For The Record: Quick News On Jessica Simpson And Donald Trump, Beyonce, Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Prince & More

Jessica Simpson will perform on next week’s season finale of “The Apprentice,” as one of the final tasks for the show’s contenders is to organize and promote her benefit concert at the Taj Mahal. Proceeds go to the nonprofit medical-services organization Operation Smile, which provides reconstructive facial surgery for children. “Nick and I have gotten a lot of attention for doing a ‘reality’ show on television, but the ability to give a child his or her smile back is the kind of reality that really deserves attention,” Simpson said in a statement. The finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. …

PETA is asking glamour queen Beyoncé to change her tune when it comes to her wardrobe. In an open letter to the singer, which will appear as a full-page ad in Monday’s Billboard magazine, the animal-rights activist group describes how many dogs and cats are accidentally killed in the fur trade, with an accompanying picture of a dead dog caught in the jaws of a trap. “Dear Beyoncé,” the letter reads, “won’t you do the decent, humane thing and stop wearing fur?” … The audience for the Ladies First Tour in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday got a surprise when Jay-Z joined Beyoncé onstage to perform their single, “Crazy in Love.” The next day, Jay was seen rooting for the New York Yankees at the team’s home opener in the Bronx. …

Call it “The Passion of the Ice.” Kanye West is hooking up with Jacob the Jeweler to create a new line of Jesus-themed, diamond-encrusted chains and rings. Meanwhile, earlier this week, Kanye shot a video for the song “Jesus Walks.” … He’s lived in Queens, New York, for more than the required five years. He writes in English. And he’s been known to rock some rhymes. So Joseph “Run” Simmons is openly campaigning to be the poet laureate of his home borough. For his application, the Run-DMC rapper included lyrics to his group’s hit “Christmas in Hollis.” A decision by the borough is expected by summer. …

A college student is suing Prince and his bodyguard, claiming he was assaulted after snapping the Purple One’s photo at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in December. Anthony Fitzgerald of Edina, Minnesota, is accusing the superstar of assault and battery, loss of camera, and emotional distress. … The gag order in effect for the Michael Jackson child-molestation case remains in dispute, as a lawyer representing the media has asked an appeals court to allow those involved to speak publicly. At the last hearing, Judge Rodney Melville modified the order and said that if attorneys on either side wished to respond to reports in the media, they could submit written statements to the court for review, and when permitted, might be able to release limited statements. A preliminary hearing date is expected to be set in the case on April 30. …

Madonna is slated to play a concert at Slane Castle in Ireland on August 29, but apparently the fact that the show falls on a Sunday is not sitting well with the locals, Reuters reports. Joe Deegan, Slane’s parish priest, said the decision to play on the Lord’s Day was insensitive given that 90 percent of the Irish population is Roman Catholic. The castle’s owner countered that that was the only date feasible for the performance. The last time Slane Castle hosted a major concert on a Sunday (Bob Dylan in 1984), riots broke out. … Organizers of the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal, have filled the headlining slot left vacant by the departure of Guns N’ Roses with the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl and company will play May 30. …

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the major music labels are looking for ways to increase the prices of legitimate digital-download services, from 99 cents per song up to $1.49 or even $2.49 per song. WSJ also found that despite being freed of manufacturing and distribution costs, albums such as those recently released by N.E.R.D., Bob Dylan and Shakira actually cost more to download ($14.99 at iTunes) than to buy as a CD in stores ($13.49 at Amazon.com). … New Found Glory will play a handful of dates as a warm-up to the Vans Warped Tour. The band’s five-show string of dates begin May 23 in Dewey Beach, Delaware, and end May 29 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. …

Mandy Moore and Michael Stipe have recorded a cover of the Beach Boys‘ “God Only Knows” for the soundtrack to her upcoming movie “Saved!” The R.E.M. singer co-produced the comedy, which co-stars Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin. … Gina Gershon rocks — and she’s got a show on IFC to prove it. “Rocked With Gina Gershon” documents her recent tour with backing band Girls Against Boys to promote her independent film “Prey for Rock & Roll,” in which she sings and plays guitar in her role as a struggling musician. The six-part series will begin airing Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET. … Eminem‘s ex-wife, Kim Mathers, failed to return to a court-ordered drug treatment program in Michigan, so a warrant for her arrest was issued on Wednesday by a Macomb County judge. It’s the second time Mathers has dropped out of the mandated program. …

04.08.2004

As his lawyer indicated on Tuesday, Roc-A-Fella rapper Beanie Sigel pleaded guilty Thursday (April 8) to a gun charge stemming from an April 20, 2003, chase and arrest with Philadelphia police. Sentencing is set for July 8. Sigel’s attorney will ask the judge for a shorter sentence than the three years federal guidelines suggest, and to take into account his client’s community service, time served and drug rehab completion. …

The Eagles of Death Metal, a side project of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, canceled a show in Philadelphia Tuesday after Homme got into a bar fight following a show in New York the night before. Homme and girlfriend Brody Dalle of the Distillers hit an East Village watering hole after the Eagles played on Monday, and a fight with a bar patron broke out around 2:30 a.m. Homme was able to perform on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” on Wednesday. … Hilary Duff has been sneaking into the recording studio in between shooting movies. “I’ve recorded like three songs for the new album,” Duff said of her fall release. “I’m gonna be touring over the summer with Metamorphosis, the old album, but I’ll have some new songs mixed in there.” …

Remember the “Motorock” T-shirt Jessica Simpson wears in her video for “With You”? It’s now at the center of a lawsuit the singer’s filed against a promotional company she agreed to do endorsement work for. According to the contract included in the complaint, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court, Simpson agreed to perform at last October’s Grand Prix of Puerto Rico and to wear a logo’ed T-shirt promoting the concert on “TRL” when she premiered her video. She also agreed to use a portion of the clip with her in the “Motorock” T-shirt during the title squeeze at the end of “Newlyweds.” Though the concert was eventually canceled, Simpson claims she’s still owed her $140,000 fee. … If you’ve heard the song in the new Audi TV spot, a mash-up of David Bowie‘s classic “Rebel Rebel” and “Never Get Old” from his latest album, Reality, and think you could do better, now’s your chance. A contest beginning Thursday asks fans to create a new hybrid tune from one of Bowie’s classics and one off of Reality, using free mash-up software available at www.neverfollow.com. The grand-prize winner receives a 2004 Audi TT coupe, second place gets a set of Sony media software, and third prize is a Sony Vaio laptop. …

Vince Neil is in the clear for one battery case but about to go to trial for another. The Mötley Crüe singer faced misdemeanor battery charges after an incident two years ago outside a Hollywood nightclub, when he was accused of attacking a record producer, but those charges have now been dismissed since he completed more than 100 hours of community service. Neil remains accused of attacking a Nevada prostitute in July. He goes to trial on that misdemeanor battery charge April 22. … The Beatles may have the home-field advantage in the ongoing trademark battle between their record company, Apple Corp. Ltd., and Apple Computer. A high court judge in London denied the computer company’s motion to move the case to the U.S. but allowed it to appeal the decision. Apple Corp.’s suit claims the maker of iMacs and iPods violated a 1991 agreement when it entered the music business with the launch of the iTunes music store. …

Flaw‘s second album, Endangered Species, will come out May 4. The first single, “Recognize,” has been sent to rock radio. The disc was produced by David Bottrill, who has worked with Tool, Godsmack and Peter Gabriel. … Jurassic 5‘s DJ Nu-Mark is releasing a mix CD through Sequence Records on April 20. Hands On includes three new songs from the turntablist, including “Chali 2NA Comin’ Thru,” featuring his J5 rap cohort Chali 2na. …

Fans attending Morrissey‘s show at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, on May 22 had better not leave their seats for a hot dog; the show might be over before they find a vendor. The staunch vegetarian, who sang “Meat Is Murder” on the Smiths‘ second album of the same name in 1985, is asking there be no meat vendors in the arena when he performs. … Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein and sportswriter Andy Bernstein have founded Headcount, a nonprofit organization that will register voters at jam-band concerts. Headcount, which includes the Dead‘s Bob Weir and Moe‘s Al Schnier on its board of directors, also plans to stage benefit concerts and community events. …