For The Record: Quick News On Britney Spears, Lil Jon, Maroon 5, Busta Rhymes, Pearl Jam, ‘American Idol’ & More

Spears gives up Kabbalah; Lil Jon, Maroon 5 nab BMI honors; Rhymes, Blige lead BET Award noms.

Well, there’s one less thing Britney Spears and Madonna have in common. Less than a week after confirming that she’s pregnant again, Spears has revealed something new on her Web site: “I no longer study Kabbalah, my baby is my religion.” That’s the extent of the post, her first one in the “Love B” section of her Web site since May 17, 2005. …

Lil Jon and Maroon 5 were named Songwriters of the Year on Tuesday at BMI’s Pop Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Weezer and Ciara were among the other big winners. … The Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy has named Snoop Dogg one of the recipients of their Recording Academy Honors Award. MySpace.com co-founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe will also be honored at the June 8 ceremony in Hollywood. …

Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx and Missy Elliott lead the pack of nominees for the sixth annual BET Awards with four nods each. Kanye West, Beyoncé and Chris Brown follow with three nominations. Chaka Khan is the recipient of this year’s BET Lifetime Achievement Award and Harry Belafonte will be honored with the BET Humanitarian Award. Damon Wayans will host the ceremony, which airs live June 27 at 8 p.m. on BET. Fans can weigh in with their Viewers’ Choice picks — Busta, Chris Brown, T.I., Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo and Keyshia Cole are in the running — at BET.com. …

American Idol” has gone digital. The popular talent contest is now offering downloads of performances from this season’s 24 semifinalists at AmericanIdol.com. Audio tracks — including “When I Fall in Love” as performed by Kevin Covais, Paris Bennett‘s “The Way We Were” and Ace Young singing “We Will Rock You” — will set you back 99 cents each. Video downloads will be priced at $1.99. … A new version of “Dead Man,” which was originally released as the B-side of Pearl Jam‘s 1996 single “Off He Goes,” has been recorded by Eddie Vedder for inclusion on an expanded reissue of the “Dead Man Walking” soundtrack. The album is due June 13. …

After starring in “The Osbournes,” launching a music label and battling an OxyContin addiction, Jack Osbourne is planning to tell his life story. Ozzy‘s son has signed a deal with U.K. publishers Pan Macmillan to write his autobiography, due this October. “21 Years Gone” will include tales about growing up on “The Osbournes,” how fame and money further fuelled his descent into addiction, how rehab got his life back on track, his newfound passion for extreme sports and his hopes for the future. … On Tuesday night, Alice in Chains warmed up for their five-date U.S. club run with a free open rehearsal in Seattle. The band delivered a 75-minute set at the Moore Theatre, highlighted by several guest appearances, including Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Velvet Revolver‘s Duff McKagan, Heart‘s Ann Wilson and Queensrÿche‘s Chris DeGarmo. Alice in Chains played some of their most memorable hits, including “Dam That River,” “Down in a Hole,” “Rooster,” “Would?” and “Them Bones.” The tour’s official kickoff is set for Thursday in Los Angeles. …

Panic! At the Disco have parted ways with bassist Brent Wilson, according to a message on the band’s site. “Brent … is a great friend of ours and he will definitely be missed. We all wish him well and the best of luck in everything he wants to do in the future,” the message read. “The past few years will be something we will never forget.” The band went on to say a friend would take Wilson’s place on the upcoming summer tour with the Dresden Dolls, OK Go and the Hush Sound, scheduled to kick off June 6 in Tuscon, Arizona. … Those still crestfallen over the breakup of Luna will be happy to hear Rhino Records is also bidding the New York indie-rockers a fond farewell. On June 20 the label will release The Best of Luna and “Tell Me Do You Miss Me,” a DVD documenting Luna’s final tour. The compilation features 17 classic tracks spanning the quintet’s seven studio records, and the documentary recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. …

If you missed Byron Hurt‘s hip-hop documentary “Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture” when it screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January, you’ll have another chance to catch it this week — if you’re in the New York area. The Brooklyn Academy of Music is showing the film Thursday, Friday and Sunday as part of its Sundance Institute at BAM series. Head to BAM.org/Sundance for more information, and check out BHurt.com to see a clip of the film. … Paul McCartney and Heather Mills McCartney are separating, the couple confirmed Wednesday (May 17). The former Beatle and his wife issued a statement saying that it had become “increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives.” McCartney and Mills, who married in 2002 and have a 2-year-old daughter, described the split as “amicable.” …

Isaac Hayes has welcomed a baby boy to his family. Nana Kwadjo Hayes was born April 10, Hayes’ spokesperson announced Tuesday. It is the fourth son for the 63-year-old singer and his first with his wife, Adjowa. … New Edition members Ralph Tresvant, Ron DeVoe, Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell and Johnny Gill are being honored by the city of Atlanta on Friday — New Edition Day. New Edition will receive the Phoenix Award for their achievements in the music industry as well as contributions to the community. DeVoe’s real estate firm, the DeVoe Team, will celebrate New Edition Day at Copeland’s restaurant in Atlanta, where they are hosting a networking luncheon to bring together business professionals, entertainers, athletes and policy makers. …

A Kerrang!-commissioned compilation disc celebrating the rock magazine’s 25th anniversary will be available with the latest issue, on newsstands May 31. Called High Voltage, the CD features several current big names performing classic rock and metal tracks. Look for it to include Fall Out Boy‘s take on Gorilla Biscuits‘ “Start Today,” Avenged Sevenfold doing Pantera‘s “Walk,” Killswitch Engage‘s version of Dio‘s “Holy Diver,” the Dillinger Escape Plan‘s rendition of Soundgarden‘s “Jesus Christ Pose” and Atreyu‘s cover of Bon Jovi‘s “You Give Love a Bad Name.” … Stone Sour — featuring Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root — will be playing another free gig this week. The Sour are set to hit the House of Bricks in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday in addition to the band’s previously announced free show set for Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri. Donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation will be accepted at the door for Sunday’s show. Fans will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. … Toronto hardcore band Grade will be reuniting for a single hometown gig on July 21. The same lineup behind 1999′s Under the Radar LP — frontman Kyle Bishop, bassist Matt Jones, drummer Chris Danner and guitarists Shawn Magill and Greg Taylor — will take the stage together for the first time since they split four years ago.

05.16.2006

Simon Cowell has predicted that Taylor Hicks will be the next winner of “American Idol.” “I’m going to say he’s the favorite, but what do I know?” Cowell said on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” Monday. The judge, who thought Katharine McPhee should go last week, now believes that Elliott Yamin will be the next contestant eliminated. “I think [McPhee will] make the final, and I’ll tell you why: because I’m choosing one of her songs this week.” The remaining finalists will perform three songs Tuesday (May 16): one of their own choosing, one picked by a judge and one selected by producer Clive Davis. Davis is returning to “Idol” Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The music mogul will be given a plaque recognizing him as the producer for the “Idol” franchise, which has sold in excess of 33 million records. …

Sheryl Crow staged her first public performance Tuesday after undergoing breast-cancer surgery three months ago, according to The Associated Press. The singer played three songs at a My Network TV sales presentation in New York. …

Sean “Diddy” Combs has reached a settlement with the man who says he was beaten by the MC’s bodyguards at a concert in 1995, according to AP. Settlement details were not made available, although earlier in the week Combs’ lawyers had planned to start a hearing on a motion to dismiss the years-old lawsuit. … Nicole Kidman is engaged to Keith Urban after all. The actress spent her Saturday night in New York hosting the 30th anniversary gala for the United Nations Development Fund for Women. On Monday she took a moment to end the “are they or aren’t they” talk about her rumored relationship with the country singer. Goodwill Ambassador Kidman, who plans to set out on her first UNIFEM mission with a trip to India this summer, told People magazine that Urban — her date for the gala — is not her boyfriend. “He’s actually my fiance,” she explained. “I wouldn’t be bringing my boyfriend.” …

Some dates for this summer’s Family Values Tour — featuring Korn, Deftones, Stone Sour, Flyleaf and Dir En Grey — have been revealed. The festival will kick off July 27 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and conclude September 20 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The trek will hit Nashville (Starwood Amphitheatre, July 29); Atlanta (HiFi Buys Amphitheatre, July 30); San Antonio (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, August 4); Denver (Coors Amphitheatre, August 15); Phoenix (Cricket Pavilion, August 18); Sacramento, California (Sleep Train Amphitheatre, August 20); Kansas City, Missouri (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, August 24); East Troy, Wisconsin (Alpine Valley Music Theatre, August 26); and Camden, New Jersey (Tweeter Center at the Waterfront, September 15). Tickets will go on sale this weekend. To hype the upcoming tour, the Deftones will play a free show Thursday at Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento at 5 p.m. That same day, Korn will play a free concert in Chicago (no further details were available) and Flyleaf will perform in Portland, Oregon. …

Actress/director/producer Jodie Foster has experience with Ivy League commencement ceremonies — she graduated from Yale in 1985 — but when it came time to send off the University of Pennsylvania’s 2006 graduates, she went with words of wisdom from Eminem. Foster, who received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree Monday, ended her speech with the chorus of “Lose Yourself,” The Associated Press reports. … Alice in Chains‘ five-gig U.S. club run is not going to launch Thursday in Los Angeles after all. Instead, the reunited band will be playing a free primer show for fans Tuesday (May 16) in their native Seattle at the Moore Theater. Free tickets were handed out Monday night at the venue to the luckiest of fans. … Gonzo bassist Les Claypool has reached out to NoCal rappers the Coup to support him on the second half of his summer tour. Rasputina will support Claypool from June 1 through June 21, and the Coup will take the reins from June 24 through July 20. …

Chicago rappers Lupe Fiasco and Rhymefest and Colorado Springs, Colorado, trio the Procussions have joined hometown hero Big Daddy Kane on the lineup for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, set for June 24 in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park between New York’s Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Would-be concertgoers can register for updates and tickets to the free event at BrooklynBodega.com. … The companion compilation for this summer’s Warped Tour will hit stores June 6. The two-disc 2006 Warped Tour Compilation will feature tracks by Saves the Day, Underoath, Matchbook Romance, NOFX, Helmet, From First to Last and Every Time I Die. … Stone Sour, featuring Slipknot members Corey Taylor and Jim Root, will play a free show Thursday outside the Beaumont Club in Kansas City, Missouri. The gig is expected to feature several “special surprises.” The band’s sophomore LP, Come What(ever) May, will be released August 22. …

What is the sound of one whale singing? How about one whale singing over a skittery jungle beat laced with some new-wave synths? Listen for yourself or jump in the mix as part of the Whale Remix Project from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Yhe IFAW is sponsoring a contest for users to create their own songs using the sounds of the humpback whale, with the winner taking home a 60gig video iPod and having their song used in an upcoming public service announcement about illegal commercial whaling. The top 10 entries will be judged by a panel including No Doubt‘s Tom Dumont, BT, the MC5‘s Wayne Kramer, ex-Nine Inch Nails member Chris Vrenna and the BellraysLisa Kekaula. Go to StopWhaling.org to enter the contest, which ends June 11. … Gary Glitter, who was sentenced to a three-year jail term in Vietnam on child-molestation charges, has had his appeal postponed, the AP reports. The 61-year-old singer’s appeal was scheduled to be heard in court Friday, but it has been moved to an unspecified date after June 5, according the People’s Supreme Court of Appeals in Ho Chi Minh City. Glitter was sentenced March 3 and remains incarcerated in Vung Tau. …