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Kenny Rogers Eyes Wyclef Jean for Duet Partner on Next Album

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Kenny Rogers has several interesting projects in the works for 2011, including plans for a duets album called ‘Killer Combinations,’ with old friends Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie. One surprising and unexpected addition on the project comes in the form of rapper Wyclef Jean. The former Fugees front man recorded Kenny’s hit ‘The Gambler‘ a few years back, and now the country star is anticipating what the two could cook up for his new album, especially since Wyclef hails from Haiti, a country where Kenny has quite a few fans.

“Wyclef Jean is a friend of mine, and he did ‘The Gambler’ on his record once before, and it was a pretty cool thing,” Kenny tells Gannett.com. “He did a whole rap version of ‘The Gambler,’ and I sang — actually spoke — part of the thing. I’d like to do something with him that’s musical, for lack of a better term, because he’s a very big guy in Haiti — that’s where he’s from — and I have a really good following down there. I think we could do something musically very interesting.”

Kenny also has some fairly short musical partners on his current Christmas tour — he incorporates local children into each of the shows on the tour, which he’s done for the last three decades. The children’s choirs in this year’s concerts have been some of the most talented he’s seen, according to Kenny, who spends half the show singing holiday favorites and the other half performing his own hits from the past five decades.

“It’s a great opportunity for some of these kids to come onstage and participate, and it creates a local interest as well, when you know the choir is local and the kids are local,” says Rogers. “We’ve done about five shows this Christmas already, and we have had some phenomenal choirs of kids — better than any year in the past.”

Kenny admits he’s fond of being upstaged by the kids, who sometimes do hilarious, unpredictable things while performing, which makes the shows even more fun. “Oh, I pray they upstage me… It makes my life so much simpler!” he reveals. “I love it when the kids actually have personalities and they’re not so afraid to do things. We had some kid the other night who was about 5 or 6, and he yawned through the whole show. He gets up on the stage and just started yawning and couldn’t quit. I just thought it was hilarious! Kids are going to be kids no matter how hard you try to train them.”

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