American Idol To Bring the Noise

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As the seventh season of American Idol ramps up (producers and perspective Idols currently are filming the “Hollywood” portion of the season, which begins airing in January), news has emerged on the show’s changing face. Musical mentors will be deemphasized! (But what, pray tell, will they use for the padding that Jennifer Lopez‘s ass provided?) The A.I. tour may include a Dancing With the Stars element! (Tentative name for the tour: The Bland Leading the Bland.) And, most importantly, those in the competition who can play instruments may get the chance to on stage. Because, really, what this show needs is a multi-instrumental freak-show element of the America’s Got Talent variety. Explains A.I. majordomo Nigel Lythgoe:

We knew Chris Daughtry, Carrie [Underwood] and Bo [Bice] could play the guitar but we really couldn’t show it. If [the contestants] can play an instrument this year we want to be able to see that, and we’ll introduce a couple of days of that during Hollywood week.

Let’s hope they don’t stop at guitars. I want french horns, giant organs, pan-flutes and bassoons, damn it. Bassoons totally FTW, obviously. [New York Post]

Michael Jackson Is “Smelly”

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michael_jackson_ebony.jpgIn the December issue of Ebony, Michael Jackson grants his first magazine interview in 10 years and boy, is it…boring. You should start reading any superstar interview expecting a very guarded self-portrayal, but this one is virtually missing all signs of Jackson-family nonsense. Sadness! According to Mike, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown are “wonderful,” Stevie Wonder is a “prophet,” global warming is scary and presidential elections aren’t worth following. Fas. Cin. A. Ting. The only shred of dirt comes via the nickname Quincy gave Mike during the creation of Thriller, as alluded to above. Says M.J.:

Quincy calls me a nickname, ‘Smelly’…Back then, especially back then — I say a few swear words now — but especially then, you couldn’t get me to swear. So I would say, ‘That’s a smelly song.’ That would mean, ‘It’s so great,’ that you’re engrossed in it. So he would call me ‘Smelly.’

Now when people call Michael Jackson “Smelly,” they’re referring to the formaldehyde that’s preserving him. You know, the more things change, the more they stay the same. For the complete interview and more airbrushed-to-womanhood pictures, hit up ohnotheydidnt.

Sneak Peek: Jay-Z’s Storytellers

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Jay-Z unveiled his gangsta opus exclusively to VH1 a few weeks ago, and because we love you so much, we scored you a sneak peek of it. On the vertiginous “Fallin’,” Jay concludes the morality tale that is his new American Gangster album. Describing different groupings of songs as the genesis, rise and demise, the trudging beat and tense back-up vocals on “Fallin’” signal our hero’s ruin. During the show, images of apartment buildings slid up the screen behind Jay, giving the illusion of, well, falling.

And just when you thought we couldn’t treat you any better — wine and dine you, take you out for romantic carriage rides — we go and do the unthinkable: score you two more tracks you can watch before Storytellers airs.

Tune in on Thursday at 9pm when H.O.V.A. fills you in on the inspiration behind eight of the tracks on American Gangster.

Next Great Band: Two Down, 10 To Go

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In most venues, the “green room” is where an artist waits to take the stage. But in The Next Great American Band, it also holds the trap door that drops the losers into oblivion. On Friday night, voters pulled the lever on The Hatch and The Light of Day. Did you hear their screams for help as they plummeted? Did you see their tears? Well, no big loss. Both outfits were mawkish and generic, and ultimately we knew they’d head home with their Strats between their legs. .

Friday’s show was about three things: band names, Elton John, and bad singing. Here’s the list.

Sixwire: The ersatz Eagles outfit adored by all three judges once called themselves The Remnants. Their version of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” sounded like Kenny Loggins fronting REO.

Tres Bien: a fan once asked if their moniker meant “Three Beans.” Viewers know that it actually means “Garage Band version of the Turtles,” though Dicko rightly busted ‘em for pilfering a Yardbirds vibe.

Franklin Bridge: Evidently they’ve always been named FB, explaining that it’s a crucial connector that unites Jersey with Philly. Yawn. Their spin on 24-7 Spyz has some prog to it; nice to hear the funkateers getting their Yes on. Yours is no disgrace.

The Clarke Brothers: Early on, the twang sibs wanted to call themselves both Sasafras and Shotgun Wedding, but they stuck with the tedious surname approach. Their spin through “Country Comfort” gave Johnny Rzeznik “goosebumps.”

Light of Doom: The metal Hanson have always been Light of Doom. They even played a song called “Light of Doom.” And, god love ‘em, they haven’t a clue as to what the name might represent. They also haven’t a clue as to the real name of Elton’s lyricist. “Here’s a version of a song by Elton John and Bernie Poppin‘,” said the lead longhair before tearing into “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”

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Katie Holmes Proves That She’s Not Human

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katie-holmes-1105.jpgMrs. Tom Cruise ran the New York City Marathon this weekend, finishing the race in 5 hours, 29 minutes and 58 seconds. Impressive! She may have come in 34,195th place, but she’s first place in Tommy’s heart, who noted that his wife’s strength was “amazing.” What’s more amazing are Katie’s strange running habits that seem to signal to us that she’s not quite human – or maybe, she’s more than human?

Exhibit #1: Katie appears to have run 26.2 miles without a bra. Ouch! The only people who are supposed to do this are men, Katie. Or, women who feel no pain. Robot women, perhaps?

Exhibit #2: Katie also ran her marathon in pants. Long black cotton pants. That chafe. In warm weather. Super human Lance Armstrong and friends wore running shorts, but non-humans can wear whatever they want, it seems!

Exhibit #3: Just hours after finishing the marathon, Katie was out on the townin heels! – escorting her hubby to the premiere of his new film. Most people are in bed, passed out, or making out with a plate of spaghetti after running a marathon. Not Katie! She can do anything – because she’s not like most people. She’s not a person at all.

Christina Aguilera’s Baby Shocker!

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christina-aguilera-1105.jpgIt only took us an entire weekend to get over the news. Still, we’re so shocked we can barely type. Christina.Aguilera.Is.Pregnant. Can you believe it?! The singer reveals all in the latest issue of British Glamour, saying that she’s “about to enter mommyhood.” We checked, and ‘mommyhood’ is not an LA nightclub. She may have made up a word, but we think she’s talking about becoming a mother! We didn’t see this one coming, so we’d like to wish X-Tina and her hubby and very happy pregnancy. In retrospect, that whole baby registry thing should have clued us in, and we weren’t really paying attention when Paris Hilton announced Christina’s good news in September. Perhaps we should have paid more attention to her growing belly too. How did we not see this one coming?! [Getty]

About Last Night: Ultra Fresh Party Pics

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Movie premieres, awards shows, benefit concerts, and plain old clubbin’ – even though most of us are at home, the beautiful peeps are living it up somewhere. About Last Night puts you in touch with all the action.

Rihanna, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, 50 Cent, Ciara, Mika, Shaggy, Akon, and Patti Labelle attended the World Music Awards in Monaco.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Rock, Bai Ling, and Michelle Trachtenberg hit the red carpet at the AFI Fest 2007 screening of Southland Tales.

Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Shannyn Sossamon, Vince Vaughn, Jonathan Lipnicki, Ludacris, and the Rosso twins (in coordinating outfits, as per usual) strolled down the snow-covered red carpet for the premiere of Fred Claus.

Monday: Transformers Star Gets Hammered & Thrown in Slammer

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shia-1105.jpgT-Pain Turns Himself in to Police
That warrant for driving on a suspended license finally caught up with the rapper, who is back home after being released by the cops. [Yahoo]

Shia LaBeouf Gets Drunk & Arrested
The new Lindsay Lohan has emerged – and it’s a dude! How politically correct. [People]

Dog Chapman Booted Off TV
Say goodbye to the Bounty Hunter – A&E has pulled the show indefinitely. It’s not canceled – but it’s not on the air, either.

Britney’s Bad Parenting Skills
Oh now this makes sense – Brit left her kids in the car (monitored, but still) on one of her two visitation days while she went chandelier shopping. Surely the parenting coach has something to say about this! [DListed]

Oprah Finally Speaks About School
The talk show diva is devastated by her South African school’s drama, but is “learning” from the experience. That’s our Oprah! [TMZ]

The Shot: Series Premiere

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This Sunday at 10 p.m. EST, VH1′s latest elimination show debuts: Called The Shot, the series pits 10 fashion photographers (pictured above) against each other in a competition to win $100,000 and the chance to shoot a campaign for Victoria’s Secret. The host and lead judge is Russell James, a world-renowned photographer who has captured images for Vogue, W, Elle, GQ and a host of others. We caught up with him to discuss what makes a good photograph and to get the inside track on what to expect. Interview after the jump.

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