DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Canned For Outshining R. Kelly?

Singer: I was booted from tour for eclipsing veteran R&B star

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Canned For Outshining R. Kelly?

JANUARY 2--A young R&B singer charges that he was bounced as an opening act for R. Kelly after he outshined the headliner at the opening dates of Kelly's current North American tour.

The singer Ne-Yo (real name: Shaffer Smith) claims that he was set to earn $785,000 for opening for Kelly at a minimum of 25 concerts. But he says was bounced from the tour after a pair of shows in mid-November, though audience reaction to his set was strong.

In a December 31 Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, Shaffer, 28, alleges that he was dumped because crowd and press reaction to his performance was 'more favorable' than R. Kelly's notices.

An excerpt of Smith's lawsuit, which names Kelly's promoter, Rowe Entertainment, as a defendant, can be found here. A 2004 tour featuring Kelly and Jay-Z collapsed in litigation, with the rapper portraying Kelly as emotionally fragile and prone to crying jags. (5 pages)