Jessica Simpson Is ‘In Control’; Plus Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell, Kanye West, 50 Cent, G-Unit, Mariah Carey & More, In For The Record

J. Lo, Pharrell rave about West; 50 reportedly says G-Unit LP will drop December 18; Carey LP delayed.

Jessica Simpson gets physical in the new issue of InStyle, breaking out her trainer’s plan to “get your best body now!” But she turns inward as well, telling the magazine for its November issue — which hits racks Friday (check out the full cover here ) — that, “I was the princess in the fairy tale — then reality came crashing in, and I learned that isn’t always how life works.” She insisted that “I am in complete control of my life” after going through her divorce with Nick Lachey and, while she didn’t call out ex-boyfriend John Mayer by name, she did reveal, “I’ve had my heart broken since my divorce. That’s OK. I believe you fall in love more than once and get your heart broken more than once. Trust me, I have cried myself to sleep.” …

Kanye West isn’t exactly the kind of guy who needs an ego boost, but Jennifer Lopez and Pharrell puffed him up a bit anyway in recent interviews with MTV Europe. J. Lo says she finds West “to be a very smart businessman” and that his album faceoff with 50 Cent was “clever.” “I think it’s fun for publicity. … It was really about a healthy competition between two amazing artists,” said the singer — whose new album, Brave, unfortunately hasn’t been faring too well in record stores. Pharrell is cheering West’s Graduation — when asked if he’s happy for West’s success, the super-producer replied, “Absolutely. That album is a classic: flawless production; lyrically, he absolutely, absolutely took himself to another level. … He is in the clouds with that album.” …

While he was at it, Pharrell also championed an entirely different musical act — Swedish garage-rockers the Hives, who he teamed with for their November 13 release, The Black and White Album. “Those are my guys,” he said. “[They're] fun, they’re smart, they have a great image, they love music.” Pharrell, who knows a thing or two about turning the knobs, said he actually picked up a few tips from Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist. “Forget about it. He knows everything. I’m in the studio learning things from him.” …

While 50 may still be stinging from the aforementioned chart battle, he’s reportedly moving on to something else — a new G-Unit project. The group has pegged December 18 as the release date for their sophomore effort, Shoot to Kill, and Funkmaster Flex will premiere the first single, “Wanna Lick” (featuring Lil’ Kim), Friday on Hot 97, according to XXL magazine. “Cancel Christmas, it’s over,” 50 told the mag in regards to the much-anticipated release. …

Sorry, Mariah fans — looks like her new album isn’t coming out this year after all. While her record label confirmed that her yet-untitled follow-up to The Emancipation of Mimi would be dropping December 4, a label representative now says Carey is still recording and the date has not been solidified. … Wyclef Jean helped rake in almost $250,000 as part of a charity-poker event he co-hosted Tuesday at the Vail ski resort in Colorado. Jean performed a handful of tunes as well, including renditions of two traditional songs, “La Bamba” (Mexico) and “Guantanamera” (Cuba). Thrice, Joey Fatone, Boyz II Men and others attended the Vail Hold’Em Poker Event for Your Cause, which involved celebrities competing to win money for their charities of choice. …

Alicia Keys, KT Tunstall, Earth, Wind & Fire, Annie Lennox, Juanes, Junoon and Melissa Etheridge will perform at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Concert slated for December 11 in Norway. Al Gore picked Etheridge for the event, which will serve as a salute to him and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their efforts to raise awareness about climate change. Gore and the panel won the Nobel Peace Prize last week . … Speaking of Lennox, she got an unusual scare at her Tuesday concert in Boulder, Colorado, when a man wearing a gas mask and a cape turned up in the crowd toward the end of her show, according to “Access Hollywood.” The singer reportedly dropped the mic and booked it backstage without addressing the crowd, though she returned to the stage after the man was removed. “That was really freakish and disturbing, whatever the hell it was. He owes me and my band a f—ing apology,” Lennox lashed out on her blog. The man’s name hasn’t been released, since he has not been charged with a crime, and it’s unclear if he will be, as he didn’t actually get onstage. …

Are Rihanna and Josh Hartnett an item? One would be led to think so after seeing the “30 Days of Night” actor’s Thursday appearance on “The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet.” When the hosts asked him to address rumors that he’s dating Rih Rih, he started smiling and stuttering heavily. “No, no, come on, you guys,” he said. “We weren’t supposed to talk about these sort of things, were we? I thought we were going to come out here and talk about the movie. … I can’t really respond to things like that, because if I start responding to them, then everybody wants a response on everything.” … Francis Ford Coppola unleashed: The director is ripping into two of his “Godfather” actors, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, as well as Jack Nicholson, telling GQ that the Oscar-winners have become too apathetic. “They all live off the fat of the land,” the esteemed director said, adding that he doesn’t know “what any of them want anymore.” The interview is featured in GQ‘s November issue, which hits newsstands Tuesday. …

Radiohead will be chasing Rainbows — well, technically, their new album, In Rainbows — with an international tour next year, Billboard.com reports. The band is reportedly planning to hit the tarmac in May and continue playing sizeable venues through the end of the year. The trek would be unusual given that frontman Thom Yorke has voiced his distaste for international touring in the past, and the band played only select shows in the U.S. and Europe in summer 2006. … Bruce Springsteen continued to speak out about his political beliefs at his Thursday night show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, sounding off about wiretapping and infringements on the Bill of Rights. He also made an elliptical reference before performing the title track to his new Magic LP, saying the song was “not about magic but about tricks.” Bono, Jon Stewart, James Gandolfini and R.E.M.‘s Mike Mills were in attendance, RollingStone.com reports. …

Josh Homme says Queens of the Stone Age could “blow through a whole record quick” with their new roster, according to Billboard.com. “Queens sounds better than it ever has live, but we’re trying to figure out how to tour and how to [write and record], ’cause I think for everyone right now, the idea of creating something is even more enticing than going on the road,” he told the site. In addition to Homme, the QOTSA lineup includes multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen and drummer Joey Castillo, who joined the entourage in 2002, and two musicians who hooked up with the band earlier this year — keyboardist Dean Fertita, who has also toured with the Raconteurs, and Wires on Fire bassist Michael Shuman. …

Johnny Marr, former guitarist for the Smiths and current axeman for Modest Mouse, has a new handle: professor of music. Manchester, England’s University of Salford has given Marr the honorary title and tapped him to host workshops on music composition and performance, according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian. … If you thought the Led Zeppelin roller coaster being constructed for the Hard Rock Park was out there, wait till you hear what else is in store: a mock Mount Rushmore sculpture called “Mount Rockmore” and featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Bob Marley and Elvis Presley. The 50-acre park — located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — is set to open in the spring. …

John Goodman left the Promises Malibu Alcohol and Drug Rehab Treatment Facility in Southern California — the rehab center where Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan also stayed — after being treated there for an undisclosed reason and undisclosed period of time, The Associated Press reports. The actor “took the necessary steps to remain sober the rest of his life,” according to a statement issued by his publicist, Stan Rosenfield. Goodman earned an Emmy Award this year for his part in “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” …

Joey Bishop, a comedian who was a member of Frank Sinatra‘s famed Rat Pack, died Wednesday night in Newport Beach, California, of multiple causes, AP reports. The actor, who appeared in the original “Ocean’s Eleven” movie, was 89. … AP also reports that Deborah Kerr, an actress who appeared in “The King and I” and “From Here to Eternity,” died Tuesday in England after battling Parkinson’s disease. She was 86.

10.17.07

C-Murder will be tried a second time on a second-degree murder charge, The Associated Press reports. A trial date has been set for February 11. The rapper, who was born Corey Miller, stands accused of the shooting death of 16-year-old Steve Thomas at a Louisiana nightclub on January 12, 2002. His 2003 conviction was tossed in March 2006 after prosecutors withheld criminal background information on witnesses from Miller’s attorney. If convicted, he faces a mandatory life sentence without parole. …

What would a day be like without Britney Spears news? Legal representatives for the singer and her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, were present at an ex-parte hearing called by his lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan on Wednesday (October 17), according to Us Weekly. Commissioner Scott M. Gordon sealed the courtroom for the one-hour Los Angeles Superior Court meeting, which pertains to the former couple’s child-custody dispute. Spears and Federline were not present for the one-hour meeting in Los Angeles Superior Court but are required to be in court for a hearing on October 26. Relatedly, Spears is apparently making no secret of her distaste for Gordon, Us Weekly also reports. The singer was heard griping about Gordon at a department store in Beverly Hills late last week, allegedly ranting to her assistant, “I hate my judge. He is so mean. Just an old fart. He told me I was being catty with him, but he was being catty with me and paid me no respect at all. … His job is to sit there and tell people what to do. And that’s just so sad, because he gets off on it.” She was also heard singing Rihanna‘s “Umbrella” while shopping in the store. The magazine also reports that Spears was seen wearing a zip-up jacket with the phrase “F— Off Lover Boy” while driving in Malibu on Tuesday. …

Well, maybe Brit should have listened to Lance Bass. He’s speaking up about the troubled singer, telling GQ that he’s been trying to get through to her. “I tried. I tried. She’s my neighbor in Beverly Hills [California]. She lives next door. I tried to get in touch with her — I wanted to be that friend to help her. I don’t think she’s having any of her old friends anymore,” he told the magazine for its November issue. Equally revealing, Bass said he disclosed to the pop star that he was gay years before he came out in public. He said he reached out to her after her quickie Vegas wedding in January 2004. “I felt bad for her,” he said. “I knew she was about to go through a lot of crap. I felt the need to share something. So I sat her on my bed, and I’m like, ‘Well, I’m gay!’ ” …

Hannah Montana” fans, get ready to see your hero in a whole new light — she’s hitting the big screen … and in 3-D! The upcoming movie “Hannah Montana/ Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” will get the 3-D treatment for a theatrical release that will play in theaters from February 1-7, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film will be shot during various stops on her 54-city tour, which starts Thursday in St. Louis. …

Linkin Park‘s Chester Bennington broke his arm on Sunday during a concert in Melbourne, Australia. The band’s Web site features a video showing the frontman’s limb in a cast. Despite the injury, Bennington continued to perform with the Park, for their entire set. … My Chemical Romance have booked a special gig at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey, for October 24. Tickets for the sold-out show went for $100 apiece, with all proceeds going to charity. In other MCR news, RollingStone.com reports that the band has put the finishing touches on a yet-untitled DVD surrounding its recent tour. The disc, reportedly due out early next year, will feature the group’s full performance of The Black Parade in Mexico City. …

Kanye West gave a surprise performance at a launch event for T-Mobile’s Sidekick LX at Griffith Park in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. He played a batch of Graduation songs, after which DJ AM and Steve Aoki did some spinning. A slew of celebs turned out for the event: Nick Cannon, Bow Wow, Shia LaBeouf, Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler, Carmen Electra, Jack Osbourne, Wilmer Valderrama, JC Chasez, Frankie Muniz and, yes, even Chris “Leave Britney alone!” Crocker. …

Rivers Cuomo has let slip what fans can expect on his just-announced demos compilation release. He told RollingStone.com that the release will have about 18 songs, including his original demo for Weezer‘s “Buddy Holly” — and, get this, a cover of Ice Cube‘s “The Bomb.” He also said he’ll be unveiling songs from an unfinished space-rock concept album. … Apparently everyone in Kid Rock‘s camp isn’t sharing in his Rock N Roll Jesus SoundScan spoils : His longtime manager, Ed “Punch” Andrews, has decided to retire, according to Billboard.com. Rock has reportedly found a replacement in Vector Management, which handles Bon Jovi, among others. …

In September, Robert Plant dismissed a potential Led Zeppelin tour that would be held after their reunion gig at the O2 Arena in London on November 26 — but is Jimmy Page leaving the door open? He hinted as such in an interview with Canada’s Winnipeg Sun, saying, “Let’s do the O2 show, shall we? And then we’ll speak to you afterwards.” But, he added, “That’s what we have on our horizon at this point. I know you want to hear other answers, but I’m afraid that’s all I can give you.” The guitar god was less vague about the prospect of new Zep material, saying he would be “really surprised” if there wasn’t any. “We’re musicians … as we’re playing we’ll probably be coming up with all manner of things,” he said. Bassist John Paul Jones also spoke with the newspaper, saying, “Basically, we are concentrating on this show. That’s where all the energy is going. I mean, who knows, but one step at a time.” …

Cat Power, a.k.a. Chan Marshall, will take on Bob Dylan‘s “I Believe in You,” James Brown‘s “Lost Someone,” Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Fortunate Son” and other classics on her second covers album, Jukebox. The January 22 release — which was previously titled Covers II, according to Billboard — also features a pair of originals: “Song to Bobby” and a new version of one of her older cuts, “Metal Heart.” One would expect Marshall to perform the Dylan tune when she salutes His Bobness at an upcoming event called “I’m Not There: In Concert a Celebration of Todd Haynes’ Film.” My Morning Jacket, Calexico and Mason Jennings have also been tapped for the concert, which will take place November 7 at New York’s Beacon Theatre. The movie, which stars Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and others, is due in theaters November 21. …

Ryan Adams can’t get enough of “October Road,” apparently. The mercurial singer/songwriter’s music is featured in the TV drama and its ad bumpers, and now he’s ganging up with the cast for his new video. Adams plans to shoot a clip for “Follow the Lights” — a song included on his Tuesday EP of the same name — Sunday in Los Angeles, and it’s due to premiere January 7 during the first episode of the show’s second season. The collaboration marks the first time the cast of an ABC show has gotten together to take part in an artist’s music video. …

From the “Man, please don’t do this” file, it seems George Lucas is entrenched in one of two planned “Star Wars” TV projects, a live-action spinoff, the Los Angeles Times reports. Lucas told the newspaper he has “just begun work” on the series, which, as he previously told MTV News, will be set between “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” and the original “Star Wars.” He reiterated to the Times that the spinoff will focus on minor characters from the series, not Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. He also joked that the series would be about “the life of robots.” … Bleeding Through singer Brandan Schieppati has teamed with Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman, No Use for a Name guitarist Dave Nassie and ex-Distillers bassist Ryan Sinn to form a new band called the Innocent. The thrash-metal act has been working on material but there’s no word yet on when it might record and release an LP. …

For the second time in a month, Apple Inc. has done something it’s not known for: dropped its prices. Effective immediately, the price for songs on iTunes without copy protection will drop from $1.29 to 99 cents. Apple started selling some DRM-free songs in May at a premium price. …

Elliott Smith‘s girlfriend, Jennifer Chiba, cannot collect on the deceased indie-rock icon’s estate even though he allegedly said he would make sure she was financially set for the rest of her life, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Chiba had sued Smith’s estate in 2004, arguing that he had promised her as such and that, because they had lived together — and shared their earnings and property equally — she was entitled to a portion. But a split California appellate court ruled Tuesday that while she did have a “cohabitative agreement” with Smith, Chiba — who had been seeking more than $1 million — also had a recording management agreement and acted as an unlicensed talent agent. If she appeals, a state Supreme Court review could be possible.