Stop The Presses!

April 27-May 4: Random Acts Of Newsiness

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Here at That's Really Week, we usually notice patterns in the news, or try to group stories in some sort of logical and organized manner as we report them. It's actually amazing how often news stories conveniently coincide, with several stars all having babies/getting arrested/going to court/filing for divorce/overdosing/whatever-ing all in the same week. It's like they all got a memo or something. But regardless of the reason for such synergy, it of course makes our news-compiling job much easier.

But this week, no such luck. A bunch of random stuff just...happened. The only common denominator among this week's top stories, really, is that they are all pretty interesting. So, here they are...randomly.

First up, this week Nas and Kelis, the ultimate power-couple of alternative hip-hop, sadly announced that they are getting divorced after four years of marriage--AND after seven months of Kelis's pregnancy with their first child. Kelis's due date is this summer, but by then her split from Nas might already be legalized and final. We suppose this means that the newly single new mom's milkshake will once again be bringing the boys to the yard.

Also this week, police returned to Rihanna the $1.4 million in jewelry she was wearing the night of her infamous Grammy-weekend skirmish with her own ex, Chris Brown. The earring and three rings she was wearing on that fateful evening were on loan to her by four different high-end jewelry companies, all of which understandably wanted the pricey baubles (described by Rihanna's lawyer as being fashioned from "yellow metal" and "white stones") returned ASAP; however, the bling was seized by police as evidence in Chrianna assault case for months. As of this week, the shiny gold trinkets have finally been released, though the reputations of Rihanna and especially Chris remain somewhat tarnished.

In vaguely related news, only in the sense that it involves a) legal matters, b) reimbursement, and c) tarnished reputations, this week veteran rockers Aerosmith were sentenced to some not-so-cruel but definitely unusual punishment: playing a mandated concert in Hawaii. Yeah, that sure beats working on a chain gang or picking up trash on the side of the road to fulfill one's community-service debt to society, huh? Sheesh, those rock stars with their high-class lawyers get all the breaks. But while this judgment might seem like a typical special-celebrity-treatment slap on the wrist, there was a method to the judge's madness here. See, in 2007 Aerosmith cancelled a sold-out show in Maui; this resulted in a class-action lawsuit filed by the 8,300 ticket-holders who claimed they collectively lost somewhere between $500,000 and $3 million in travel costs and other expenses thanks to Aerosmith's flakiness. So now Aerosmith will make it up to those fans with a rescheduled Hawaiian concert, and they will also reimburse all the fans' out-of-pocket expenses associated with the original cancelled gig. When the 'Smith return to Hawaii to play the make-good show this fall, it'll bring new meaning to their song "Permanent Vacation."

Meanwhile, another veteran rock star, Prince, gained some new fans when he publicly discussed his childhood epileptic experiences for the very first time on PBS. The normally reticent Purple One revealed to talk show host Tavis Smiley this week: "I used to have seizures when I was young and my mother and father didn't know what to do and how to handle it, but they did the best they could with what little they had." He also stated: "Early in my career I tried to compensate for [my epilepsy] by being as flashy as I could and as noisy as I could."

His openness subsequently earned him glowing kudos from the Epilepsy Foundation. After Prince's interview, Epilepsy Foundation president/CEO Eric R. Hargis declared: "We are incredibly grateful that Prince has shown everyone with epilepsy the importance of following your dreams and talking about the condition." Epilepsy Foundation spokesman and Heroes actor Greg Grunberg added: "I can't thank Prince enough for sharing his personal story. My son had such a smile this morning when I told him that Prince had epilepsy and has gone on to live his dream of making music and changing lives. I welcome Prince to the community of celebrities and entertainers who are talking about epilepsy."

Meanwhile, in not nearly as serious but still big-deal news (to American Idol fans, at least), season 8 frontrunner Adam Lambert's dream of "making music and changing lives" almost came to an end this week, when for reasons that will forever remain as mysterious as the origins of Stonehenge or the evolutionary order of the chicken and egg, he landed in the bottom two. Had he actually been voted off this prematurely, it surely would have been the biggest, most heartbreaking shocker in Idol history--worse than Chris Daughtry, Constantine Maroulis, Michael Johns, and Tamyra Gray's eliminations combined. But instead wild card/judges' save underdog Matt Giraud went home, and Adam survived to sing on next week's "Rock 'N' Roll Night" with special guest Slash. And we bet Adam's freaked-out fanbase will be speed-dialing until their fingers are bloodied nubs next week, to ensure such a close call does not happen again.

Adam wasn't the only reality-TV singer in the headlines this week. Over in the U.K. on Simon Cowell's other hit show, Britain's Got Talent, 10-year-old singing ballerina Hollie Steel totally stole breakout star Susan Boyle's thunder with her note-perfect, watercooler-buzzy performance of My Fair Lady's "I Could Have Danced All Night." Hmmm...a plain, older woman being upstaged by a younger, cuter, fairer new lady on the scene? Gee, that never happens in showbiz!

In other U.K. television news, a commercial starring punk legend Iggy Pop for Swiftcover insurance was yanked from the airwaves by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but not for the reasons one might expect something Iggy-related to be banned. No, he wasn't mutilating himself with broken glass, exposing himself, smearing his naked chest with peanut butter, or up to any of his usual antics. The commercial was actually pulled from the air just for being misleading, because Swiftcover did not cover musicians at the time that the ad was shot.

This of course makes us wonder if Iggy has ever really sailed on a Royal Caribbean Cruise (which bizarrely uses Iggy's Trainspotting-popularized drug anthem "Lust For Life" in its ads), drives a Cadillac (which uses his song with the Teddybears, "Punkrocker," in its campaign), or wears Nikes (which once used the Iggy & The Stooges' "Search & Destroy" in a famous commercial). Really now, how many celebrity endorsers actually buy all the products advertised in commercials using their music or likenesses, anyway?

In other news, Taylor Swift is in a position to buy pretty much whatever she wants now, as this week the country starlet landed at number four on Forbes' list of top earners in country music (with an estimated projected take-in of $18 million for 2009). And she did this despite a) being only 19 years old, b) being a relatively new artist in a genre normally dominated by veterans, and c) recording in a genre that experienced a 24 percent sales drop last year. Talk about a Swift rise to the top!

And finally, since not everyone is making as much money as Taylor Swift these days, Coldplay are luring cash-strapped fans to their concerts in these tough economic times by giving away a free, nine-track, live CD titled LeftRightLeftRightLeft at all their shows this year. The band explained in a statement that this is their "recession-busting mark of gratitude" to their fanbase. Then they cracked open some Cristal, lit some cigars with $100 bills, and flew off in a private jet to the first gig on their tour. Just kidding.

And that's our random assortment of news for the week. Come back next Friday when we try to make some order out of next week's headlines, and until then, goodnight and good music.

 

THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:

1) Hip-Hop Love Is Dead - Nas and his seven-months-pregnant wife Kelis file for divorce.

2) Prince's New Revolution - His surprise PBS interview creates more awareness for epilepsy.

3) Here Today, Gone To Maui - A judge orders Aerosmith to play a make-up concert for jilted Hawaiian fans.

4) Good Jewelry Gone Bad - $1.4 million in confiscated bling is finally returned to Rihanna by police.

5) Taylor's Swift Rise - The 19-year-old lands at #4 on the Forbes list of top country earners.

6) Adam Lambert Feeling Bad - His "Feeling Good" performance inexplicably almost gets the frontrunner eliminated on American Idol.

7) Lungs Of Steel - Singing ballerina Hollie Steel is the latest breakout darling on Britain's Got Talent.

8) Big Fun In The Big Easy - The New Orleans Jazzfest kicks off.

9) Iggy Ad Searched, Destroyed - Punk legend Pop's "misleading" commercial is pulled from the air by advertising watchdogs.

10) Free Play! - Coldplay thank recession-wary fans by giving away a free CD to all concertgoers.

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