For The Record: Quick News On 'American Idol' And President Bush, Ruben Studdard, M.O.P., The Darkness & More

The final eight "American Idol" contestants will croon songs from movies for guest judge Quentin Tarantino on Tuesday night, but viewers will not see the show live (or a few hours later on the West Coast) as usual. FOX will instead broadcast President Bush's news conference and air the "American Idol" performance and elimination shows Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Tarantino, a self-described "super fan" of the show, has said he will not be as kind to the singers as past guest judges. ...

In other "American Idol" news, season-one finalist RJ Helton has signed a management deal with Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé's father and manager. Helton will return to "American Idol" Thursday to perform "Even If," the first single from his debut album, Real Life, which recently bowed at #14 on Billboard's Christian Albums chart. Beyoncé's dad will work to promote Helton to a mainstream audience. ... Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers pulled over a tour bus transporting members of Ruben Studdard's crew Monday near Cleveland and arrested three men for possession of marijuana. Studdard, who was not on the bus, found out later and dealt with the issue, which he said will not happen again, according to his spokesperson. Troopers pulled over the bus for failing to slow down for a patrol vehicle in pursuit and had proper cause to search the vehicle after a K-9 unit smelled the drugs. ...

The mug shots of 50 Cent, DMX and the White Stripes' Jack White have been added to a revised edition of Starz Behind Barz (starzbehindbarz.com) playing cards. 50's 1994 arrest for heroin and crack possession, DMX's bust for driving without a license, and White's collar for pummeling the Von Bondies' Jason Stollsteimer are each documented on the back of a playing card. And like the older version, the new set features Michael Jackson's doe-eyed mug on the back of the joker. ... M.O.P., whose Ghetto Warfare is due in the summer, will launch the two-month Weapons of Mic Destruction Tour next month. Dates are not yet confirmed. Pharoahe Monch and Scratch, formerly of the Roots, will open on the outing. ...

Overall music sales in the U.S. — mostly CDs, but also legal downloads and other formats — were up 9.1 percent in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2003, according to SoundScan. Despite ongoing digital piracy, the figures are the music industry's best first-quarter results in years. ... Tori Amos will release a live concert DVD, "Welcome to Sunny Florida," on May 18. The show, recorded in September at Sound Advice Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida, also includes a six-song bonus CD of previously unreleased songs, titled Scarlet's Hidden Treasures. ...

The Darkness will participate in a U.K. soccer tournament for charity. Singer Justin Hawkins and the gang will get their kicks May 9 in Liverpool's Goodison Park. Proceeds from the match will benefit the Prince's Trust and Give a Child a Chance. ... Tegan and Sara are putting the finishing touches on their as-yet-untitled third full-length album, due in August. Former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp guests on several songs. ...

04.12.2004

Want to check into Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel? Soon you can, when the real Onyx Hotel opens May 17 in Boston, with a Britney Spears suite to open in June that will be designed by the singer and her mother. As the hotel itself is still under construction, the room isn't exactly finished yet, but a rep for the hotel said that the room's decor will reflect Spears' preferences, down to the style of furniture and carpeting, and will also contain memorabilia from the pop princess' career. A portion of the room fee will go to the Britney Spears Foundation. ...

Both Madonna and Christina Aguilera are offering opportunities to get up close and personal with them on their concert tours. Aguilera is auctioning off a charity ticket package where the highest bidder would get two front-row seats and meet-and-greet passes, with proceeds benefiting a family crisis center in Los Angeles. Madonna's VIP package offers premium seats in the first 25 rows, VIP laminates and a VIP entrance to the concert, but no charity is designated just yet. Both VIP packages are available via Stubhub.com. ... Don't look to get any Madonna tickets for a Friday night, though. That's because the singer, who was born Catholic, is taking her Kabbalah studies very seriously and is now observing the Sabbath on Friday evenings — the Jewish day of rest — and has structured her tour accordingly. ...

C-Murder won a new murder trial last week, but he's not a free man. The judge in the case denied a request to release him on bond Monday because he also faces charges involving a 2001 altercation in which he was booked for attempted first-degree murder and a weapons charge after allegedly trying to shoot the owner of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, club. The rapper's defense lawyer argued that prosecutors never pursued those charges, but bail was denied anyway. C-Murder also faces a charge of battery on a prison guard and has a June 14 court date on that charge. ...

Thanks to the persuasive power of Morrissey, the New York Dolls are reuniting for London's Meltdown festival, for which the ex-Smiths frontman serves as artistic director. Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin will fill the slot left vacant by Johnny Thunders, who died of a drug overdose in 1991, and Libertines drummer Gary Powell will do the same for the late Jerry Nolan. Meltdown 2004 runs from June 11-27 at London's Royal Festival Hall. ... The parents of Grammy-winning music satirist "Weird Al" Yankovic were found dead in their San Diego-area home Friday, apparently of carbon-monoxide poisoning. Yankovic performed in Mankato, Minnesota, on Saturday night and said he will finish out his current tour, which runs two more dates, and then return home. ...

A lawsuit against Whitney Houston by her own father has been thrown out, according to a New Jersey Superior Court clerk. John Houston, who died in February 2003 at the age of 82, was suing his daughter for $100 million for breach of contract, claiming that his company acted as her management team but was never paid. ... Pink, Moby, Ice-T and Flea are among the celebs speaking out in The Advocate's next issue about gay marriage. Pink, who's on the cover, tells the magazine, "If you're a celebrity and you want to marry your sweetheart for 55 hours, go right ahead. If you're J. Lo and you want to marry 18 people for six days each, go right on ahead! But if you want to marry your soul mate and make a life of it — and you just so happen to be the same sex — then no, how dare you! We'd rather you just buy gasoline and support our war and continue to consume and fear in our country so we can make money off you. But do us a favor: Don't hold hands in public." The issue hits newsstands this week. ...

Months after releasing the Jay-Z a cappellas for The Black Album as a promotional item, only to set off a flurry of bootleg remix albums like Danger Mouse's The Grey Album, Def Jam will officially release the vocals-only version of Jay's swan song for the masses. The Black Album - Acapellas will hit stores on May 11 so that any aspiring producer can put their beats to Jay's voice. ... Rhino will issue De La Soul Live at Tramps NYC 1996, a live disc featuring one of the group's memorable shows just prior to the release of their album Stakes Is High, on May 25. A young Mos Def, Common and fellow Native Tongues posse members the Jungle Brothers made cameos at the performance. ...

Vince Neil was cleared for one battery case last week — after completing 100 hours of community service — and now he's pleading no contest to another. Accused of attacking a prostitute, the Mötley Crüe singer appeared in Dayton Justice Court in Nevada on Thursday to enter his plea. He was fined $1,000 (plus court costs of $132) and ordered to complete anger-management classes within 60 days. ... Elvis Costello is planning to release two albums simultaneously this fall. The first, with his band the Imposters, is a rock album being recorded in Oxford, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee; the other LP was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. ... Following a postponed spring tour, due to frontwoman Siouxsie's sinus infection, Siouxsie & the Banshees' fall tour is set to begin September 2 in Chicago and wrap up September 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia. ...