Instead of the Royal Albert Hall, Jenkins, 29, will be in New York attempting to "crack" the highly lucrative American music market. Her place will be taken by Hayley Westenra, 22, the soprano, who launched the Royal British Legion's poppy appeal.
Jenkins's rejection is being treated with typically stoicism. "There's no bitter blood with her," says the veterans' spokesman. "It was never a lifetime commitment. Hayley was billed to take part after she went out to Basra to see the troops."
Too bad the relevant bits are embedded in a narky article about Katherine Jenkins - oh well.
Oh well, the upside is that Hayley has this glowing article written about her in the Daily Mail. Press Attention!!! I was wondering how long it would be until Hayley was put up as the alternative to Katherine Jenkins. If the media continue to treat Katherine the way they are, an opening might become available for Hayley.
While it's not fair that this article seems to paint Katherine on one extreme as a flighty, delinquent diva and Hayley on the other as a reincarnation of Mother Theresa, it's great to see Hayley get a high profile article about her charity.
Battle of the divas: Katherine Jenkins and Hayley Westenra go head to head for prized role of Forces Favourite
She’s sung for British troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus – and even for Chelsea pensioners.
But glamorous blonde mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins is losing her role as the Forces Sweetheart to a young New Zealand-born singer, Hayley Westenra.
Ms Westenra, 22, will top the bill at the Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 7, replacing Ms Jenkins, who has performed at the prestigious concert for the past five years.
Head-to-head: Brunette Hayley Westenra takes on Katherine Jenkins to be the new forces sweetheart
It is the latest in a series of upheavals in the Welsh singer’s career. Just before last year’s Festival of Remembrance, Ms Jenkins, 29, revealed that she had taken cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis as a teenager.
She also left her Universal record label to sign a £6million deal with Warner Music in a bid to crack the American market.
And last month, she parted from her manager of six years, Brian Lane. Their lawyers are in talks to work out a settlement.
A source close to Ms Jenkins said that she believed as recently as two months ago that she would be appearing as usual in front of the Queen and a television audience of millions at the British Legion concert.
Ms Westenra, who has been a staunch supporter of Forces’ charities since she shot to fame as a singer six years ago, has also been recruited by the British Legion to be the face of this year’s Poppy Appeal. Ms Jenkins has had an eventful involvement with British Forces. In an interview in today’s Live magazine, she admits she believed that she was going to die when an RAF helicopter in which she was travelling over Iraq was hit by a ground-to-air missile.
‘I was on my way to perform for the troops when suddenly there was this incredibly loud noise and the helicopter just dropped out of the sky,’ she says.
I thought, “This is it...I’m done.” But somehow the pilot landed.’
In Afghanistan she was unknowingly put in danger when her helicopter was used as a decoy for another aircraft carrying the head of the Ministry of Defence.
Ms Westenra, who last year travelled to Basra to perform for British troops, has a deeply personal interest in the work of the British Legion, thanks to a long family tradition of wartime service.
Her great-uncle, Squadron Leader Jerry Westenra, was one of the bravest RAF aces of the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar in dogfights with the Luftwaffe and the Italian air force over Greece, North Africa and France.
Hayley said: ‘Jerry is someone to be incredibly proud of. But in October 2007, I took part in the 90th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele and discovered one of my great-great-uncles had been killed on the front line.
‘I found the name of Private Frederick Alan Westenra of Canterbury, New Zealand, on one of the plaques at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Memorial in Ypres.
'From that point onwards, I became keen to support the Armed Forces wherever and whenever possible. To appear at this year’s Festival of Remembrance is such a great honour.’
Russell Thompson, the British Legion’s director of national events and fundraising, said: ‘Katherine has been a tremendous supporter for many years and continues to be.
‘This year, we have a different show with different performers but we’re certainly looking forward to working with Katherine again in the future.’
A spokesman for 29-year-old Ms Jenkins said of the Festival of Remembrance: ‘She’s done it for the past five years, more than any other person. Now she wants to let other people perform.’ [/quote]
I've noticed the Royal British Legion are now calling Hayley "The Armed Forces' Sweetheart" in their publicity, which surely makes the title official.
I've modified the thread title to include the full date of the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. Unfortunately the afternoon performance is sold out, and the evening performance is exclusively for members of the Royal British Legion and their families. At least this will be another high profile media event for Hayley.
Whilst I am delighted for Hayley and not at all concerned about the direction KJ is heading, let's not forget that Hayley and Katherine are friends. I cannot help but think that Hayley may be feeling just a little bit uncomfortable about the way the media is presenting them at the moment.
Let's also remember that the Festival of Remembrance is simply that. Hayley has been honoured by being invited to perform and hopefully will be able to do so in her usual gifted way without media publicity of the kind we're seeing at the moment to overshadow what I know is going to be a very moving concert.
This is excellent news for Hayley as it will benefit not only her charities but also her solo career.
Of the two newspaper articles, the Daily Mail is by far the best as it discusses both singers fairly equally and contains a lot of information about Hayley that the General Public will not know. Kudos to the Daily Mail... even if they stupidly headline it as a "battle".
The Telegraph article is very poor; it focuses almost entirely on who they seem to think is "last year's singer" rather than what they should be focusing on, this year's lead performer Hayley. And neither article seems to mention two other important facts: Hayley sung there last year too, and this year will be her third appearance there (that I can recall):
So yes they are good publicity both for the Royal British Legion and for Hayley... but why oh why can't newspapers stick to the story instead of having to find an "angle" or add an "edge" to things where, in reality, there is no edge. Grrrr!!!!