For The Record: Quick News On Fall Out Boy, Beyonce, T.I., Mary J., Justin, Gwen, Madonna, Luda & More

FOB announce tour details; Beyoncé headlining 2007 Essence Fest; T.I., Blige lead Billboard Award contenders.

Fall Out Boy will launch their new tour, dubbed Friends or Enemies, January 4 in San Francisco, the band told MTV News Thursday (November 30). They’re taking New Found Glory, the Early November and Permanent Me with them. The trek, which will hit small venues, is scheduled to wrap January 20, with additional dates to be announced in the coming weeks. FOB’s Infinity on High hits stores February 6. …

Beyoncé will headline the 2007 Essence Music Festival, which returns to New Orleans for three days, from July 5-7. The singer, who performed at the 2005 event with Destiny’s Child, will take the stage July 6. “I am so honored to perform at the Essence Festival as a solo act upon its return to New Orleans, post-Katrina,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “My family’s roots are deep in this area so this will be a wonderful reunion for us as well.” …

T.I., Mary J. Blige, Nickelback and Rascal Flatts lead the contenders for the Billboard Music Awards, each ranking as finalists in five categories. Jamie Foxx, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyoncé, Ne-Yo and Dem Franchize Boyz are also finalists in multiple categories, with the winner determined by performance on Billboard charts. The show, featuring performances by Gwen Stefani, the Killers and Ludacris featuring Pharrell and Young Jeezy, will air Monday on Fox. … Justin Timberlake returns to “Saturday Night Live” on December 16, doing double duty as host and musical guest on the comedy show; he last took on both roles in October 2003. “SNL” has two new shows scheduled before JT takes over, with Tenacious D serving as musical guest on Saturday’s broadcast (hosted by “Lost” star Matthew Fox) and Gwen Stefani performing on the December 9 show, with guest host Annette Bening. …

Madonna has accepted a Malawian court ruling that will allow human-rights groups to monitor her as she tries to adopt David Banda, The Associated Press reports. On Wednesday, High Court Justice Andrew Nyirenda said the Human Rights Consultative Committee and state-run Malawi Human Rights Commission can participate in the adoption process. … In other Madonna news, a black bustier the singer wore during her Who’s That Girl Tour was one of many memorabilia items that fetched a pretty penny at London’s It’s More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll Auction. That garment went for the U.S. equivalent of about $10,000, while the original Rolling Stones tongue artwork went for about a half-million dollars and a Jimi Hendrix Fender Stratocaster sold for about $120,000. … “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria and San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker are engaged. The couple, who have been dating for two years, are planning to read their vows in France in the summer. …

Ludacris met with Senator Barack Obama in Chicago on Wednesday to discuss “empowering the youth,” the rapper told AP. Ludacris, who was in town to promote the YouthAIDS Kick Me campaign at Northwestern University in nearby Evanston, Illinois, said his time speaking with the potential presidential hopeful was like talking with a relative. … Nicole Kidman tops the list of the highest-paid actresses, commanding up to $17 million a film, according to a list published in The Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment Power 100 issue. Reigning Best Actress Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz round out the top five, each earning $15 million per film. Last year’s #1, Julia Roberts, spent most of 2006 off the big screen and didn’t make the top 10 this time around. …

OK Go and DJ Franki Chan will perform at Stuff magazine’s Toys for Bigger Boys party Tuesday at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The event will feature a silent auction of Stuff‘s gift-guide selections with proceeds benefiting the HIV/AIDS charity Keep a Child Alive. In addition to goodies featured on ToysForBiggerBoys.org, attendees can bid on a lunch with Ivanka Trump and a behind-the-scenes experience at a Stuff photo shoot. … Mark Lanegan has ganged up once again with Greg Dulli and his Twilight Singers for A Stitch in Time, a five-track EP that’s available now at most digital stores. The effort, also featuring Joseph Arthur and Dulli’s former Afghan Whigs bandmate Rick McCollum, is also available in CD form through the One Little Indian Web site, and that physical version will hit retail stores on January 23. For the first time since parting ways in 2001, Dulli got together with McCollum and ex-Whigs John Curley and Michael Horrigan to record new song for Unbreakable, an in-the-works Whigs retrospective. …

Former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio probably wouldn’t make a list of artists likely to go into the jewelry game, but the singer is auctioning off bracelets to benefit his Seven Below Arts Initiative, supporting arts education in Vermont. From every stop on his tour, Anastasio is donating a set of guitar strings, which are then crafted into bracelets and put on the block at RelixBand.com. Anastasio’s tour hits Eureka, California, on Wednesday and wraps up New Year’s Eve in Atlantic City, New Jersey. … Jam-band faves Widespread Panic will stage their second Tunes for Tots charity hoedown December 28 at the Roxy in Atlanta. The concert will again raise money to directly support music education in Georgia schools. The band raised $100,000 last year, and schools used the money to purchase new equipment and more. …

Director Sofia Coppola and Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars welcomed their first child on Tuesday, AP reports. The couple named their daughter Romy. … New Yorkers will have a chance to meet Santa Claus and an “American Idol” wannabe in the same place on Friday. Season two finalist Josh Strickland, currently starring in “Tarzan” on Broadway, will kick off the Starbucks/ Book for Kids Foundation Holiday Book Drive at the coffee chain’s 29th Street and Park Avenue location at 10:30 a.m. New York metro area Starbucks will accept donations of new, unwrapped books — which will be distributed to local schools and libraries — through December 25.

11.29.2006

Even though it’s at the top of the Billboard albums chart, Raekwon doesn’t seem to be feeling Jay-Z‘s Kingdom Come. At the New York stop of the Rock the Bells tour on Tuesday night, the co-headliner told the audience in the middle of his set that he didn’t care for Hova’s new LP adding, “I don’t give a f— about him.” The Chef did say he respects Jay’s business acumen, though. Opening act Smif-N-Wessun brought out the whole Boot Camp Clik during their set, while Redman, the last performer of the night, took it all the way back to 1992′s Whutt? Thee Album. He also played some new material with his Gilla House crew as Julito McCullum from “The Wire” and others stood in attendance. …

Britney Spears will host New Year’s Eve at the nightclub Pure in Las Vegas. “She’s going to do the countdown, a champagne toast and watch the fireworks from the terrace,” a club rep said. Nick Lachey will be holding the mic at Pure the night before to host a “goodbye 2006″ party. Cheers. … And while conflicting reports suggested Spears and Paris Hilton were in line to co-host the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, the show’s spokesperson said late Wednesday (November 29) that neither is confirmed. In the meantime, however, Pharrell and Young Jeezy will join previously announced performers Gwen Stefani, Ludacris and the Killers for the ceremony, set to air Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox. …

There’s more Lachey news too: The sports enthusiast now has a professional team to call his own. On Wednesday, Lachey was announced as part of the new ownership group for the Tacoma Rainiers, the Washington state AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners. Lachey was introduced at a press conference along with other representatives of the Schlegel Sports Group, a Dallas organization that already owns minor-league teams in Texas and Iowa. “When I was given the opportunity to purchase the Rainiers with [SSG founder] Kirby Schlegel, I jumped on it,” Lachey said in a statement. “Baseball is a true passion of mine, Tacoma is a growing city and I have every intention of playing an active ownership role in the Rainiers as we continue to grow.” …

Destiny’s Child Groove” — a mobile-phone game featuring images of Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — will pit players against game characters in a dance battle. The game — which includes “Survivor,” “Bug a Boo,” “Say My Name” and “Lose My Breath” — is due to roll out on cellular carriers in the winter. … Tyrese is trying to put together a collaboration between himself, Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill that, he said, would find them “singing and rhyming all on the same record.” In the meantime, his half-rap/half-R&B album, Alter Ego, is due December 12 and will feature Game, Lil Jon, David Banner, Method Man and R. Kelly, among others. …

Chris Brown has been working on his second album for the past three weeks, including sessions with production team Dre & Vidal. “I think I am going to name the next album Graduation because I’m 18, last year of high school and stuff like that,” he told MTV News. “I am still going to keep it so my younger fans can continue to listen to my music, but I got a couple of joints on there that’s for some of the older people.” … Celebrity-covered tote bags featuring the faces of Ludacris, Avril Lavigne and Good Charlotte‘s Joel and Benji Madden are currently available for $5 at Aldo stores and YouthAIDS-Aldo.org. Proceeds from the bags — along with Hear, See, Speak campaign tag necklaces — support the efforts of the YouthAIDS initiative. …

Hanson have released an Internet-exclusive song in recognition of World AIDS Day. “Great Divide,” which was recorded on the group’s trip to Africa this summer and features a South African children’s choir, is available for download via iTunes. Proceeds from the song, priced at 99 cents, will benefit the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa. …The massive electronic-music gala Giant is returning to Los Angeles for its annual New Year’s Eve. Now called Giant Maximus, the eight-hour event will boast three “big tops,” under which Sasha & John Digweed, Armin van Buuren and other electronic heavyweights will spin. …

DJ Clue will release The Professional, Part 3, the long-awaited follow-up to 2001′s The Professional 2, on December 19. Kanye West and Fabolous appear on the first single, “Like This,” while Snoop Dogg, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Game, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, M.O.P., Mobb Deep, Beanie Sigel, Cassidy, Styles P. and Jagged Edge also guest on the disc’s tracks. … Human-rights groups that expressed concern over Madonna‘s adoption of 1-year-old Malawian boy David Banda will have a say in the court’s decision, The Associated Press reported. The judge who granted Madonna and husband Guy Richie an interim adoption last month — allowing the couple to take custody of the child and bring him to their London home — ruled Wednesday that rights organizations will have a say in the court’s assessment of the couple, which is due in May. Under Malawian law, adoptive parents must remain in the country for an 18-month evaluation, a process that the rights groups say they are trying to protect in an effort to combat child exploitation. …

The winners of YouTube’s underground-band contest were announced on “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning. Nashville pop quintet Greenland nabbed Best Song honors for their tune “The Way It Is”; Maldroid‘s A-Ha-inspired “He Said, She Said” clip earned them Best Music Video; Los Angeles hip-hop/soul collective Ostrich Head notched Best Creative Work for “Freak Show Carnival”; and Philadelphia rockers Pawnshop Rose landed Best Live Performance for “Gets So Hard.” Among the prizes were Gibson instruments, trips to NYC and more. … The Matches, I Am Ghost, Escape the Fate and the Higher are heading out next year to support the punk label the bands currently call home. The 2007 Epitaph Tour starts February 1 in San Diego and winds down March 18 in Las Vegas. …

“Pelt-wearing party girl” Nicole Richie tops the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ worst-dressed list for 2006. Actresses Ashley Olsen, Christina Ricci and Eva Longoria were also named for wearing fur. Missing from this year’s list is PETA’s 2005 worst-dressed celebrity, Paris Hilton, who said she’s had a change of heart since watching a fur-trade exposé, according to the organization. … My Morning Jacket, the New Pornographers and Cat Power have been added to the fifth annual Langerado Music Festival, held in Sunrise, Florida, from March 9-11. O.A.R., Matisyahu, Cut Chemist, the Hold Steady, Widespread Panic and former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio are also on the bill.

[This story was originally published at 1:19 pm E.T. on 11.30.2006]