney Houston's greatest hit, I Will Always Love You

Jessica Sanchez created shock and awe in equal measure when she brought the house down with Whitney Houston's greatest hit, I Will Always Love You

Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanagh fared the best.

Jessica Sanchez had a surprisingly good performance of Whitney Houston’s best-known hit, I Will Always Love You, while Hollie Cavanagh gave a heartening performance of All the Man That I Need.

Randy Jackson told Jessica Sanchez that it was one of the most difficult songs to sing and that she was the best “vocal of the night and one of the best vocal talents” in America.

While Steven Tyler added: “You may be the one. You just made 40 million people cry.”

Skylar Laine turned Where Do Broken Hearts Go into a lilting country ballad which worked better for this personal touch, though Jennifer Lopez felt she got “nasally” despite her offering the “biggest moment of the night” up to that point.

While Erika Van Pelt on I Believe in You and Me gave the judges goosebumps.

DeAndre Brackensick showed a different side of his voice with a reggae version of Master Blaster and was praised for his “Jamaican patois” by Steven Tyler.

Phillip Phillips gave Superstition a rock makeover.

The first elimination will run a little differently than in year’s past.

On tomorrow’s show, host Ryan Seacrest will announce the boy and the girl who got the least votes, then let the judges pick which one stays and which goes.

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Top 13 finalists of American Idol will perform songs by Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder on next week’s milestone 400th episode.

Season 11’s finalists were announced on last night episode following two nights of live performances from the Top 13 boys and Top 12 girls who made it to the semi-final.

Ten contestants were voted through to the next stage by the American public, while judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson chose three more acts as their wildcard picks.

Fox has now confirmed that the Top 13 will perform tracks by Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder on Wednesday, March 7. The female contestants will take on the Whitney Houston’s songs, while the men will tackle the Stevie Wonder tracks.

Mary J. Blige will mentor all contestants throughout the week.

Top 13 finalists of American Idol will perform songs by Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder on next week's milestone 400th episode

Top 13 finalists of American Idol will perform songs by Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder on next week's milestone 400th episode

Whitney Houston passed away at the age of 48 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 11.

American Idol’s host Ryan Seacrest had previously hinted that the show planned to honour Whitney Houston’s impact on the music industry, saying: “We are trying to figure out how we can go in and obviously pay tribute [to Whitney Houston] in some way and acknowledge the impact that she had on popular singers, popular music and young singers that are trying to make it.”

The Top 13 contestants are: Hollie Cavanagh, Colton Dixon, Heejun Han, Jermaine Jones, Skylar Laine, Joshua Ledet, Shannon Magraine, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Jeremy Rosado and DeAndre Brackensick.