» Straight Flushed: “Are you still the worst poker player in the world?" That may not be the most obvious way to ask Darius Rucker if he'd like to join the Grand Ole Opry, but when Brad Paisley's doing the asking, anything can happen. The incredibly touching moment occurred Tuesday (10/2) during a post-performance audience Q&A with Rucker at the venerable institution. Watch the video here. He'll be inducted Oct. 16.
» Stay Switzerland: He may have looked like the world's unhappiest man sitting in the middle of a verbal spat between fellow American Idol judges Nikki Minaj and Mariah Carey, but Keith Urban actually found it all pretty exciting. "I love it, I gotta say," he told Extra. "I love working with passionate people. I love artists. Everyone just sort of expressing themselves. It’s a very alive and very invigorating work environment. A lot of passion.” Nicole Kidman added her thoughts, as well, during the interview; watch here.
» Some Day I'll Be Giving In A Big Ole City: Why ya gotta be so ... nice, Taylor Swift? Our favorite world-dominating country singer is donating money and concert tickets to a school for the deaf following an internet prank. A VH1 Save The Music contest promising a Swift concert to the top vote-getting school was the target of meanspirited voting for Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston, MA. Though the school was disqualified from winning because its votes were not from the school's students, Swift has invited the entire student body from the K-12 school to her next local concert. She and contest partners Chegg, Papa John's, Covergirl and American Greetings are also donating $10,000 each to the institution, for a total of $50,000. Save The Music is donating $10,000 in musical instruments. Way to go, Taylor. You've knocked us off our feet again!
» Star Bucks:Speaking of, Taylor Swift made Forbes' list of "Hollywood's Highest Paid Women." Just $108 million shy of Oprah's lead, Swift earned $57 million and ranked third thanks to 65 tour dates that grossed more than $1 million per night. Brittney Spears ranks second, Ellen DeGeneres is fourth. View the entire list here.
» Rated A: Lady Antebellum wrapped up their world tour in Australia this week, but don't worry if you missed it. The band will play themselves in the live concert film Own The Night World Tour, out Dec. 4. The DVD and Blu-ray includes a full concert performance from their Little Rock, AR show earlier this year, plus a documentary and bonus footage. Preview here.
» Doesn't Stay In Vegas: Garth Brooks will cash in his chips and end his three-year run at Wynn Las Vegas Nov. 17. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Wynn," Brooks says. "Mr. Wynn told me that the Wynn audiences were some of the best in the world and he was right." Details and tickets for the remaining shows here.
» J Rod's Singalong: "Shinin' On Me" singer Jerrod Niemann stopped by Public School 22, in Graniteville, Staten Island, NY to donate instruments and perform the song with students. "Having a chance to meet and perform with PS22 was like no other experience," Niemann said. "Those children have so much talent and passion for music that I am so inspired and proud to be their biggest fan." Watch here.
Trace Adkins is Luke McBain, a graphic novel originally published in 2009, has been reissued with unreleased extras such as a cover gallery, character designs, script pages and more. Available in bookstores now.
"Better In A Black Dress" singer Katie Armiger is featured in Dove’s new Beautiful & Bold ZinePak, available at Walmart. Armiger joins Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, Vanessa Carlton, Lauren Alaina and others in the mag that contains nail decals, Dove coupons and a 12-song CD. Buy it here.
Sugarland's Kristian Bush and Brantley Gilbert are slated for a Nashville edition of the CMA Songwriters Series on Oct. 31, the eve of the 46th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville's Marathon Music Works. Tickets here.
The North Carolina Museum of History is presenting Scotty McCreery: An “American Idol” through Jan. 4. Items including McCreey's leather jacket and his mom's backstage pass from the AI finale are featured in the exhibit. More here.
Friday (10/5): Big & Rich, Hillbilly Highjack (CMT).
Saturday (10/6): Laura Bell Bundy, Kimberly's Simply Southern (GAC).
Monday (10/8): Taylor Swift, Good Morning America (ABC); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC)
Upcoming Album Releases
Jason AldeanNight Train (10/16)
Jamey JohnsonLivin' For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran (10/16)
Scotty McCreery Christmas With Scotty McCreery (10/16)
» It Doesn't Actually Open Anything, But: When "Cowboys And Angels" singer Dustin Lynch (r) returned to his hometown of Tullahoma, TN Saturday night, he had a surprise waiting for him. Mayor Lane Curlee presented him with an official Key to the City. "This is so awesome and unexpected," said Lynch. "I’m proud of my hometown and this is something I’ll always treasure."