For The Record: Quick News On Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Ciara, Paula Abdul, Coldplay, Mr. T & More

Fantasia loses 'Dreamgirls' role to Hudson; Abdul faces another suit; Mr. T barks out directions.

Although it was Fantasia who was strongly endorsed by "Dreamgirls" star Jamie Foxx after she auditioned for the role of Effie White in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of the musical, director Bill Condon actually cast a different third-season "American Idol" singer. Jennifer Hudson won the part and will co-star along with Foxx, Beyoncé and Eddie Murphy, according to DreamWorks. ...

On Tuesday, Destiny's Child performed their new single, "Stand Up for Love," at a Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House for World Children's Day, to help raise money for children's causes. Also present were Ciara, Randy Jackson, and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. "The kids we've met have no idea how much they've given us," Beyoncé Knowles said. "We wanted to record this song for them, in hopes that people would hear their voice through ours." ... Paula Abdul's facing another lawsuit, this time from a company claiming breach of contract. Pro-Stars alleges in a suit filed November 8 in San Diego that the "American Idol" judge granted the company exclusive use of the "Innergy by Paula Abdul" trademark for her jewelry line, and then went and negotiated other deals with third parties, including Sam's Club, despite the previous arrangement. ...

The rampant rumors aren't true, insists Michael Jackson's spokesperson. No, he has not purchased any property on Bahrain's Amwaj Islands. No, he has not put Neverland up for sale. And no, he didn't intentionally use a women's restroom in Dubai to reapply makeup. What actually happened was a translation mistake — since the sign was labeled in Arabic, Jackson "mistakenly entered" the ladies room in question, and "quickly exited" once he realized his error, at which point he was recognized, his rep said, requiring a police escort to get through the crowd. ... Meanwhile, Michael's brother Tito is hoping to get the crowds riled up once again when he performs November 23 in Universal City, California, to preview new music from an album simply called Tito, due in the spring. ...

The All-American Rejects and Eurythmics have been added to the list of performers for the American Music Awards, airing live Tuesday on ABC. Paris Hilton, Shakira, Jermaine Dupri, Kelly Rowland, Chris Brown, Ashanti, the Backstreet Boys, Travis Barker, Frankie J, Ginuwine, James Blunt, Mary Mary, Jeremy Piven, Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra have been added as presenters. ... The White Stripes, Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Nada Surf, Hot Hot Heat, the Bravery and Depeche Mode have all been tapped for the second evening of Los Angeles radio station KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas Concert, set for December 11 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City. The first evening, December 10, features previously announced acts Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down, Korn, Fall Out Boy and more. ...

As New Orleans continues to clean up from Hurricane Katrina, one of the city's long-running music festivals is headed west ... for a year, at least. The organizers of the 2006 Essence Music Festival announced this week that they will be temporarily relocating the event (July 1-3) to Houston's Reliant Park. A component of the festival will be devoted to helping Katrina victims, according to organizers. The acts for this year's shows have not yet been announced. ... Pretty soon Mr. T will be riding shotgun in your car. That's because T is one of three celebrities that have lent their voices to Navtones, an in-vehicle navigation system created by Los Angeles' Wanderlust Media. For just $10, customers can download driving directions — and threats — by T ("Pay attention to what I'm saying," he barks. "Mr. T gonna get you there in one piece!"), Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper. More celebrity voices are expected to be unveiled by the end of the year. For more information, check out Navtones.com. ...

Deftones bassist Chi Cheng, who released a spoken-word album in 2000 called The Bamboo Parachute, will read some of his work during a poetry reading on Friday as part of this year's Crossing Border Festival. The event will be held at the Theatre on the Spui in the Hague, Netherlands. ... Leonard Cohen just inked a deal for his first new book of poetry in 20 years. Called "Book of Longing," it's due for publication next fall. ... The bad news for Sony BMG continues. After initially defending its use of its XCP copy-restriction software on a number of new releases (Kasabian, Kings of Leon, Celine Dion), then pulling millions of discs by nearly 50 artists from shelves on Tuesday, computer-security experts are now saying the company may have unleashed an even bigger headache. According to Wired, it's possible that computers on more than 568,000 networks in 165 countries worldwide — including government and military sites — have been left open to potential hacker attacks because of the surreptitious software, though the number of vulnerable machines is likely much higher. ...

Ludacris released a statement through his record label on Wednesday (November 16) explaining why he wore a Confederate flag on his shirt during his performance of "Georgia" at Saturday's Vibe Awards. "The discussions that have been sparked after my performance ... is my exact reason for wearing [it]," he said. "This flag represents the oppression that we as African Americans have endured for years; this is a symbol of segregation and the racism that reigned not only throughout the South but throughout the entire United States. I wore it to represent where we came from, to remind people that Ray Charles' original 'Georgia' was written because of that racism."

11.15.2005

Bad news for all you Outkast fans out there: Despite promises from Big Boi himself that they'd drop a new album in December, it's just not going to happen. The ATL duo had originally planned on releasing Idlewild — the soundtrack to the film of the same name — on December 6, but apparently, they never checked with their label, LaFace Records. A spokesperson for LaFace said that not only has the album been pushed into 2006, but the "Idlewild" film has also been bumped. It was originally slated to hit theaters in early 2006, but now there is no release date at all. No reason was given for the delays. ...

The trial of Murder Inc. head honcho Irv Gotti and his brother Chris, who are facing charges of laundering drug money, has been pushed back a day. The Gottis' lawyers needed more time to prepare their arguments against former Inc. employee Donnell Nichols, who was slated to be the first witness to take the stand, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Opening arguments are now set to take place Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. ... Mariah Carey will be taking the stage Thanksgiving Day, belting out two songs during the halftime show at the NFL showdown between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons, The Associated Press reports. R&B singer Toni Braxton, meanwhile, will kick things off by singing the national anthem. ...

Korn have lined up two more gigs around the release of See You on the Other Side: at the Congress Theatre in Chicago on December 2 and at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts, on December 8. "It will be great to play some club dates and get close to the fans and feed off that energy," frontman Jonathan Davis said of the band's four shows next month. "We can't wait to play some of the music from the new record." The band is mapping out an extensive U.S. tour that's set to launch sometime in March. ... The Black Eyed Peas, Death Cab for Cutie and Crystal Method are among the acts scheduled for the sixth annual Giant Village New Year's Eve event on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. DJs John Digweed, Z-Trip, Junkie XL and others will be split among the event's six stages. ...

The Pixies' Frank Black, Matthew Sweet, Throwing Muses' Kristin Hersh and more have contributed covers of '80s movie soundtrack tunes for High School Reunion: A Tribute to Those Great '80s Films, which is planned for a December 1 release. Hersh takes on the Pixies' "Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf)," which appeared in "Pump Up the Volume"; Black offers his rendition of Iggy Pop's "Repo Man," from the film of the same name; and Sweet tackles Tom Petty's "American Girl," from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." ... On February 6 in Portland, Maine, ethereal Icelandic rockers Sigur Rós will launch a full-scale U.S. tour, finishing up on February 27 in Dallas. The jaunt is in support of the band's latest album, Takk, which hit stores in September. ...

Sevendust will release Greatest Hits (Chapter One) on December 27. The collection will feature "Black," "Angel's Son," "Enemy," two unreleased tracks, collaborations with Staind's Aaron Lewis (on the track "Follow") and the Deftones' Chino Moreno ("Bender"), as well as two covers — Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" and Alice Cooper's "School's Out." ... On December 6, New Order will release Singles, a collection of every A-side they've ever released. The two-disc set features 32 tracks, spanning the band's entire 25-year career, from "Ceremony" (their first post-Joy Division release) to songs from this year's Waiting for the Sirens' Call album, plus remixes by Franz Ferdinand producer Rich Costey and bombastic rockers the Secret Machines. ...

A pair of John Lennon solo discs, Sometime in New York City and Walls and Bridges, will be reissued on November 22 courtesy of Capitol Records. Sometime, one of the ex-Beatle's most politically charged albums, was shaved down from its original two-disc format to a single CD by Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono; two holiday tracks, "Listen, the Snow Is Falling" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," have been added. Walls and Bridges will include three new bonus clips, including a 1974 live performance of "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" recorded at New York's Madison Square Garden. ...