First there was soul star Natalie Cole, who while appearing on Larry King's CNN show Tuesday announced that she has been diagnosed with double-kidney failure related to her hepatitis C (the now-sober Cole attributed her illness to longtime struggles with cocaine and heroin addiction). "I couldn't breathe...my kidneys stopped functioning. They stopped processing the fluid that was starting to build up in my body," she sadly revealed.
After Cole mentioned that without a donor kidney she will be on dialysis for the rest of her life, the CNN website was inundated with email offers from Cole fans, all volunteering to donate their own kidneys to the ailing singer.
The other Natalie who made the news this week, in a far more frivolous way, was Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, who at one time caused controversy with her anti-George Bush remarks. But now Maines seems to provoke debate just by chopping off her long blonde mane. A paparazzi photograph this week of the country star wearing an extremely severe buzzcut--we're not talking the cute pixie style she rocked a few years ago, but a total Army-regulation G.I. Jane hairdo--generated messageboard frenzies across the Interweb, and the reaction was not as kind as when another Natalie, Miss Portman, sheared her own head for V For Vendetta. "She looks more like a Dixie Dude" was a typical comment.
And other blonde style-shifting pop stars made headlines this week as well. Madonna's own hairy situation continued in Malawi, as she attempted to solidify the adoption of a second African orphan, Chifundo "Mercy" James, despite protests from some detractors who claimed she was "buying" a child and using her star power to bypass typical adoption procedures. Similar protests popped up a couple years ago when Madonna adopted Malawian toddler David Banda (pictured right), but it should be noted that Malawi's child welfare minister, Anna Kachikho, publicly backed Madge's adoption bid this time around. But in the end, even having Kachikho in her corner didn't help Madonna this time, as a Malawi court shot down her adoption request on a technicality (that she did not meet an 18-to-24 month residency requirement).Lady GaGa, who delivered a knockout American Idol performance Wednesday night wearing a sure-to-be-on-trend zippered eyepatch, but just a day earlier literally knocked out three of her backup dancer's teeth at a concert for New York radio station Party 105. Apparently Lady got a little too gaga during her high-energy set and accidentally whacked the hapless dancer in the mouth with her microphone. Talk about a poker face!
Oh, and by the way, Madonna, Lady GaGa, and today's other top pop females might have some competition soon...from David Hasselhoff's daughters. Yes, 18-year-old Taylor Ann Hasselhoff and 16-year-old Hayley Amber Hasselhoff are planning, much like their part-time-pop-star dad, to take Germany and hopefully the rest of the music world by storm as a new recording duo.Miley Cyrus. This might help mend the millions of tweenage hearts undoubtedly broken by this week's news that the recent Hannah Montana movie will be Miley's last (and that the film's soundtrack failed to debut on the Billboard charts at #1). No word yet on when the Hasselhoff daughters' being-recorded-as-we-speak debut single will be released, but The Sun is reporting that the second-generation band's name might be the Hoff Drops. Seriously.
OK, enough about female pop singers...although we will quickly mention that Queen Latifah's being jointly sued by a makeup artist and a fashion stylist, and Kelly Rowland has left her record label just weeks after parting ways with her manager (Beyonce's dad, Matthew Knowles). But now....on to some male-rocker news! This weekend the latest induction ceremony for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will take place at the Rock Hall in Cleveland, and it turns out 2009 inductees Metallica's Hall performance will be a two-bassist affair. Yes, surprisingly, onetime bass-slinger Jason Newsted--who replaced original deceased bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, and left Metallica in 2001 to play with Ozzy Osbourne, Voivod, and reality-TV supergroup Rock Star Supernova--
Meanwhile, shoo-in future Hall Of Famers Green Day--whose upcoming 21st Century Breakdown album will be their first official full-length release under the Green Day moniker since 2004's 12-million-selling American Idiot--announced plans this week to bring American Idiot: The Musical to the stage. Following in the great tradition of rock musicals like the Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall, and well as punk musicals like the Ramones' Rock 'N' Roll High School, Green Day's rock opera will be directed by Michael Mayer, the Best Director Tony Award-winner for the Duncan Sheik-scored Spring Awakening. The musical will run for a month in September at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre,
Will Broadway be next? And will Metallica's Master Of Puppets be rock's next stage adaptation? Both prospects sure sound cooler than another Hannah Montana movie, that's for sure...
And so concludes another week of headspinning headlines. Come back next week for more, and until then, goodnight and good music.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Natalie Cole Fans Have Big Hearts...And Kidneys - The ailing soul star is inundated with organ-donation offers from concerned fans.
2) No Mercy For Madonna - The diva's request to adopt African orphan Chifundo "Mercy" James is denied.
3) Metallica To Kill 'Em All At Hall Of Fame Ceremony - They'll perform with ex-bassist Jason Newsted for the first time in years.
4) Kelly Rowland's Destiny Unknown - She is now without a record label or manager.
5) American Idiot: The Musical - Green Day's rock opera is heading to the legitimate stage.
6) Natalie Maines Shaves Her Mane - The Dixie Chick is now completely plucked.
7) No Kiss 'N' Make-Up - CoverGirl rep Queen Latifah is, ironically, being sued by a makeup artist.
8) Another Hot Cup Of Hoffee - David Hasselhoff's teen daughters have formed a pop band.
9) Hannah Montana's Final Cut - Miley Cyrus says there will be no more Hannah movies.
10) Lady GaGa's Knockout Performance - She accidentally knocks out a backing dancer's teeth onstage.
- Arts & Entertainment