For The Record: Quick News On Kelly Clarkson, Lindsay Lohan, Usher, Taylor Hicks, Paris Hilton, Nick Lachey & More

Clarkson is new face of NASCAR; Lohan enjoying 'Idol' in rehab; Hilton invited to Vienna Opera Ball.

Kelly Clarkson has become the new face of NASCAR. The pop star has made a season-long deal with the organization and will perform a concert before the Daytona 500, appear in TV spots, become involved with NASCAR's charitable efforts and perform at other NASCAR events. Look for the Grammy winner to be the spokeswoman for NASCAR Day on May 18 and wrap up the season with a performance at the Nextel Cup Series' Champions Banquet on December 3. ...

Lindsay Lohan spent her first night in rehab doing the same thing that a whole lot of Americans did at home, OK! magazine reports. "I'm actually watching 'American Idol' and laughing so hard," the singer/actress said from a Los Angeles treatment center on Wednesday. "I'm fine," Lohan told the magazine in the interview. "Nothing to worry about. Thank you so much for checking in, I do appreciate it." ...

Usher has been fined $425 for speeding in Georgia on July 4, The Associated Press reports. The singer, who was caught driving 103 mph on Interstate 75, was also ordered to perform 20 hours of community service. He signed autographs for a half-hour inside the Cartersville courthouse. ... Taylor Hicks will release "Just to Feel That Way" as the second single from his self-titled debut album. Hicks' tour kicks off February 22 in Tampa, Florida. ...

Austrian construction-industry magnate Richard Lugner has a wish — to dance with Paris Hilton — and he plans to make it come true. The 74-year-old entrepreneur has invited the celebutante to be the star guest at the Vienna Opera Ball, AP reports, and he expects to waltz with her. In past years, Pamela Anderson, Sophia Loren and others have also been personally invited to join Lugner in his private box at the events. ... Nick Lachey has been named Cosmopolitan's Fun, Fearless Man of the Year. The singer leads a pack of 13 honorees, including Ludacris; actors Brandon Routh, Jeremy Piven and Chris Evans; and New York Mets third baseman David Wright. Carmen Electra will emcee a luncheon for the men on Monday at New York's Cipriani 42nd Street. ...

Korn's forthcoming MTV Unplugged album will now hit stores March 6, two weeks after the originally scheduled February 20 release date. The album will feature 11 tracks, including a cover of Radiohead's "Creep" as well as guest appearances by Evanescence's Amy Lee on "Freak on a Leash," and the Cure on a collaborative mash-up of the British band's "In Between Days" and Korn's "Make Me Bad." ... Avenged Sevenfold have a DVD due this year, the band confirmed to fans. "There is definitely going to be an Avenged Sevenfold DVD out this spring," an update from the band reads, "but we can't say much more other than filming just wrapped here in Huntington Beach [California] and we're super pumped for you to see it." Avenged have begun writing material for the follow-up to 2005's City of Evil and will enter the studio in May. ...

During an impromptu banter Q&A session at a Jeff Tweedy show Wednesday night in Nashville, the Wilco frontman confirmed the release date and title of the Chicago alt-country experimentalists' sixth studio album. Sky Blue Sky, the follow-up to 2004's A Ghost Is Born, will be out May 15. ... Think Switzerland is "beautiful"? So does James Blunt, apparently. The British singer is moving to an exclusive Swiss ski resort, according to AP. ... Yo La Tengo have eked out an EP that's available exclusively on iTunes. The simply titled Live Session EP boasts four songs: a new track, "El Es Gay"; live versions of two I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass cuts, "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" and "The Weakest Part"; and "Luci Baines," a cover of a song by the American Four, a band that featured late Love frontman Arthur Lee. ...

Hanson are slated to appear on the game show "Deal or No Deal," and they have Jackie Munroe to thank — NBC apparently tapped the brothers after learning the contestant is a big fan of them. The show will air Wednesday. The band is also planning to issue a new album, The Walk, May 22. The LP will consist of 14 tracks, including "Great Divide," "Running Man" and "Something Going Round." ... Placebo fans who have been aching for the band's Meds to reach the States: Your overseas shipment is about to arrive. The album — which came out internationally last year and includes guest spots by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and the Kills' Alison Mosshart — will be available in U.S. stores Tuesday. The revitalized edition will feature three added cuts: "Lazarus," "Uneedmemorethanineedu" and a cover of the Kate Bush track "Running Up That Hill." ... MtvU regulars Cute Is What We Aim For will co-headline Alternative Press' Bands You Need to Know Tour with Circa Survive. The jaunt runs March 16 through April 22 and will also feature As Tall as Lions and Envy on the Coast. ...

Reunited hardcore heroes Lifetime — who are signed to Pete Wentz's Decaydance imprint — will play seven shows in February to support their eponymous February 6 LP. The band will open the trek at Washington, D.C.'s Black Cat on February 9 and bring it to a close at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, February 24. ... Orchestral Texas rockers Explosions in the Sky — best known for their score to the film "Friday Night Lights" — will release their fifth album, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, February 20. The band will hit the road for a 24-date trek in support of the release, its first studio album in four years. The tour begins February 19 in Brooklyn, New York, and wraps up April 2 in Denton, Texas. ... The Draft — a band comprising former members of Hot Water Music — will continue to support their first LP, In a Million Pieces, with 10 West Coast shows that begin Friday and run through January 27. After that, they'll head to the U.K. to tour with the Bouncing Souls.

01.16.2007

Lindsay Lohan is in rehab, The Associated Press reported Wednesday (January 17). "I have made a proactive decision to take care of my personal health," the singer said in a statement through her publicist, according to the news outlet. "I appreciate your well wishes and ask that you please respect my privacy at this time." AP did not disclose why Lohan had entered rehab, although in December her publicist revealed that Lohan had been voluntarily attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. ...

In more positive news for the singer, Lohan is participating in a new Miu Miu ad blitz. Photos from the campaign that leaked online portray the actress with very large, very red hair, striking pensive and provocative poses atop a red silk cube. The ads — which will feature the Miu Miu spring handbag and shoe collection — are set to hit March issues of magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, W and Harper's Bazaar, due on newsstands in February. A spokesperson for the Miucci Prada-designed line verified that Lohan is modeling in a Miu Miu campaign launching in March, but wouldn't confirm that the leaked photos are a sneak peek at the ads. "It's confidential," the spokesperson said. "They shouldn't be out yet." ...

"American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee will play a guest role in Lonelygirl15's online series on Friday. An early fan of the fictional serial about a 16-year-old girl named Bree, McPhee told AP that her management contacted the creators about the guest spot. A cut from McPhee's self-titled debut LP, which is slated for release January 30, will be utilized as background music in the episode, and the singer will portray an unnamed lassie who meets Bree and her friends. ...

Foxy Brown received a positive probation report in a New York court on Wednesday, AP reports. The rapper, who was punished for fighting in a nail salon in 2004, told the outlet the sentence "is making me grow up." "This is only the first time in two years that I'm pleased with [Manhattan Criminal Court] Judge [Melissa] Jackson," Brown said. She's due back in court March 15. ...

"American Idol" losing steam? Hardly. The Tuesday night premiere was the biggest one yet in the show's six-year history, drawing an estimated 37.3 million viewers, according to AP. That's a 5 percent increase over last year's premiere, which drew 35.5 million viewers. ... Kanye West, Fergie and John Legend will perform as part of the Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash, a concert that will be taped in Miami on February 1, three days ahead of the year's big game. Hosted by Taye Diggs, the one-hour show will air February 3 at 10 p.m. on VH1. ...

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has recruited Britney Spears' soon-to-be-ex-husband Kevin Federline to star in an ad that will run during next month's Super Bowl. According to the insurer's Web site, the 30-second spot is the latest installment in the company's "Life Comes at You Fast" campaign, which has previously featured Fabio and MC Hammer. In the ad, Federline's life takes a drastic turn as he goes from filming a rap video with a bevy of lovelies to working in a fast-food joint. "Our partnership with Kevin shows the world that he has a great sense of humor," Nationwide Vice President Steven Schreibman said. "He's poking fun at himself, and in the process gets to have the last word." ...

R&B icon Diana Ross is set to become the latest music luminary to sprinkle some stardust on "American Idol" contestants. Ross, 62, told David Letterman during a Tuesday night appearance on the "Late Show" that she is planning to be a mentor on the singing competition. Between helping budding singers and planning a tour in support of her new album, I Love You, Ross said she hasn't yet had time to see the Golden Globe-winning movie version of "Dreamgirls," which is loosely based on her life as a Motown star. When asked whether she's curious about the movie, Ross quipped, "Yes, I've heard a lot about it. I'm going to see it with my lawyers." ... Jennifer Lopez is working with "Sex and the City" producer Alexa Junge to develop a sitcom for Showtime, Variety reports. The Los Angeles-set series, which is currently being called "Ayuda" — Spanish for "help" — will focus on Latina nannies. ...

"The Departed" is scooping up awards left and right in the U.S., but China is just saying no to Martin Scorsese's latest flick. The country's movie censor will not approve the film for domestic release because there is a mention in the script of China planning to purchase military equipment, Reuters reports. ... The Sundance Film Festival isn't just for movie stars anymore. Babyface is hosting Where Music Meets Film, a four-night acoustic showcase to be held at Zone Bar Tuesday through January 27. Joss Stone, Sean Lennon, Daniel Powter, Joan Osborne and Kenneth Edmonds himself will perform at the session, partial proceeds of which go to the nonprofit Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. ... The Panic Channel, which features former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, have a new bassist in Siggy Sjursen, formerly of Powerman 5000. The band's original bass player, Chris Chaney, was forced to leave the group "due to family obligations" that will prevent him from touring, a statement from the band read. ...

MySpace is planning to release software that would allow parents to monitor their children's use of the site — even minors who are using false information to gain access, The Wall Street Journal reports. The free parental-notification program, called "Zephyr," will reveal what name, age and location kids are using to represent themselves on MySpace, but it will not give parents access to their child's MySpace messages or profile. The software would also alert the MySpace member that their information was being shared. ... You can stop leaving Pepper Potts casting suggestions on Jon Favreau's MySpace page — the position has been filled. Gwyneth Paltrow will play the right-hand woman to Robert Downey Jr.'s unlikely hero in "Iron Man," co-starring Terrence Howard. ... In other casting news, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Terence Stamp are joining Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway for "Get Smart," according to Variety. The Rock will portray Agent 23, a peer of Maxwell Smart, while Stamp will play a villain. ... A Los Angeles federal judge has scheduled jury selection in the murder trial of producer Phil Spector to begin March 19, AP reports. Testimony is expected to begin the following month. Spector, who is charged with the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in February 2003, is free on $1 million bail and faces life in prison if convicted.