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Is Shania Twain on the comeback trail?

August 18, 2009 | 11:27 am

Twain_Birthday_

With new albums on the horizon from Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey snaring much of the mainstream press, there's one leading lady of pop music who could easily steal their thunder. Shania Twain will guest judge on "American Idol," it was confirmed Monday, in what was the latest quiver of action from what's been a rather quiet Twain camp of late.

A Twain return couldn't be better timed. The artist is one of the most responsible for broadening Nashville's pop appeal. It's Twain's songs such as "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" that fostered a country landscape that's open to everything from Miley Cyrus's "The Climb" to Taylor Swift's "Picture to Burn." Right now, with young country darlings such as Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler dominating the scene, the window is open for Twain to storm right in.

Will it happen next week? Twain's website is holding a countdown to her birthday Aug. 28, promising fans "a present." For now, you can stop by and leave your own wishes, and even submit a picture of yourself. Hopefully she's too busy in the studio to review each and every offering.

But there may not be reason to get too excited. 

While Pop & Hiss hasn't received any indication from Twain's label reps that new music is on the way (we didn't exactly expect any, either), Twain's MySpace page may have spoiled the surprise. The site revealed that Twain's all-new fan club will launch Aug. 28. If that's it, then Twain is guilty of abusing the pop-culture countdown.

Yet one doesn't go on "American Idol" without something to promote -- the show in itself is a four-month-long promotional cycle. And back in June, Twain posted a note apologizing to fans for a lack of new music, writing, "I wish like crazy that I had new music by now since I dream of how fun it would be to see you all again out on tour with new songs to sing, but as most of you know, I have been side-tracked slightly over this past year."

Twain noted in dealing with her divorce from producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange she has returned to writing. But at the time, there wasn't any indication that anything was eminent. "Time has a way of making everything right, and it is my hope that good music will eventually come out of it."

Here's hoping it's before "American Idol" dumps some more kids upon Nashville (no offense, Bucky).

-- Todd Martens

Screenshot: www.shaniatwain.com

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