For The Record: Quick News on Fantasia, Eminem, Britney Spears, Evanescence, Brandy, Tool & More

Fantasia to perform on 'Idol'; Em announces remix contest; hockey team offers Spears free getaway.

Former "American Idol" winner Fantasia will perform and make a special announcement on the program's results show Thursday, it was announced Wednesday (February 21). ...

On Wednesday, Eminem announced a contest for burgeoning producers to remix the new track "Jimmy Crack Corn" (featuring 50 Cent), from the rapper's various-artists mixtape Eminem Presents: The Re-Up. The winning version will land in rotation for two weeks on Em's Shade 45 satellite-radio station. ...

Sensing that Britney Spears needs a getaway from her "turbulent lifestyle," the Syracuse Crunch — a minor-league team in the American Hockey League — is offering the pop singer an all-expenses-paid trip to the upstate New York locale to "provide tranquility" to Spears. According to ESPN, the invite begins with the team's Saturday game, and if Spears accepts, members of the team's upper-management staff have offered to shave their heads in support of her. ...

In related news, Evanescence's Amy Lee has come to Spears' defense, responding to a video posted on YouTube that makes fun of the newly bald pop sensation with an Evanescence song. "I have to post that I in no way am going to endorse any kind of Britney bashing after everything she's been through," Lee wrote in a post on the band's message board. "I can't control what people put on YouTube or anywhere else on the Internet, but I would never want my picture or our music connected to something that's based on getting enjoyment out of someone's pain. I know what it's like to feel manipulated, used and helpless — so do most of you — and by now, I know what it's like to feel like your entire life is open to the world for judgment. Remember that this is a human being we're talking about — and who wants to be like those horrible people that have to hurt you to feel better about themselves?" ...

A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two children whose mother was killed in a December 30 freeway crash involving Brandy. The filing, submitted February 8 in Los Angeles, claims 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj's death was caused by the singer driving recklessly, according to court papers. Aboudihaj's parents filed a $50 million suit against Brandy last month. The California Highway Patrol has recommended that Brandy be charged with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office is still considering charges. Hold your jets, Tool fans: The band is planning to reschedule its North American tour itinerary after drummer Danny Carey tore a bicep over the weekend. The bandmember underwent surgery Wednesday and is recovering. ...

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, has indicted 25-year-old Michael Scott Axley on felony murder and aggravated assault charges for allegedly attacking and killing a man at a Korn concert in July. Witnesses claimed Axley punched Andy Richardson, 30, after the two exchanged words at the Family Values Tour stop and Axley took Richardson's cap. Richardson was knocked unconscious, and Axley allegedly punched him again while he was lying on a sidewalk. Richardson suffered skull fractures and severe head injuries and died two days later. ... Through her lawyer, an absent Nicole Richie pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influences charges in a Los Angeles court on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. Richie, who was arrested December 11 after witnesses reported that her car was driving in the wrong direction on an L.A. freeway, already has a 2003 DUI on her record. She faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine plus suspension of her driving privileges. A pretrial conference is scheduled for April 2. ...

Former "Friends" David Schwimmer and Paul Rudd were laughing it up Tuesday night at a New York screening of "Hot Fuzz," the new film from the folks behind "Shaun of the Dead." Writer/director Edgar Wright revealed to MTV News that the comedy is "semi-autobiographical" — at least when it came to depicting Wells, the small town where he and co-writer and star Simon Pegg grew up, and where they filmed "Hot Fuzz." "Everything out of the ordinary had to be 'exterminated,' " he joked. Wright also revealed the identity of one of the uncredited cameos in "Hot Fuzz" — though Steve Coogan is clearly visible as a police officer in the beginning of the film, Cate Blanchett is hidden by a "CSI"-type mask. "It's her eyes that give it away," Wright said. ... 'NSYNC member Joey Fatone will step up to a new challenge, so to speak, on the fourth season of "Dancing With the Stars," which premieres March 19. The lineup for the televised talent competition was announced Wednesday, and includes Paul McCartney's estranged wife Heather Mills, country singer — and Miley's dad — Billy Ray Cyrus, actors Vincent Pastore and Ian Ziering, former basketball pro Clyde Drexler, boxer Laila Ali, Olympic speed skater Apolo Ono, supermodel Paulina Porizkova and TV hosts Leeza Gibbons and Shandi Finnessey. ...

Former Guns N' Roses and current Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash has sold his autobiography to HarperCollins, according to Crain's New York Business. Slash will work with writer Anthony Bozza (who helped Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee on his memoir, "Tommyland"), with a manuscript deadline set for this fall. ... That's that: Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro are free from the restraints of married life. AP reports that the couple's divorce was finalized Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The two plan to split their assets and personal belongings according to a premarital agreement; the couple separated in July. ...

According to a posting on the band's MySpace page, Killswitch Engage have recruited former Halford guitarist and ex-Damageplan frontman Patrick Lachman to fill in for Killswitch's Adam Dutkiewicz during the band's upcoming North American tour with DragonForce, Chimaira and He Is Legend. Dutkiewicz is recovering from a serious back injury, and won't be able to head out with the band for the trek, which kicks off Wednesday in Philadelphia and runs through April 8 in Chicago. ... Former Citizen drummer Ryan Yerdon has joined Puddle of Mudd, replacing Greg Upchurch, who jumped ship back in 2005 to join 3 Doors Down. Puddle of Mudd have also announced the addition of guitarist Christian Stone. Stone replaces Paul Phillips, who left the band due to creative differences. ... The reunited Will Haven have parted ways with vocalist Grady Avenell; he's leaving the band so that he can focus on his family life. Band pal Jeff Jaworski (formerly of Red Tape) has been selected to replace Avenell.

02.20.2007

Nas and Kelis performed at Club Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas on Friday night as a part of an ESPN/Hennessy shindig. Ciara, Chamillionare and Jermaine Dupri also joined the husband-and-wife team for the festivities. ...

James Brown's children have reached an agreement with his partner Tomi Rae Hynie on where the late singer's remains will be put to rest, The Associated Press reports. A lawyer for Hynie said the resting place is being kept confidential at the request of Brown's children, and that the burial may take place within the next few days. ... Busta Rhymes is considering a deal that would allow him to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and remain free after rejecting a separate deal that would keep him in jail for six months on two assault charges, AP reports. The rapper could plead guilty to third-degree assault and receive a conditional discharge for allegedly beating his former driver. In the other case, Rhymes is being accused of assaulting a fan. ...

Look up "Britney's hair" on eBay and you'll get a few dozen results, some even promising the "1,000 percent genuine" article. But when the Tarzana, California, hair salon where Britney Spears got buzzed posted the locks for sale, eBay canceled the auction, prompting the creation of the BuyBritneysHair.com site. "This is it, the opportunity of a lifetime," begins the announcement on the sparsely designed page. "You can be the proud owner of Britney Spears' hair, extensions, the Omega clipper used to cut it all off and even the can of Red Bull she was drinking at the time. You also get her blue Bic Lighter." The seller is accepting "serious" offers via e-mail, and has set a starting bid of $1 million. ...

Kim Mathers sounded off on Eminem on a Detroit radio show Friday, saying that just thinking of the man she married twice makes her sick. "He's an absolutely horrible person, and he gets worse every day," she said during an interview on WKQI-FM's "Mojo in the Morning" show. "I vomit in my mouth whenever I'm around him or I hear his name." Eminem, who has targeted his ex-wife in his lyrics, issued a statement responding to her comments: "It's a shame that I've moved on and Kim hasn't. Her ongoing press campaign is doing nothing but harm to the children, and for that I feel truly sorry. For their sake I wish she would stop." ...

Foxy Brown could face jail time in New York following her run-in with police at a beauty shop in Florida, a New York City Department of Probation spokesperson said. The rapper — who is currently serving a three-year probation sentence for assaulting Manhattan nail-salon employees — was arrested in Pembroke Pines, Florida, last week for an altercation with a beauty-shop employee and resisting arrest. According to the NYC's Department of Probation, Brown violated two stipulations of her sentence — traveling out of the state without permission from her sentencing judge and being arrested. Brown's lawyer, New York State Senator Jack Sampson, claimed that his client did receive permission to travel outside the state for several performances. Sampson said that as of press time, he had not been contacted by Brown's probation officer regarding any violations. ...

"American Idol" vocal coach Debra Byrd has created a DVD called "Vocal Help Now!" due March 5. Kelly Clarkson, Kimberly Caldwell and Anthony Fedorov are among the guests on the DVD. ... Fedorov, meanwhile, has been tapped to star in "The Fantasticks," the world's longest-running off-Broadway musical. His run as Matt begins May 1. ... Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina documentary has earned the director a George Polk Award, AP reports. The director won the documentary-TV honor for "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts." ...

LCD Soundsystem have aligned dates for a tour to support their forthcoming March 20 release, Sound of Silver. The Grammy-nominated electronic experimentalists kick off the fun March 30 in New York with a two-day stint at the Bowery Ballroom, then return to the same city May 14 to bring the jaunt to a close at Webster Hall. ... Beastie Boys, Arcade Fire, Björk and Interpol are among the 50 acts confirmed to appear at the sixth annual Sasquatch! Music Festival, to be held May 26-27 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. Others on the bill include Spoon, M.I.A., Bad Brains and the Hold Steady. Tickets for the fest go on sale March 3 at 10 a.m. ET. ... Tori Amos has pegged May 1 as the release date for her ninth studio album, American Doll Posse. Her world tour in support of the LP embarks May 28 in Rome, with the full itinerary to be announced shortly. ...

Oprah Winfrey and Howard Stern may soon be on the same team. Satellite radio competitors XM (which hosts Winfrey's channel) and Sirius (home of Howard 100) announced Monday that they intend to merge, creating a single satellite radio network with the $13 billion deal. The agreement must be approved by shareholders as well as the Federal Communications Commission before it can move forward. XM and Sirius said they hoped to finalize the deal by the close of 2007, but FCC Chairman Kevin Martin warned that the companies face a "hurdle," noting that the FCC ruled against allowing a single company to own the only two satellite licenses in a prior decision. ... The murder trial for record producer Phil Spector will be televised, a judge ordered Friday. Variety reports that Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, who noted in his decision that "public scrutiny is a good thing," said, "There's going to come a time that it will be commonplace to televise trials. If it had not been for Simpson, we'd be there now," he said, referring to the controversy surrounding TV coverage of O.J. Simpson's murder trial. Spector is charged in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. Jury selection, which begins March 19, will not be broadcast.