Stop The Presses!

Dec. 8-15: The Gloves Come Off!

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Various '80s icons made news this week, for their typicalrespective reasons: Madonna for offending conservatives, Michael Jackson for being broke, and Paula Abdulfor being the center of an American Idol scandal. Let's get started...

First, there was Madonna, still causing controversy andirritating Catholic leaders after all these years. This week she made herfirst-ever concert tour stop in Chile,which led the country's retired Roman Catholic Cardinal Jorge Medinato denounce her during a speech honoring late dictator AugustoPinochet. "This woman comes here and in an incredibly shamelessmanner, she provokes a crazy enthusiasm, an enthusiasm of lust, lustfulthoughts, impure thoughts," he disapprovingly declared. (Um, is this guy just figuring this out? Apparently Jorge has never watchedthe director's cut of the "Justify My Love" video, heard "Like AVirgin," or flipped through Madge's Sex book.)

Soaccording to her recent hit single, Madonna's only got four minutes to save theworld...but it took her even less time for her to tick off an entire South Americancountry. And she didn't even need Justin Timberlake'shelp this time!

Meanwhile, Madge's former Oscar date and Justin's heroMichael Jackson is running out of time to save his empire. This week Jacko,possibly hurting for cash after his recent out-of-court settlement of a lawsuitfiled by a Bahraini sheik, announced he's auctioning off the famous sequinedglove from his "Billie Jean" video to the highest bidder--along with2,000 other MJ memorabilia items, like the Neverland Ranch gates and statuesfrom his personal art collection. And while portions of the proceeds from the auctionwill go to the worthy charity MusiCares, therest of the money will go to the charity unofficially known as the Michael JacksonIs Broke Foundation.

Pop star-turned-AmIdol judgePaula Abdul made news this week too, when she straight-up accused Idol producers of putting her in harm's way. During aninterview on The View--and later in more depthon Sirius XM Radio--Paula told Barbara Waltersthat the Idol powers-that-be allegedly allowed season5 reject Paula Goodspeed (who was recently founddead of a possible drug overdose/suicide near Abdul's home) to audition for theshow, even though they knew the troubled woman had stalked Abdul for amost two decades. Abdultold Walters that Goodspeed had written her "disturbing letters" for 18years, but Goodspeed was nevertheless brought on the show "forentertainment value." According to Abdul: "This was something thatwould make good television....I said, 'This girl is a stalker of mine andplease do not let her in....[But] it's fun for [the producers] to cause mestress."

Yikes. If Paula's claims are true, it any wonder she doeswacky stuff (like critique Jason Castrosongs that were never even performed, or appear to be intoxicated during live TVinterviews, or clap like a seal) when she has to work under such stressful conditions?

In happier news, several other acts made comebacks thisweek. Britpop legends Blur announced they'rereuniting for their first original-lineup concert since 2002, playing a big gig at London's Hyde Park July 3; Kiss, possibly takinga cue from their huge-selling hard rock peers AC/DC,announced they're working on their first new album in 10 years; and veteranR&B/hip-hop cult faves the Roots werehired to be Jimmy Fallon's small-screen houseband when Jimmy takes over Conan O'Brien'slate-night NBC slot in March 2009.

And finally, speaking of veteran R&B/hip-hop artists, ourcongratulations go out to Usher, whowelcomed his second son into the world this week, and our well-wishes go out toToni Braxton, who just revealed thatshe recently underwent surgery to remove a (thankfully benign) breast tumor. Wewish them both the best.

And so, thus concludes another week of headspinningheadlines. Come back next Friday for more music-news updates, and until then,goodnight and good music.



1) Paula Abdul Is Straight-Up With BarbaraWalters - In acontroversial interview, she claims Idolproducers put her in danger.

2) Any Love For Jacko's Glove? - A cash-strapped Michael Jacksonis auctioning off his most famous sequined accessory.

3) Madonna's Chilly Chile Reception - A Madge-denouncing South AmericanCatholic leader expresses himself.

4) Coldplagiarism? - Chris Martin insists "VivaLa Vida" is not a ripoff of a Joe Satriani song.

5) Kiss And Make Up - Hard rockers Kiss are recordingtheir first new album in a decade.

6) Usher Ushers A New Child Into TheWorld - His wifegives birth to their second son.

7) Braxton's Heath Battle - Toni reveals that she recently underwent tumor-removalsurgery.

8) Blur Back In The Clear - The '90s Britpop legends arereuniting.

9) DMX's Ruff Ride - The rapper is arrested yet again.

10) Jimmy Fallon Grows Roots - He hires them to be the house bandon his new talk show.

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