For The Record: Quick News On Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, T.I., Evanescence & More

Carey's Broadway Christmas dream coming true; Simpson moves up FHM list; Lindsay sings for 'Prairie.'

Mariah Carey‘s been dreaming of a Broadway Christmas since late 2004, when she originally announced plans for a holiday musical, and now she’s finally making progress with her plan. “I don’t want to mention anything definitive until things are signed,” she told MTV Radio, “but there’s a very big company that just signed on to develop the project with me.” Carey said the musical — which she’ll create, produce and star in — will incorporate music from her 1994 album, Merry Christmas, as well as new material. “It’s probably going to be a movie first,” she said. “I don’t want to say a television movie, because it’s not like a cheesy network movie, but then it’s going to be made for the Broadway production. So the [TV movie] will set the stage for the stage.” …

It was nothing but royalty Monday night in New York as a king, queen and prince came together for the premiere of “ATL.” T.I. (the King of the South), Queen Latifah and former Prince of Bel Air Will Smith (with Jada Pinkett) joined Jay-Z, Usher, DJ Drama, Tisha Campbell and Duane Martin at the Tribeca Theater. Latifah’s longtime friends and business partners Shakim Compere and Lance “Un” Rivera were also on hand. …

Jessica Simpson is moving up in the world — at least as far as FHM‘s annual list of 100 Sexiest Women is concerned. While Scarlett Johansson nabbed the top spot, Simpson catapulted from #16 on last year’s list to #4 this year. Other singers making the top half of the chart include Paris Hilton (#11), Lindsay Lohan (#14), Beyoncé (#18), Shakira (#20), Jennifer Lopez (#26; she was #1 in 2000 and 2001), Mariah Carey (#28), Mandy Moore (#31), Christina Aguilera (#37), Gwen Stefani (#40) and Kelly Clarkson (#50). Hilary Duff, the Black Eyed PeasFergie and Stefani were new entries this year, but Britney Spears, who was #1 in 2004, was nowhere to be found (Check out photos of FHM‘s Sexiest Women. ). … Since Lindsay Lohan‘s upcoming movie “A Prairie Home Companion” (in theaters June 9) focuses on a radio show, it’s only natural that the soundtrack would include some of the songs performed on said show. Out May 23, the soundtrack will feature performances from castmembers Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly and Lohan herself, who contributes “Frankie & Johnny.” …

Not every singer on “American Idol” is a pop-star hopeful or graduate of the performance competition, as recent appearances by Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow have proven. This week the show hopes to shake things up even further with belly-dancing Shakira, who will perform “Hips Don’t Lie” with Wyclef Jean on Wednesday night’s elimination episode. … And forgive us if this one sounds familiar, but Simon Cowell is at it again. After expanding his stranglehold on U.S. viewers with his “American Inventor” show earlier this month, the acerbic “Idol” judge is adding a third show to his empire: “America’s Got Talent.” Open auditions will begin next month for the NBC show, which will be open to performers of all ages and talents — from singers and dancers to jugglers and magicians, according to Reuters. The show will have a celebrity three-judge panel (it will not include Cowell) and the winner will take home a $1 million prize. …

Live singer Ed Kowalczyk has released a statement in support of “American Idol” contestant Chris Daughtry, who sang a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “I Walk the Line” last week with an arrangement similar to the version recorded by Live — but without giving the band credit. “We wish Chris the best of luck in the competition,” Kowalczyk said. “I thought he did a great job with the song. There’s no doubt he’s a talented performer and I hope he goes far.” Live, meanwhile, will hit the road beginning April 22 in Providence, Rhode Island, in support of their seventh studio album, Songs From Black Mountain, due May 9. … Travis Barker and DJ AM will take their experimental show to San Francisco April 7 and New York April 13 and 14. VIP packages for the shows are available at StubHub.com and will benefit the Race to Erase MS. … Chamillionaire and Lil’ Flip are teaming for the Texas Boyz Tour, which kicks off March 30 in San Diego and wraps up early this summer. Chamillionaire has recorded several remixes of his new single, “Ridin’,” featuring rappers ranging from the Game to Bun B to Fabolous. …

In a post on Evanescence‘s official message board Sunday, singer Amy Lee wrote that she and new guitarist Terry Balsamo were in the studio finishing mixes on the group’s upcoming album. “We’ll be done mixing [the new album] next week! I can hardly believe it, we’ve been working on this album for so long,” Lee wrote. “The stuff sounds so good. … Wow, what a trip this has been.” The singer said Balsamo is “doing really well” after the stroke he suffered in November and that she’s busy trying to figure out the order of the songs on the still-untitled album. “It’s going to be hard to hold this music in all summer,” Lee said. “I really want to thank you guys again for being so patient — I know it’s gonna be worth it.” A spokesperson for the group confirmed the post and added that the album is slated for release in the fall, with a tour to follow. …

The Offspring‘s Dexter Holland is turning into some sort of bionic man or something. In late 2004 he completed a 10-day solo flight around the globe, subsisting only on Doritos and beef jerky. And for an encore — and for charity — he decided to take on the Los Angeles Marathon. Running on behalf of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization aimed at using DNA testing to free the unjustly convicted, Holland finished in a little more than five hours, good enough for 7,900th place — but not better than Oprah Winfrey‘s 1994 Washington, D.C., marathon time of 4 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds, which was Holland’s stated goal. Still, he raised money for a good cause and is happy with his efforts. “I hit a wall at about 16 miles,” Holland wrote on Offspring.com, “but I’m glad I was able to finish. I shouldn’t have eaten those tacos for breakfast! I didn’t beat Oprah’s time, but I challenge her to a rematch.” …

If you asked Alanis Morissette, she might say, “Isn’t it ironic … a little too ironic?” Victor Willis, 54, the singer who dressed as the policeman in ’70s disco juggernaut the Village People, faces up to five years in prison after his arrest Sunday. He was booked for bailing on a plea deal he cut last year following an arrest on charges of possessing cocaine and a gun. Willis — who left the group in 1980 — had agreed to a maximum of 16 months in jail on the original charge, but when he goes to court Tuesday (March 28) he’s looking at four years and four months on the original charges and a possible eight additional months on new drug charges, according to a Reuters report.

03.27.2006

Kanye West, Mary J. Blige and Daddy Yankee will headline KIIS-FM’s annual Wango Tango festival May 6. Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Ray J, Nick Cannon, Baby Bash and Natasha Bedingfield will also take the stage at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, California. …

Kanye will be heading to Prague soon with Twista to shoot the video for Keyshia Cole‘s theme song to “Mission: Impossible III.” Cole, whose The Way It Is recently went platinum, launched her first headlining tour over the weekend and will wrap it up April 29 in Memphis, Tennessee. … A labor dispute has brought the 50 Cent/ Samuel L. Jackson feature “Home of the Brave” to a halt, according to ABC news affiliate KXLY. The dispute between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union and North by Northwest has resulted in the indefinite shutdown of the film’s production. Production crews from both companies have left the set, and Union Business Manager David Robinson said it is undetermined if the shoot will resume in the future. Jessica Biel and Christina Ricci had also been cast for the flick. …

“Making an album is insane, especially when you have 12 jobs like I do,” former “American Idol” finalist and current “Idol” TV Guide Channel correspondent Kimberly Caldwell said recently. It also doesn’t help when you switch direction midway through recording. “I’m working with Randy Jackson and Diane Warren. We tried to go the whole rock route and then we had this brainstorm and I really want to go back to my roots, so now we’re going to do country rock,” she said. “And I’m writing and recording, which I love.” …

Former Swell Maps singer Nikki Sudden died Sunday in New York following a Saturday night performance at the Knitting Factory. He was 49. Sudden recorded more than 20 LPs, spanning his work with Swell Maps — the band he started with his brother Epic Soundtracks, who died in 1997 — the Jacobites and the Last Bandits. He was also a solo artist, actor and writer who had just finished work on a new album titled The Truth Doesn’t Matter and was in the process of completing his autobiography before heading out on tour. Secretly Canadian — the record label that released several of Sudden’s albums, including his 2004 LP, Treasure Island — put a post on its Web site reading: “It was a great honor to work with such a legendary figure, and his warmth and generosity of spirit will not be forgotten. He was a good man in endless pursuit of his artistic dreams.” The cause of Sudden’s death is unknown. …

It’s Apple versus Apple in a British courtroom this week as the popular California computer maker is facing off with Apple Corps, the business firm that represents the Beatles, in another legal tangle. A London judge will determine whether Apple’s iTunes service violates a 1991 agreement between the companies that the Beatles’ lawyers claim blocked the iPod maker from selling music under the Apple banner. The computer company’s lawyers counter that the earlier agreement permitted the company to sell “online data transfers,” according to a report in The New York Times. Apple Corps first sued Apple Computer in 1980 over the use of its name and got a settlement and a promise that Apple would stay out of the music business. Apple Corps sued again in 1989 and got a $26.5 million settlement in which it agreed to share the copyright on the name, but which forbid the computer company from using it for anything whose principle content is music. …

A copy of Slipknot‘s self-released 1996 demo album, Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat, has fetched more than $627 in an eBay auction. The demo is considered the rarest and most sought-after piece of ‘Knot memorabilia, as only 1,000 copies of the disc were ever pressed and released. … In related news, Slipknot affiliates Stone Sour are in the midst of recording the follow-up to their 2002 self-titled LP, but that hasn’t stopped them from making lineup changes. Last week drummer Joel Ekman was released from duty — a decision “we all discussed and feel is best for the five of us and for the future of Stone Sour,” according to a press release. The band’s forthcoming disc, Come What May, will hit stores July 18. …

It’s been a month since Cold announced they’d be throwing in the rock-and-roll towel, and two former members are already at work on a new project. Frontman Scooter Ward and drummer Sam McCandless will resurface in the Witch, and according to the band’s MySpace page, the members are in the process of writing some very un-Cold-like new material. The band has no immediate plans to seek a guitarist or bassist. … Underoath‘s forthcoming Define the Great Line has been scheduled for a June 20 release. Look for the disc to feature 11 tracks, including “A Moment Suspended in Time,” “You’re Ever So Inviting” and “Moving for the Sake of Motion.” …

Country music legend Buck Owens died in his sleep at his home in Bakersfield, California, on Saturday, just hours after performing at his local concert hall/restaurant, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, according to The New York Times. He was 76. The honky-tonk singer, who was known for hits such as “Act Naturally” and his long-running stint as the co-host of the “Hee Haw” country variety show, is credited with helping to inspire the Bakersfield sound, a grittier, more plugged-in alternative to the lush, string-heavy sound that dominated country music in the 1960s. …

Not everyone gets “Super Size Me” star Morgan Spurlock‘s attempts at humor. The filmmaker used profanity in a speech at Hatboro-Horsham High School in Pennsylvania on Friday, drawing the ire of the school’s superintendent. Spurlock, who famously ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month while filming the documentary “Super Size Me,” joked about the intelligence of McDonald’s employees. According to The Associated Press, he also made cracks about “retarded kids in the back wearing helmets” and teachers smoking pot on the balcony during the one-hour speech. Special-education students were led out by teachers during the presentation, and a second speech by Spurlock to community members was later canceled. On his blog Sunday, Spurlock said the only person he called retarded was himself, when he couldn’t hear a question, and that despite reports that he spewed profanity for an hour, by his count he only uttered five dirty words.