Clarkson cans arena tour as sales sputter

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NEW YORK -- Days after firing her longtime manager, Kelly Clarkson has postponed her summer arena tour after lower-than-expected ticket sales forced the artist to reconfigure the show's "size and scope," according to a statement. The 36-date outing was set to begin July 11 in Portland, Ore.

"We came to the realization that we had bit off more than we could chew," said LiveNation CEO Michael Rapino, whose company is promoting the tour. "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."

The companies said that tickets for the tour can be refunded at the point of purchase.

Current ticket-holders will be given first priority for seats once new dates, likely in the fall, are announced.

"The fact is that touring is just too much too soon," Clarkson, who won the first "American Idol" competition in 2002, said on her Web site. "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."

The double Grammy winner fired her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz of the firm, this week.

The tour news is another blow to the setup for Clarkson's new album, "My December," due June 26 via RCA. The artist has admitted she had to fight hard with label execs to release an album of entirely self-penned material on the heels of her smash 2004 album "Breakaway," which featured a number of co-writes with experienced songwriters and has sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S.

The new album's first single, "Never Again," falls to No. 17 in its seventh week on the Billboard Hot 100 after peaking at No. 8.

Clarkson is still slated to perform at the Live Earth concert July 7 at East Rutherford, N.J.

Jonathan Cohen is senior editor at Billboard.
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