Beanie Sigel Disses Jay-Z In Concert?

Controversy surrounding an impromptu Beanie Sigel appearance during a Jay-Z concert in Philadelphia on Friday suggests a latent diss towards Hov.

After being brought on stage by label mate Jadakiss, who Sigel at one point and time had beef with, the Philadelphia native, did a short set, performing his own 2005 hit single "Feel It In The Air" and a rewritten version of Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 introduction.

Jay's original verse reads "Grown men, they want me to sit them on my lap / But I ain't got no beard and Santa Claus ain't black." Following Sigel's revised, acapella version, rumors indicate that his implication was that he isn't on Santa's, or Jay-Z's, sack and that Santa can't come in his house.

Beans, who has been signed to Roc-A-Fella Records since 1998, spoke highly of Jigga and Blueprint 3. In a recent interview with radio personality Jenny Boom Boom of Hartford, Connecticut's Hot 93.7, Sigel confessed "I ain't make it past the intro yet. To me, I think this joint might be it. I like it better than American Gangster."

Video footage from Sigel's surprise performance of "Feel It In The Air" surfaced on the web shortly thereafter also draws speculation as he recites the end of the first verse, "I read between the lines of your eyes and your brows / Your handshake ain't match your smile / These niggas foul... Already." Just before departing the stage, Sigel yelled to the crowd, "Love y'all, Philly. This is my muthafuckin' house. I run this town tonight!" which is the title of Jay-Z's single, "Run This Town" featuring Kanye West and Rihanna.

Whether or not this was a diss towards Jay or an admiration of his work and respect to Sigel's hometown of Philly has yet to be confirmed. Jay-Z is scheduled to perform tonight in Amherst, Massachusetts at the Mullins Center.
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Cover Story: Mariah by any other name ...

FARIDUL ANWAR FARINORDIN has always had a soft spot for Mariah Carey. During the diva’s recent trip to South Korea, she did not disappoint.

SUPERSTAR Mariah Carey seemed different this time.

Maybe it was wedded bliss, because she really looked happy during her trip to Seoul, South Korea, to promote her new album, Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel — dedicated to the man in her life, husband Nick Cannon, who is 10 years her junior.

Or maybe it was the album, her 12th, which continues to mark the pop princess’ reign over the charts. It further proves that the multi award-winning songwriter/producer, after almost two decades in the business, still manages to produce a sound that is fresh, current and relevant.

Whatever the reason, it was a joy to see her so happy. Sporting curls reminiscent of her earlier years, she radiated joy in the hotel room during the press conference.

“Annyeonghaseyo, she greeted a roomful of journalists in Korean (at this stage, no photography or video recording was allowed), and chuckled on seeing the crowd’s surprise and excitement.

“One more time? Is that right? Did I do it right?” asked the 39-year-old singer who is also known as Mimi (her 10th album was called The Emancipation of Mimi).

When she was told that the media wanted to film her speaking in Korean, she was delighted to do it again “so they (the viewers) don’t know that I cheated,” she laughed, before saying “hello” in Korean once more, this time to rousing applause. Then she blew a kiss.

Mariah doesn’t take herself seriously and her fans know this.

She loves poking fun at herself. Just watch the short film Mariah Lovers and Haters, a bonus feature on her 2008 The Adventures of Mimi concert DVD or the time when she created the brunette alter-ego Bianca for her Heartbreaker (from her 1999 Rainbow album) music video, which spawned the popular and hilarious TV “interview” between the snotty British “journalist” Bianca and the “singer” Mariah.

Her cameo roles in The Bachelor (she played an opera diva) and You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (as herself) gave film audiences a taste of Mariah’s brand of self-deprecating humour with a tinge of make-believe snobbery of a New York princess.

But the few other occasions in the past when this writer had the opportunity to meet her (Rainbow album promotion in Hong Kong, MTV Asia Award in Singapore) for interviews, Mariah’s sense of humour was kept on a tight leash.

This time, however, she really let it out.

At the recording of a TV show for MTV Korea, she was admiring her hair in a photo presented to her as a gift by a Korean fan when she sensed that something was not quite right.

“Look at my hair. I had such beautiful hair in this picture. Wow, look at that ... Hmm ...” She paused, her fingers on her long locks which has been flattened for the event. She gave a cutesy “dirty” look to her entourage — stylist, make-up artiste and minders — at the back of the studio.

“I don’t know what happened, guys ... you gotta keep it together,” said the singer, to the amusement of the audience.

The first single from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, titled Obsessed, had the industry buzzing with juicy tales when it was first released months ago.

It was reported that Mariah wrote the song as a reply to a certain rapper’s vicious attack on her through his song. In Obsessed’s black comedy music video, Mariah took it one step further by playing a goateed male (in typical rapper-style oversized jeans and hooded shirts) who tragically gets hit by a bus.

“I wrote the song with my husband,” she said. “It is about the expectations that our culture places on people, especially those in the entertainment business. It is about the idea of perfection. With the song, I’m trying to say that nobody’s perfect.”

“After writing the song, I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have it as a theme?’

“It can sort of help people deal with other’s expectations — you know, when you grow up and you feel you are not good enough,” she explained.

The theme “runs throughout the album” which comprises personal snapshots of Mariah’s emotions divided into songs which include a Prologue, a Prelude and an Interlude, just like a story.

The second single, I Want to Know What Love Is, is the cover of rock group Foreigner’s popular 1980s love anthem done with a building crescendo and a gospel twist, while the third single is H.A.T.E.U, which stands for “Having A Typical Emotional Upset”.

“I’m a writer so I always write things down. Sometimes I want to get lyrics for my song and I will look in a journal I wrote four years ago. I’d go ‘Oh yeah, that was pretty good’ and put it into song.”

The album, Mariah said, is akin to her memoirs, drawing from her experiences as well as those of her close friends. “It was one of those things where the title came together. I mentioned the title to Antonio L.A. Reid (chairman and chief executive officer of Island Def Jam Music Group) and he really liked it.”

“I really had fun in the studio while making this album. For the most part, I worked with my producers Tricky Stewart and Terius “The Dream” Nash, and with James “Big Jim” Wright and Heatmyzer, as well as (American Idol judge) Randy Jackson.”

“This album shows the kind of sounds that I like and what my fans would enjoy as well. It’s commercial but it’s not trying to conform to the music style today — I’m not trying to be like anybody out there. It’s more like ‘Oh, this reminds me of something from back in the days when I used to love (this type of music)’, or ‘This makes me feel good’.

“We would say ‘Hey, this sounds like a hit’ but we weren’t out to make hits. We just wanted to make good music. I’m glad people like it,” she said.

As an entrepreneur behind two lines of fragrances (M and Luscious Pink) under a leading cosmetic brand, Mariah, who is also promoting her new perfume called Forever, was asked what her favourite smell is in the morning.

“When you combine the new perfume with my husband,” she laughed.

Forever is packaged in a very pretty bottle, “like an art deco feel to it”.

“I collect perfume bottles. In my bathroom, I have a bunch of them and I was inspired by a few,” she said, apologising that she didn’t bring it with her during the trip.

That’s when a female fan excitedly held out a special edition of the gold-plated butterfly-shaped M in front of the crowd to get her attention.

“Oh, that’s the first one ... it looks nothing like Forever,” she said, before telling the fan that “It’s so sweet of you to have this with you ... It’s hard to get this; even I can’t get it,” and giving her a hug. Yes, Mariah is generous with her hugs, especially when it comes to her fans.

Mariah describes Forever as “very light and very sensual — I don’t know if you could smell this,” she said with her head tilted back to give the female emcee seated next to her a whiff of Forever’s sweet floral scent.

The singer/actress also talked about her “unglamorous” role as social worker Mrs Weiss in Precious, based on an inspirational novel Push by Sapphire that won critics’ hearts following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

“I loved the book — I read it a long time ago. But for some reason, I didn’t remember the character I played because it’s the story of a 16-year-old girl overcoming hardship.

“Director Lee Daniels said ‘I want you to look as homely as possible; I want you to look ugly, I don’t want anybody to recognise you at all, you’re not going to have any hairdo that looks like you (the singer), I’m going to put a little moustache on you and stuff under your eyes — you’re going to be hideous”.

She recalled Daniels saying that it was the only way for her to “lose yourself in the part ... so that’s what we did.”

Oh, the horrors for Mimi.

“Yes, I hated looking like that. I walked passed the mirrors and went ‘ughhh....’ but the main thing was becoming the character and shedding all the things that I have as an artiste.

“I am so fortunate to be a part of the movie, with Oprah Winfrey as executive producer. It has an amazing cast (with Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe, Mo’Nique and Paula Patton). I hope you get to see it here,” she said.

Looking radiant in her short black dress and knee-high black boots, Mariah also shared the secret to her youthful glow.

“Do I want to say this? I say it so much ... When you say something long enough, you start to believe it and then it becomes true.

“So when people ask me, I say that I am eternally 12-years-old. At that age, although there were good things, bad things and difficult things happening in my life, I was happy with myself. I believe I am the same person now as when I was 12. Of course, now with a nicer hairdo and a make-up artiste.”

She also thanked all her fans for their support. “I love you so much, you have to know that.”

• The writer’s trip to Korea was courtesy of Universal Music.


‘Angel’ grows on you

ANY follower of Mariah Carey’s 19-year career since her first album (Vision of Love, 1990) would tell you that Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel doesn’t warm up to the listeners immediately as much as her earlier albums.

It is ambitiously fresh-sounding with no pop sensibilities at all, with Mariah displaying her lyrical wit with a much sharper edge this time. It can be both fascinating and off-putting, but if you have the patience, the tunes will grow on you.

Except for the cover version of Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love Is — which was given a soul/gospel twist, the whole album steers away from being a commercially radio-friendly one.

Another track that is reminiscent of her earlier albums is the piano-led Languishing (Interlude), which could easily take you back to the sweet-sounding sound of Vanishing and Rainbow (Interlude) and Reflections.

The album opens with Mariah droning in a woeful tune “welcome to the day of my life, the memoirs of an imperfect angel ...” for Betcha Gon’ Know (Prologue), a delightfully beautiful and bouncy R&B tune, if not for the gloomy story about a distressed lover who caught her man cheating on her.

The song is as much about vengeance as it is about hurt and pain, displaying a side of Mariah that can be quite scary, especially when when she plans to laugh “right in your face, boy” when the table turns. And she gladly repeats this warning in the heart-stabbing chorus.

She then empowers herself with the beat-heavy Obsessed, already a hit among the digital download set, although the use of vocoder on Mariah’s already pitch-perfect voice can be off-putting at first. The witty lyrics definitely boost the listening pleasure.

H.A.T.E.U is a seductive love ballad wrapped around a beautiful four-note twinkle. Despite its angry-sounding title, the tune is actually a lover’s lament over the untimely end of her romance in a vocally-rich, warm and comfortable setting — with Mariah’s whistle notes floating in the background.

I love the first three songs but the following tracks — Candy Bling, Ribbons and Inseparable took repeated plays to be liked, while More Than Just Friends and The Impossible are pretty plain and almost monotonous.

Standing O is a fresh, foot-thumping celebratory anthem with a tinge of reggae, while Up Out My Face is a drum-it-out fun kiss-off tune (the big-sounding brass band sound for Up Out My Face — The Reprise is delightful).

Naturally, I found myself drawn so much to Angels Cry that it’s on repeated play. The heart-breaking lyrics about love gone wrong and Mariah’s brilliant vocal acrobatics in a simple, yet captivating melody, reminds me of I Stay In Love (from the previous album E=MC2), another favourite of mine.
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Lil Wayne pleads to attempted gun possession

The Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to attempted weapon possession on Thursday, and expects to receive a one-year jail sentence.

He previously had pleaded not guilty to illegal gun possession charges that carried at least 3 1/2 years in prison upon conviction.

Lil Wayne remains free on bail while awaiting his February sentencing. The somber-looking rapper did not speak as he left court.

Police said a gun was found on his tour bus in Manhattan in 2007.

The rapper, born Dwayne Carter, won last year's best rap solo performance Grammy for "A Milli." His albums include "Tha Carter," "Tha Carter II" and "Tha Carter III."

His trial had been due to start Jan. 20. The judge had been holding a hearing on a debated DNA profiling technique used to tie the rapper to the gun.

Lil Wayne, 27, also is scheduled for trial in Arizona on felony drug possession and weapons charges. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, which arose from a January 2008 arrest at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.

In New York, he politely answered the judge's standard questions with "yes, Sir" and "no, Sir" as he entered his plea to second-degree attempted weapon possession, a felony.

He acknowledged he had a .40 caliber semi-automatic loaded gun on bus.

When the judge warned that he would not be able to withdraw the plea as some people try to do, the rapper said, "I'm not one of those people."

Prosecutors said small amounts of DNA found on the loaded weapon connected it to the platinum-selling artist. Defense lawyer Stacey Richman said the gun wasn't Lil Wayne's, and the testing technique was too problematic to prove otherwise.

Police pulled over Lil Wayne's tour bus in Columbus Circle on July 22, 2007. They said they had seen and smelled marijuana smoke wafting out the door before the bus left a concert venue minutes earlier.

Police said that as an officer approached, the rapper tossed away a Louis Vuitton bag containing a gun.

The defense disputed officers' basis for searching the bus and noted that more than a dozen other people were aboard.
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Progress report: Ranking 'Glee's' Top 10 Performances

Seven episodes down -- time for a "Glee" club progress report. In reverse order, the show's Top 10 performances so far:

10. Keep Holding On

Didn't Quinn just break your heart last week? The closing performance of Avril Lavigne’s “Keep Holding On" was fueled by the despair of the head cheerleader -- and her rallying friends -- after she was informed that her secret pregnancy was not-so-secret anymore. Her sometimes friend and nemesis Rachel and boyfriend Finn are stuck too, trapped by their growing affection for each other and wanting to support Quinn. Lies! Jealousy! Love triangles! To be in high school again. Plus, the group numbers are just the best, aren't they?

9. I Wanna Sex You Up

When it comes to choir director Will Schuester's repertoire, it's a tossup between “Golddigger” and “I Wanna Sex You Up.” (And actually, I would have picked “Leaving on a Jet Plane” from the original pilot – just actor Matthew Morrison on an empty stage, a lone spotlight, and an acoustic, melancholic song of longing. Alas, that was cut from the version that aired.) So with a heart full of nostalgia, it was simply too difficult to resist Acafellas’ middle-aged (yet also boy band-happy) version of Color Me Badd’s 1991 slow jam of an invitation to get busy. Bonus points for the surprise cameo by Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young (“Jersey Boys”) as the thumbless, cough-syrup-slurping Henri St. Pierre.

8. It’s My Life/Confessions

Sorry ladies. The boys won Mr. Schu’s mash-up throwdown by a landslide. Finn's "dancing" is always a gut-busting treat, Artie finally got a solo of substance – more please! – and every shot of Kurt’s piercing glare sent me howling. (Even in the background, he's so consistent!) Sure, the boys were hopped up on "vitamin D," but unlike the girls, the performance wasn’t manic so much as it was just on.

7. Push It

Yeah, “Glee” came on pretty strong at first. But I didn't mind. Those pigtails and "Ooh baby, baby's." Artie delivering those immortal opening lines (“Now wait a minute, y’all. This dance ain’t for everybody. Only the sexy people. So all you fly mothers, get on out there and dance. Dance, I said!”) Kurt slapping Finn’s backside in front of the football team. Principal Figgins swaying slowly in ecstasy. It certainly was not the first time the show had me in tears, but it was the first time my stomach hurt from laughing.

6. Rehab

“High School Musical," "Glee" is not. That was the loud and clear refrain when in the pilot our underdog glee clubbers met their arch rivals, Vocal Adrenaline, a crew that came busting out to Amy Winehouse's unapologetic Motown-style account of her drinking habits and refusal to go to rehab. ("There's nothing you can teach me / That I can't learn from Mr. Hathaway.") And the choreography? Extra snazzy.

5. Somebody to Love

Not since the first episode's show-stopping “Don’t Stop Believin' ” has a number given me goose bumps like the Episode 5 closer. Queen’s “Somebody to Love” is one of those take-it-or-leave-it rock ballads -- at times cheesy, at others overwrought. But when Finn and Rachel begin circling one another (repetitive, but it's their signature move, people) and when the 12 kids throw their arms in the air, eyes heavenward, it just kills me. What New Directions lack in technique and choreography, they make up for in sincerity. (Side note: Is it just me, or is that Kevin McHale's Artie singing second verse -- sung by Finn in the episode -- in the studio recording of the song? Strange.)

4. Hate On Me

Another tough call, this one for Mercedes fans: “Hate On Me” or “Bust Ya Windows”? In the end, “Hate on Me” gets a boost from everything preceding it, specifically all the words out of Coach Sue's mouth (e.g. Calling up Sue's Kids: “Santana, Wheels, Gay Kid, Asian, Other Asian, Aretha and Shaft.” Sigh. I love you, Jane Lynch.) I could barely breathe by the time they got to Mercedes' solo -- and then Amber Riley went and blew me away. I love me the Broadway-trained pipes of Lea Michele's Rachel, but every now and then I need a jolt of diva with a capital D. Jill Scott’s kiss-off R&B ode to aggression? Just the ticket.

3. Single Ladies

By the September MTV VMAs performance, Beyonce’s club anthem “Single Ladies” had worn out its welcome. Yes, the music video, as Kanye West would agree, was stunning, but having seen many fabulous homemade editions (not to mention the Justin Timberlake "SNL" spoof) there was little reason to milk that cow again. Certainly not so soon. And yet, watching Kurt, and later the school's pitiful football team, ask the crowd to “put a ring on it” while sending their hips swiveling felt new and inspired.

2. Maybe This Time

So it's not a group number -- call me a sucker for songs of the down and out. Here, Rachel's so hung up on using sheer will power to be accepted, she's become miserable on her lonely journey getting there. And as April Rhodes, the boozing McKinley High has-been Mr. Schu recruits to give New Directions a leg up, Kristin Chenoweth is both hilarious and pitiful. Throw in "Maybe This Time" from "Cabaret" and it'll rip your heart out. In a good way.

1. Don't Stop Believin'

No surprise here. The first glimpse of our hapless high school outcasts, united to form a singing group that matters, brought instant tears. The funny thing is, Journey’s now-iconic “Don’t Stop Believin' ” isn’t all that uplifting when you listen to the lyrics – more like stifled emotion and desperate hope, no? – but when sung by our earnest and gawky group? As Coach Sue might put it: Outstanding.

Think I'm nuts for leaving out "No Air"? (I'm not!) Would have liked to see the impromptu singing of Nelly's "Ride Wit Me"? Can't believe Heart's "Alone" didn't make the cut? Tell me I'm a moron below.
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Gately's label complains to PCC

Boyzone's record label, Polydor, has filed an official complaint with the Press Complaints Commission over a Daily Mail column about Stephen Gately.

A spokeswoman for the label confirmed it had contacted the press watchdog, but had no further comment.

Jan Moir's article said Gately's death struck a blow to the "happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships". She denied the piece had homophobic undertones.

More than 25,000 people have now contacted the PCC about the article.

The PCC has already written to the Daily Mail for its response to the complaints received so far - the most ever made about a single newspaper article.

But the body has not made a decision on whether to launch a full investigation.

It generally waits for a complaint from "directly-affected parties" - in this case Gately's family - before taking that step.

Although it has been in touch with representative's of the family, no such complaint has been filed at this stage.

'Never my intention'

Moir's article, published the day before Gately's funeral in Dublin, attracted angry comments on social networking sites and blogs.

In her column, the writer called the Boyzone singer's death "strange, lonely and troubling".

She wrote: "The Gately family are - perhaps understandably - keen to register their boy's demise on the national consciousness as nothing more than a tragic accident."

But she continued: "Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this.

"All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered."

She concluded: "As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.

"For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see."

In a statement, Moir later said it was "never my intention" for the article to upset anyone and was not referring to Gately's homosexuality when writing about his "glamorous routine".

"In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones," she added.

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'New Moon' Soundtrack Fails To Knock Michael Buble From #1

Is it possible Michael Bublé's gleaming pearly whites are hiding a garlic grill? That would explain how the buttery Canadian crooner's Crazy Love has been able to hold onto the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for a second week, despite a hype-heavy charge from the soundtrack to the "Twilight" sequel "New Moon."

Actually the fact that the "New Moon" soundtrack came out last Friday, for a shortened week of reported sales, is probably what helped Bublé earn nearly double the vampire tunes' sales. A solid 203,000 units of Crazy Love were sold, a 55 percent increase over its first-week numbers (which also came after a Friday release). Meanwhile, the "New Moon" compilation — with songs by Muse, the Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, Lykke Li and Bon Iver with St. Vincent, among others — will notch a modest 115,000 copies in its debut week, as anticipation for the film's November 20 opening continues to build.

Other new entries in the top 10 include a strong #8 bow by Oklahoma psychedelic warriors the Flaming Lips, whose brain-teasing Embryonic shifted 32,000 copies, barely edging out the latest from R&B singer Mario, D.N.A., which comes in at #9, with less then 200 units separating them.

Meanwhile, Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 edges up two spots to #3 (55,000), Barbra Streisand holds steady at #5 with Love is the Answer (49,000) and Miley Cyrus moves up three spots with Time of Our Lives (#5, 40,000). The Black Eyed Peas storm back into the top 10 by leaping 17 slots to #6 with E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) (40,000) as Taylor Swift hops 10 spots to #7 with Fearless (33,000). Mariah Carey rounds things out with Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, which drops another three spots to #10 on sales of 31,000, shedding 43 percent of the previous week's business.

Veteran makeup rockers Kiss had a short-lived trip to the top, as their Sonic Boom triple-disc album lost 72 percent of its first-week business to plunge nine spots to #11 (30,000), followed by last week's #3, Toby Keith's American Ride, which lost an equally bruising 68 percent of its traffic.

In its third week, Paramore's latest, Brand New Eyes, continued its backward slide as well, dropping five spots to #16 (down 42 percent with sales of 24,000). The buzzing one-man band Owl City, however, still has strong positive momentum, hitting a new high at #20 (21,000), after almost four months on the chart.

Folk icon Bob Dylan's first holiday collection, Christmas in the Heart, lands at #23 (20,000). The debut from Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington's new band, Dead by Sunrise, Out of Ashes, pops in at #29 (17,000), just edging out the yuletide offering from "American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta, Christmas From the Heart (#30, 17,000).

Elsewhere on the charts, Five for Fighting hit #34 with Slice (15,000), the Karen O-led soundtrack to Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are" rockets almost 30 spots to #35 in the movie's opening week (15,000), and the Backstreet Boys fall from grace in week two, thundering down more than 50 spots to #64 with This Is Us (down 80 percent with 8,400 in sales).

It should be a quiet week at the top next week, with new offerings from the Clipse, Tim McGraw and Joss Stone.
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Kanye West forced to remove graphic video featuring sex scene and self-mutilation from his blog

Kanye West was facing fresh controversy today after pulling his new video from his website.
The rapper had posted an 11-minute film titled We Were Once A Fairytale, which is directed by Spike Jonze, on his blog on Monday.

It follows West, 32, on a drunken night out. He is seen having sex with a stranger, projectile vomiting blood and then stabbing himself in the stomach

At this point the film takes a distinctly surreal turn as a demon emerges from the depth of his stomach.

The creature - a tiny rat similar to the puppets seen in Jonze's latest film Where The Wild Things Are - subsequently stabs itself with a small sword.
Shortly after the footage appeared, the hip hop star removed it from his site and issued an apology.

'Sorry I had to take it down,' he said in a statement on his blog. He did not disclose the reason for its removal.

The video, shot in Los Angeles in January and premiered at the city's film festival in June, is a high-profile collaboration with Jonze.
Known for his idiosyncratic, quirky style, the director was also behind cult hit Being John Malkovich.
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Rihanna releases new single from upcoming album

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – Pop singer Rihanna on Tuesday released her first new single, "Russian Roulette," since being assaulted by former boyfriend and singer Chris Brown in February on the eve of the music industry's Grammy awards.

The single, written and produced by rapper Ne-Yo, premiered on Rihanna's web site,, and it will be on the singer's fourth studio, called "Rated R", that is set to hit stores on November 23, her record company Def Jam Records said.

A "Russian Roulette" music video, which was directed by Anthony Mandler, is scheduled to debut on ABC.

The-Dream, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Chase & Status and Justin Timberlake are among other artists and producers who appear on "Rated R", the follow-up to Rihanna's 2007 album "Good Girl Gone Bad", which spawned the hit single "Umbrella".

That album has sold more than 2.5 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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Shakira Changed Name And Wore Disguise For UCLA Class

How did Shakira manage to take a summer history class at UCLA in 2007 and not make headlines until after the course was over?.

The Colombian-bred international pop star revealed her successful game plan in a recent interview with the UK's The Guardian..

"I used to wear a cap and a big backpack," Shakira explained. "I looked like a boy. I didn't get recognized.".

When onlookers got suspicious and inquired whether or not she was the "Hips Don't Lie" singer, she told them that her name was Isabel, which is actually one of her middle names..

Her simple plan worked. Professor Robert Cleve, who taught the Introduction to Western Civilization: Ancient Civilizations from Prehistory to Circa A.D. 843 class, had no idea "Isabel" was actually a pop star..

"She told me she was visiting from Colombia and that she was just doing this for her own enlightenment and enjoyment," Cleve told the Associated Press in 2007. "She looked like just an ordinary student. She wasn't flamboyant...she didn't act like a big celebrity or anything.".

The singer, whose song "She Wolf" is No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sat near the front of the class and regularly stayed afterwards to ask questions, Cleve added. "I was really impressed with how intelligent she was," he said..

Shakira decided to take the class after wrapping the tour for her album, "Oral Fixation.".

When most celebs need a break from the business, they typically take a real vacation. They travel to a remote destination, relax, and clear their minds..

But Shakira said challenging her mind instead was the ideal getaway after the tour..

"It was such a long tour, I needed a break from me," Shakira told The Guardian. "The universe is so broad, I cannot be at the center of it. So I decided to go to the university and study history for a summer course, just to kind of switch gears, taste the student life.".

Shakira has been known to spend her spare time studying, and learning about the countries she visits, her manager Fifi Kurzman told The Associated Press..

While Shakira did not attend the last few classes, she told The Guardian that she enjoyed the experience. "I would go to the university over and over again if I could," Shakira said.

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Eminem's 'Taking My Ball' Hits The Net

Previously unreleased track will appear on 'DJ Hero: Renegade Edition.'
By Shaheem Reid

"DJ Hero: Renegade Edition" will be in stores in less than two weeks, but one of the marquee items that comes with the game, a new Eminem record called "Taking My Ball," hit the Internet on Friday.

"It feels so wrong, 'cause it feels so right," he raps on the chorus. "But it's alright/ It's OK with me/ I'll do my steps/ All by myself/ I don't need nobody to come play with me/ But if you just give me a chance/ I can put you in a trance the way I dance/ But don't nobody wanna play with me/ So I'm taking my ball and going home."

Throughout the record, Slim Shady addresses female celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and comes with his off-the-wall rhyme scenarios, like being a cannibal and placing coins in a certain part of his body.

"They call me the Fruit Loop from Jupiter," he declares in the second verse. Em also references Mischa Barton, Tara Reid and a former talk-show host: "Mosey on over to Rosie O'Donnell's/ With McDonald's/ Jump in her lap/ And watch 'The Sopranos.' "

In his last verse, Em talks about a famous political figure.

"They're afraid I might get Sarah Palin by the hair," he says in the last verse. "And make her get in a bathing suit/ And take her parasailing/ 'Shady, why you gotta pick on the lady for?/ Why you make her read 84 bedtime stories to you in baby talk?' "

"DJ Hero: Renegade Edition" comes out October 27 and features some of Eminem's and Jay-Z's biggest records, including "Lose Yourself" and "D.O.A."
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NYC neighbor sues Madonna over loud music, dancing

NEW YORK – One of Madonna's New York neighbors says the superstar's loud music and frequent dance sessions are causing a commotion.

Karen George, of Manhattan, lives above Madonna in a building on Central Park.

She said in a lawsuit filed Friday against the building's co-op board that the Material Girl is using her apartment as a rehearsal studio, forcing neighbors to endure "blaring music, stomping and shaking walls," for up to three hours each day.

George complained about "unreasonably high-decibel, amplified music" and vibrations pouring through walls, ceilings and radiators.

The building's board says it has already threatened to evict Madonna.

Madonna's representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Justin Bieber Had Offers From Usher And Justin Timberlake

Not too many brand new artists can boast that both Usher and Justin Timberlake wanted to sign them to record deals, but 15-year-old Canadian artist Justin Bieber can.

And now, it is clear why there was such strong interest in the newcomer, who ultimately took up Usher's offer. In just 12 weeks, Justin has landed two songs in the top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

Justin's debut "One Time" just moved up to #21, but his latest single, "One Less Lonely Girl," enters the chart this week at #16.

Justin's appeal is undeniable. The teen girls scream for him like he was a JoBro. He can play guitar, and has a nice, sharp, pure singing voice that at times makes you think of a young Michael Jackson. .

Three years ago Justin entered the Stratford Star singing competition in his hometown of Stratford, Canada. He wanted to show his performances to his family members who were not able to attend. So he uploaded the videos to YouTube.

Even though Justin took second place in the competition, he gained even more notoriety from his viral video clips. Within seven months he was contacted by Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive for Jermaine Dupri's So So Def..

Braun, who also signed Asher Roth, flew Justin to Atlanta. On Justin's first day in Atlanta, he met Usher. But he didn't capture Usher's attention until the pop star saw Justin's online videos..

"A week later Usher flew me back to Atlanta," Justin explained. "I sang for him and his people, and he really wanted to sign me then and there but I still had a meeting with Justin Timberlake who also wanted to sign me."

Usher had the support of Island Records head L.A. Reid, so Justin's team decided to join the Island roster that includes the likes of Kanye West, Rihanna, and Mariah Carey..

Justin's first single, "One Time," was written and produced by Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, whose credits include Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).".

His album, "My World," is due out on November 17.
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British singer Leona Lewis 'punched' at book signing

LONDON (AFP) – British singer Leona Lewis was punched in the head during a book signing in London on Wednesday, her spokesman said.

Lewis, 24, had been signing copies of her autobiography for around 90 minutes at a book store in the upmarket Piccadilly district of London when "a guy came up and punched her to the side of the head," the spokesman said.

The three-time Grammy Award nominee suffered bruising to the side of her head and was "understandably badly shaken."

The spokesman said he did not hear the man say anything to Lewis during the "unprovoked" incident and security officers swiftly intervened.

A police spokesman said a man had been arrested in connection with the alleged assault.

Lewis was catapulted to fame by winning a TV talent show in 2006. In 2008, she became the first British woman to top the US charts for more than 20 years with her single "Bleeding Love".

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'Godfather' singer Al Martino dies in Pa. at 82

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. – Singer Al Martino, who played the Frank Sinatra-type role of Johnny Fontane in "The Godfather," died Tuesday afternoon at his childhood home. He was 82.

Publicist Sandy Friedman, of the Rogers & Cowan public relations firm, confirmed Martino's death in the Philadelphia suburb of Springfield, in Delaware County, but didn't cite a cause.

Starting in 1952, Martino was known for hit songs including "Here in My Heart," "Spanish Eyes," "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Volare."

Besides acting in the Marlon Brando classic "The Godfather," Martino sang "I Have But One Heart (O Marenariello)" in the 1972 film. His Fontane character is a singer and occasional actor and is the godson of Brando's Mafia boss character, Don Vito Corleone.

Martino was born in South Philadelphia as Alfred Cini and was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, Calif.

Philadelphia radio and television personality Jerry Blavat dined with Martino and his wife on Monday night. Blavat told the Philadelphia Daily News that Martino appeared to be in fine shape and that he was shocked when he learned of the singer's death.

"He was the last of the show business legends," said Blavat, who has played Martino's songs on the radio for years. "There's nobody else. The last of the performers. A magnificent voice."
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UPDATE 2-"New" Michael Jackson single a "mistake"

Hours after the pop singer's first posthumous single "This Is It" was released amid great hype on Monday, it emerged that the tune had been recorded 18 years ago by an obscure Puerto Rican singer.

Moreover the co-author of that tune, "My Way" songwriter Paul Anka, threatened to sue Jackson's estate for proper credit and his share of royalties.

The administrators of the estate quickly acknowledged Anka's claims and granted him 50 percent of the copyright, a potentially massive payday for the 68-year-old Canadian crooner. And an equally massive loss for the estate.

"They realize it's a mistake, they realize it's my song, they realize it's my production of his vocal in my studio and I am getting 50 percent of the whole project, actually, which is fair," Anka said in a video posted on the TMZ gossip Web site.

The song dates back to 1983, when it was known as "I Never Heard" -- a co-write between Jackson and Anka -- and intended for inclusion on an Anka album. But the pair fell out, Jackson took the master tapes and Anka got them back.

The song was eventually released in 1991 after Anka placed it with an unknown Latin singer named Sa-Fire.

Both "I Never Heard" and "This Is It" share the same vocal and piano line, although the latter track boasts new overdubs from Jackson's brothers.

But "This Is It" had been promoted as a new Jackson recording, one of a multitude of unreleased recordings likely to come out in the next few years.

It was released online around the world nearly four months after the singer died in Los Angeles of a prescription drug overdose at the age of 50.

Fans will be able to buy it when a two-disc album hits the shelves in two weeks to coincide with the Oct. 28 worldwide release of the Jackson rehearsal-footage movie "This is It."


"The song was picked because the lyrics were appropriate because of the name Michael gave his tour," said a spokesman for Jackson's estate. "We are thrilled to present this song in Michael's voice for the first time, and that Michael's fans have responded in unprecedented numbers. The song was co-written by the legendary Paul Anka."
A spokeswoman for Sony Music declined to comment. One of the estate's two administrators, John McClain, worked with Jackson at the Sony Corp unit. The other executor is music attorney John Branca.

McClain, who is also a co-producer of the "This is It" album, had said in a statement earlier on Monday that the song "only defines, once again, what the world already knows -- that Michael is one of God's greatest gifts."

Some critics begged to differ. Jon Pareles, the chief pop critic of The New York Times, said in a blog it "won't be on anyone's list of best Michael Jackson songs, even if it's a long list" and hoped there was something better in the Michael Jackson vaults of album outtakes.

The "This Is It" movie is based on rehearsal video shot in Los Angeles in the weeks before Jackson's planned 50 comeback concerts in London. It was the subject of a $60 million deal between Jackson's estate and closely held concert promoter AEG Live and Sony's Sony Pictures unit.

Sales of Jackson's records spiked after his death and the release of the movie and album will add to the value of the "Thriller" singer's estate, estimated at around $400 million.

Sony Music said the first disc of the album will feature some of Jackson's greatest hits plus two versions of the "new" single.

The second disc will include unreleased versions of some of the singer's classic tracks and a spoken word poem entitled "Planet Earth" performed by Jackson and never heard before.
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Post-mortem due on Boyzone's Stephen Gately

A post-mortem examination will be carried out this week on the body of singer Stephen Gately, who died Saturday while vacationing on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Gately, a member of the Irish band Boyzone, was on the island with his partner, Andrew Cowles, the band's Web site said.

Relatives of the 33-year-old singer and actor insisted his death was a "tragic accident" and that no foul play was involved, Britain's Press Association reported Monday.

Spanish police said there were "no signs of suspicious circumstances" after Gately was found dead at his home in the resort of Port Andratx on Saturday afternoon, PA added.

Monday is a Spanish public holiday, so the examination of Gately is expected to take place Tuesday.

In a statement on the Boyzone Web site, Gately's fellow bandmates, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch said: "We are completely devastated by the loss of our friend and brother, Stephen. We have shared such wonderful times together over the years and were all looking forward to sharing many more.

"Stephen was a beautiful person in both body and spirit. He lit up our lives and those of the many friends he had all over the world. Our love and sympathy go out to Andrew and Stephen's family. We love you and will miss you forever, 'Steo'."

The four were reported to have flown out to the Mediterranean island following the news.

Boyzone made history in the United Kingdom with 16 consecutive Top Five hits, according to Ticketmaster's Web site.

It's one of Ireland's best-selling bands, with six No. 1 singles in the United Kingdom, and four No. 1 albums, Ticketmaster said.

The group, which separated in 2000 to pursue solo projects, reunited in 2008.

Its greatest hits album -- "Back Again ... No Matter What" -- was released last year.

Gately joined the band in 1993 after answering an audition ad. "A lot of people didn't think we would make it out of Ireland back then," he said previously on the group's Web site.

"We were overwhelmed when Boyzone began to take off, it was incredible."
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New Michael Jackson single debuts online

LONDON – Michael Jackson returned to the airwaves Monday with a new song — the first from an upcoming musical documentary featuring the troubled superstar.

Watch Michael Jackson This is It Movie - Funny bloopers R us

It is the first new material by Jackson to be released since his sudden death in Los Angeles on June 25.

Jackson sounded confident and almost playful on "This is It," which features his trademark breathy vocal style, perfected over the years since he was a child sensation with the Jackson Five.

He is backed by lush vocals from his brothers, giving the recording a nostalgic, familiar feel.

Michael Jackson: This Is It New Footage - The best home videos are here
It is a mid-tempo number with orchestral backing that is played during the closing sequences of the documentary, which opens Oct. 28 for a limited two-week run. It features rehearsal footage shot shortly before Jackson's death.

"This is it," goes one verse on the new song. "Here I stand. The light of the world. I feel grand."

The song is available on Jackson's official Web site and will also be sent to radio outlets.

It will also be part of the two-disc CD set that will accompany the movie in what is expected to be a worldwide marketing blitz to capitalize on the surge of emotion that followed the singer's death.

La Toya Says Michael Jackson Was Controlled by People - For more of the funniest videos, click here
The documentary, also called "This is It," features footage of Jackson rehearsing for his planned London concerts, which were to mark his return to the stage after a lengthy absence caused in part by a series of legal and personal problems.

The singer was deeply in debt and had found his popularity dimmed by repeated charges of child molestation.

Jackson's death at age 50 is still being investigated.

The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled it was caused by acute intoxication by the anesthetic propofol, with other sedatives a contributing factor. The coroner found the powerful anesthetic was administered without any medical need and that recommended resuscitation equipment was missing.
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Lopez changes name

Jennifer Lopez is back in the spotlight — but doesn't want to be called J.Lo anymore.
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Lady Gaga show off

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AP Exclusive: Autopsy shocker: Jackson was healthy

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson's arms were covered with punctures, his face and neck were scarred and he had tattooed eyebrows and lips, but he wasn't the sickly skeleton of a man portrayed by tabloids, according to his autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press.

In fact, the Los Angeles County coroner's report shows Jackson was a fairly healthy 50-year-old before he died of an overdose. His 136 pounds were in the acceptable range for a 5-foot-9 man. His heart was strong with no sign of plaque buildup. And his kidneys and most other major organs were normal.

Still, Jackson had health issues: arthritis in the lower spine and some fingers, and mild plaque buildup in his leg arteries. Most serious was his lungs, which the autopsy report said were chronically inflamed and had reduced capacity that might have left him short of breath.

However, according to the document, the lung condition was not serious enough to be a direct or contributing cause of death.

"His overall health was fine," said Dr. Zeev Kain, chairman of the anesthesiology department at the University of California, Irvine, who reviewed a copy of the autopsy report for the AP. "The results are within normal limits."

Kain was not involved in the autopsy. The full autopsy report has not been released publicly, but the AP obtained a copy.

Jackson died at his rented Los Angeles mansion June 25 after his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, administered the anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac to sleep, court documents state. Propofol, normally a surgical anesthetic used in operating rooms, acts as a respiratory depressant and requires constant monitoring,

Murray told police he left the room to use the bathroom and phone records show he also made calls for 47 minutes around the time Jackson encountered problems. When Murray realized Jackson was unresponsive, he began frantic efforts to revive him, but Jackson never regained consciousness and was declared dead at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center.

The coroner's office announced last month that Jackson's death was a homicide caused by "acute propofol intoxication," with the other sedatives listed as a contributing factor. They said the standard of care for administering propofol was not met and the recommended equipment for patient monitoring, precision dosing and resuscitation was missing.

Murray is the target of what Los Angeles police term a manslaughter investigation. The decision on criminal charges will come from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Murray has been interviewed twice by police.

Except for a brief video posted to YouTube, Murray has not spoken publicly since Jackson's death. In the video, he said: "I told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail." Murray's attorney, Edward Chernoff, previously has said nothing Murray gave Jackson "should have" killed him.

Jackson was declared dead a little more than two hours after paramedics were called. Evidence of the desperate struggle to save the star were evident on his body. He had chest bruising and cracked ribs from CPR, and a mechanical device known as a balloon pump was inserted into his heart to try to restart it, according to the autopsy report.

Jackson's body was taken by helicopter to the coroner's office where the following morning Chief Medical Examiner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran and Dr. Christopher Rogers carried out an extensive review and ordered a toxicology screening to look for drugs in his system.

Aside from propofol and the sedatives, the only substances found in his system were the local anesthetic, Lidocaine, sometimes used to numb injection sites and ephedrine, a commonly used resuscitation stimulant.

No other drugs — legal or otherwise — were detected, nor was any alcohol.

Kain said he was surprised that three other sedatives, known as benzodiazepines, were present with propofol. Anesthesiologists sometimes mix one "benzo" with propofol to help put a patient under, but using three increases the danger for the patient.

"People don't mix the benzodiazepines together because they interact with each other and increase the risk of respiratory arrest," Kain said, adding it was likely Jackson first stopped breathing and then suffered cardiac arrest.

The autopsy findings cut off a potential defense for Murray — that Jackson hid serious pre-existing conditions that increased the risk of death from the drugs he willingly took. Even if he did hide a condition such as his weakened lungs, a prosecutor could argue Murray should have detected the condition before administering drugs, said Michael Brennan, a clinical law professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in criminal defense.

"A doctor has some obligation to know what his patient's physical condition is," Brennan said. "The doctor is going to try to substantiate whatever the patient told him ... and not simply rely on a patient's descriptions of his physical condition."

At the time of his death Jackson was preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London. Rehearsals were rigorous and there were questions about whether Jackson would be physically able to hold up.

But aside from his lungs, the autopsy report did not identify any serious physical problems that might have limited Jackson's ability to perform. It also provided details about his physical state from head to toes.

He had a 3/4-inch scar behind his left ear and another apparent scar behind his right ear. He had a scar beside each of his nostrils and another, 4-inch scar on his right shoulder. He had a pair of additional scars about 3-inches long at the base of his neck and smaller scars on his arms and wrist. He also had a small scar near his navel and a 2-inch scar on the right-hand side of his abdomen.

Kain said most of the scars appeared to be from plastic surgery though others, like a scar on the knee, could have been from a medical procedure.

The medical examiner found numerous punctures on both arms and on a knee and ankle. The leg punctures could have been from intravenous therapies not described in the autopsy report, Kain said.

Jackson had several tattoos, all them cosmetic, including dark tattoos in the areas of both eyebrows and under his eyes, and a pink tattoo around his lips.

He was going bald at the front of his head, with his remaining hair described as short and tightly curled. The bald part of his scalp was darkened with what appeared to be a tattoo stretching across the top of his head from ear to ear.

The coroner found depigmentation of his skin around his chest, abdomen, face and arms.

The coroner also found Jackson was actively producing sperm.

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Shakira To Give 'Ugly Betty' Some S.O.S.

Colombian superstar will guest-star in an upcoming episode in the Bahamas.
"Ugly Betty" is about to get a lot more beautiful. Shakira will play herself in an upcoming episode of the ABC comedy.

"We're huge fans of Shakira," show creator Silvio Horta told People, adding that the cameo springs from a moment in the show's first season. "We had a very memorable moment in the third episode where Betty has a makeover that goes wrong and she struts down the street to 'Hips Don't Lie.' "

Horta said the Colombian superstar was perfect for the show about a young Latina woman, Betty (America Ferrera), trying to make it in the cutthroat world of fashion magazines. "We've mentioned her several times over the course of the series and have always wanted to work with her. She's an enormous Latina icon, as is Betty, and we thought it was a perfect fit."

In the episode titled, "The Bahamas Triangle," Shakira helps fix a "Mode" fashion shoot that got off track on location in the Bahamas (where, incidentally, the singer recorded her upcoming album, She Wolf).

Shakira is only one of the big names stopping by "Ugly Betty" this season. Supermodel Christie Brinkley will join the show as Penelope Graybridge, an editor at a competing magazine, and according to E! Online, Kristen Johnston will be guest starring in the role originally meant for Paula Abdul.
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