For The Record: Quick News On Hilary Duff, Ashanti, ODB, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Fantasia, Chingy & More

Hilary having fun with Harvard classes, Ashanti TV movie finally gets an air date, Maroon 5 play for a tennis ace.

Hilary Duff isn't letting the criticism from her fellow Harvard (not Extension) students dampen her enthusiasm for her studies — she's having fun balancing cramming for tests with promoting her career, according to the most recent diary post on her Web site. "Today me and [older sister] Haylie have to watch a lecture and take notes for our test next week," she enthused Thursday. That test comes smack in the middle of her guest-host stint on ABC's "The View" next week, when she fills in for Elisabeth Hasselbeck during her maternity leave. The following week, Duff wrote, she's heading to Caracas, Venezuela, for a performance. ...

Ashanti's been talking up her role as Dorothy in the upcoming made-for-television movie "The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz" for so long, the only question remaining was, when would it air? ABC has just announced that it will televise the special — also starring Queen Latifah and Miss Piggy — on May 20 at 8 p.m. ET. ... Damon Dash's new Damon Dash Music Group is staging a contest in conjunction with the release of Ol' Dirty Bastard's upcoming posthumous album in which fans will have a chance to remix the first single, "Dirty Dirty." The winner's version, as determined by RZA, DJ Clark Kent and Dash, will appear as the B-side to the official single. Details on how to enter are available at dashmusicgroup.com. ...

Neil Young remains hospitalized after being treated for a brain aneurysm earlier this week, the The Associated Press reports. Young was treated Tuesday in New York and is expected to remain hospitalized for a few more days, his spokesperson told the wire service. Young had been scheduled to perform at Sunday's Juno Awards in Canada. His spokesperson said the aneurysm was discovered after the 59-year-old rocker's vision became blurry last month. ...

Michael Jackson's defense team moved for a mistrial on Friday, since a witness for the prosecution admitted to violating a gag order by discussing his story with another witness prior to testifying. Psychiatrist Dr. Stan Katz — who was the first to interview the accuser about the alleged molestation — said on Thursday that he'd had a conversation with Larry Feldman, the accuser's family attorney. Judge Rodney Melville told the Jackson defense team to put the motion in writing and give it to him by Monday. The prosecution will have until Tuesday to respond. When Feldman took the stand on Friday, he testified that the family never asked him to file a lawsuit against the singer, though he acknowledged that the boy — who is now 15 — has until he turns 20 to file a civil suit. ...

Dave Meyers, the veteran director best known for his Missy Elliott videos, recently helmed the clip for the Dave Matthews Band's new single, "American Baby." The song, written just after the election last fall, hit radio this week. ... Jason Nevins has remixed Kelly Clarkson's hit single "Since U Been Gone." The track is available on iTunes and other Web sites. ... Chingy recently shot a guest appearance on the UPN sitcom "One on One." The episode will air in May. ...

New Found Glory love to pick cheesy pop songs as covers, but who knew they actually listen to the originals in their free time? Journey's "Faithfully," Cyndi Lauper's "Money Changes Everything" and Phil Collins' "Can't Stop Loving You" are just three of the 12 songs that they're loading into an iPod — along with their own tunes — that fans can win online. The iPod contest will run on peta2.com through April 28, and the winner will also get autographed CDs and T-shirts from the band. ... Maria Sharapova — the first Russian woman to win the Wimbledon singles title — is celebrating not only her victory but her birthday in style. Maroon 5 will perform at the tennis ace's "small" party in New York on April 9, which she's throwing for 250 of her closest friends. ...

Scottish alterna-rockers Snow Patrol have replaced bassist Mark McClelland, whom they booted from the band last month. Paul Wilson, who left the band Terra Diablo back in mid-February for reasons that were never made public, has taken McClelland's place, according to an Interscope Records spokesperson. ... The dates for the inaugural Sounds of the Underground festival have been announced. The summer tour, featuring Opeth, Lamb of God, Clutch, Poison the Well and others will kick off on June 25 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and make stops in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Montreal before wrapping up in Orlando, Florida, on July 14. The trek's also scheduled to make some "blacktop" appearances: on July 2 at Sayreville, New Jersey's Starland Ballroom parking lot, and on July 8 in the lot of Chicago's Tweeter Center. ...

Alicia Keys, Fantasia and Mo'Nique are among the women gracing the cover of the May issue of Essence magazine, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. The cover girls are part of a celebration of the "35 Most Remarkable Women in the World," which also includes Beyoncé, India.Arie and Queen Latifah. During the cover shoot, Keys said, "We were all kind of looking at each other and pinching ourselves." (Click here to see pictures from the photo shoot.)... Sheryl Crow, who happens to be the vice president of the Recording Artists' Coalition, is speaking out on behalf of her fellow artists about downloading in light of the U.S. Supreme Court Grokster case. In a statement, she says illegal downloading via such services as Grokster is unfair to the "ordinary people who work hard to support themselves." It's not the stars who will be hurt by Grokster, she says, but the singers, arrangers, engineers, producers and songwriters, and other folk who work in the music business. "If nobody pays for [a download], how do they get paid? How about the people who create the CD and DVD artwork and photography? What about the people who work in the plants that manufacture the CDs and DVDs?" She calls it a "question of balancing the rights of creators with current technology," and suggests incorporating filters to prevent illegal downloading of copyrighted material. ...

03.31.2005

Notorious B.I.G.'s mother, Voletta Wallace, is making progress with her lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department for the wrongful death of her son. Though it was initially supposed to go to trial this April, the case was continued because of the unavailability of a key witness, and is now scheduled to go to trial on June 14. Meanwhile, Wallace has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. ...

Ashlee Simpson — who worked with Candie's last fall to encourage people to vote — is teaming up with the shoe company once again for a different cause: to raise awareness about teen pregnancy. Simpson will be co-headlining "The Event to Prevent," a concert the Candie's Foundation is holding May 3 at New York's Gotham Hall. The event will also feature Jewel and will honor Katie Couric and Jane Fonda. ... Linkin Park's Chester Bennington is going solo — at least for one show. On May 21 he'll headline the 10-year-anniversary celebration of Tempe, Arizona's Club Tattoo, a venue founded by his former Grey Daze bandmate Sean Dowdell. Members of Orgy, T.S.O.L. and others will also perform, and a silent auction benefiting the Tsunami Victims Relief Fund will be held that night as well. ...

Alicia Keys has settled the lawsuit filed last year by her former literary agent Noah Lukeman when she signed a deal with one book publisher (Bantam) and then, having second thoughts, teamed up with a second agent for a different deal elsewhere (Putnam). Lukeman's lawyer, who, due to a non-disclosure agreement, couldn't provide details, did confirm that the dispute has been settled. ... Meanwhile, Keys is slated to be honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame with the Starlight Award, a prize given to gifted young songwriters making a significant impact in the music industry, it was announced Wednesday. Keys will be the second Starlight Award recipient after Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, who was given the inaugural award last year. Inductees for the 2005 Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony — which takes place June 9 in New York — include Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, David Porter and Bill Withers. ...

Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas recently remixed Bob Marley's "Africa Unite." Not only was Will asked by Marley's widow, Rita, to remix the song, she also sang on the record along with Will and Marley's background singers, the I-Threes. The track will be released Friday on the Internet. Portions of the proceeds from the downloads of the song will be split between the Bob Marley Foundation, the Rita Marley Foundation and the Will.I.Am Foundation. ... Pam Anderson is the latest face for M.A.C.'s Viva Glam campaign, which raises awareness and money for people living with HIV/AIDS via the sales of its lipstick and lipglass line. "I feel privileged and empowered to help raise funds and awareness of the importance of getting tested," Anderson said in a statement Wednesday. "After being diagnosed with Hepatitis C, I knew the importance of knowing your status. Only then can you make informed and wise decisions for your health and life." Past Viva Glam faces include Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott. ...

Former Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has recruited the master of mope, the Cure's Robert Smith, to sing vocals on his upcoming solo album, TheFutureEmbrace. Smith lends his voice to Corgan's cover of The Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." TheFutureEmbrace is due in stores on June 21. ... Björk is making an army of her most popular song, "Army of Me" — she's releasing a collection of cover versions and remixes of the track, from country to electro-clash to extreme metal, with all the proceeds going to UNICEF. Army of Me — the album — previously slated for February, is now due out May 31. ...