Stop The Presses!

Feb. 16-23: He Said, She Said

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Well, the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga has been topping the headlines for a couple weeks now, ever since the onetime it-couple were no-shows at the Grammys after Rihanna was allegedly treated for injuries stemming from Chris's physical abuse. Since then, at first Rihanna avoided addressing the press, but Chris--who has lost lucrative endorsement deals and the respect of many of his peers in the aftermath of this Ike & Tina-like scandal, and is currently free on $50,000 bail while the case is being investigated--was the first to break his silence this week.

Chris issued an apologetic statement to the media, which began: "Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired. I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother, and other loved ones and I am committed, with God's help, to emerging a better person."

Chris further refuted various blogosphere rumors with: "Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong. While I would like to be able to talk about this more, until the legal issues are resolved, this is all I can say except that I have not written any messages or made any posts to Facebook, on blogs, or any place else. Those posts or writings under my name are frauds."

While Chris continued to go into damage-control overdrive (with the reported help of newly hired Alan Nierob, the same publicist retained by Mel Gibson after his DUI scandal), an anonymous friend of the then-still-silent Rihanna told the Chicago Sun-Times that Rihanna was "appalled" by her (presumably) ex-boyfriend's public apology. The source told the paper: "All of us, including Rihanna, don't understand how he can say he's sorry on the one hand, but still does not admit any guilt. He should have expressed more contrition."

But eventually--on the same day that a disturbing police photo of a battered Rihanna was leaked online, and sadly the day before what should have been a happy occasion, her 21st birthday--Rihanna broke her silence and issued her first public statement via her publicist: "At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown. She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time."

Surely this is not the end of this story, so expect more updates in future editions of this blog.

The Rihanna/Chris feud may be the saddest and baddest pop music battle going on right now, but it's not the only one. Classic rocker Peter Gabriel is also angry, and he would not like the thank the Academy. Specifically, the onetime Genesis frontman, in protest,just bowed out of the scheduled performance of his nominated Wall-E theme "Down To Earth" at this weekend's Oscar telecast. Apparently he was irate that all the Best Song nominees will be presented Sunday in a medley, and that his portion of that medley would only last a mere 65 seconds. "The songwriters are a very small part of the filmmaking process, but we still work bloody hard," he griped. "It's not going to do me any harm to make a protest [by boycotting the Oscars]." 

Meanwhile, High School Musical stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are rumored to perform at the 2009 Oscars ceremony, along with the decidedly more credible Beyonce. It is unclear whether their performances will be limited to 65 seconds or less, but in the case of Zac and Vanessa, we certainly hope so.

One artist who probably won't be at the Oscars is M.I.A., who amazed everyone by not only showing up but enthusiastically performing in some sort of sheer maternity bodysuit at the Grammy Awards, which happened to take place ON HER DUE DATE. But M.I.A. has since given birth to her son, as she announced last weekend on her MySpace page. This might make it hard for her to appear on the Oscars to perform her nominated Slumdog Millionaire song, "O Saya."

However, according to E!, she may at least attend Sunday's ceremony, and her co-nominee, composer A.R. Rahman, has reportedly and possibly only half-jokingly claimed that M.I.A. might appear as a hologram, a la's election night CNN interview.

"She's probably going to be at Oscars," a source told E!. "So that means there will be two nominees, her and Peter Gabriel, in the audience watching other people perform their songs."

Meanwhile, in other award news, the Brit Awards--the United Kingdom's equivalent of the Grammys--were held this week, and the far-and-away highlight had to be when underdog band Elbow won the Best British Group award, beating out heavyweights like Radiohead and Coldplay and pop combos Take That and Girls Aloud. The reason it was such a highlight? Their award was presented by none other than David Hasselhoff--a sure sign that the band has finally made it. "You wouldn't believe how long it's taken us to get this close to The Hoff," quipped frontman Guy Garvey in his acceptance speech. Wow, we wonder if Peter Gabriel would have second thoughts about performing at the Oscars if The Hoff were presenting the Best Song award that night?

In other movie news--albeit not regarding a movie that'll likely be up for any Oscars next year--country queen Dolly Parton has been cut out of the upcoming Hannah Montana flick. According to Dolly, the film's producers had asked her early on if she would revisit her recurring TV role as Aunt Dolly in the film, and she said, "'I would love to!' I assumed that they were gonna be writing me a part." But her character was ultimately not included in the script. "I'm not in the movie," she told the press. "I wish I had been." So apparently Aunt Dolly will not be working 9-to-5 on that movie set.

And finally, in much darker news, but back to the subject of troubled tabloid R&B couples: This week Usher's wife, Tameka Raymond, was finally released from a Sao Paulo hospital after spending 11 days recovering from a cardiac arrest she suffered before undergoing plastic surgery. According to Ellen Dastry, a spokeswoman for the Tameka's surgeon Silvio Sterman, Tameka had a heart attack while being anesthetized ahead of a "simple liposuction" at Sao Paulo's Sao Rafael Hospital two weeks ago. Thankfully she was quickly revived with a heart massage, then taken to the ICU. (This is why Usher was a no-show at the Grammys himself: He was scheduled to perform at Clive Davis's pre-Grammy bash, but cancelled to be at his wife's bedside.) We wish recently released Mrs. Usher a full recovery and good health.

And with that, thus concludes another week in music news. Come back next Friday for more headspinning headlines, and until then, goodnight and good music.



1) Good Guy Gone Bad? - Chris Brown apologizes, but Rihanna's not in a forgiving mood.

2) He Would NOT Like To Thank The Academy - Peter Gabriel is boycotting the Oscars.

3) Will M.I.A. Be M.I.A. At The Oscars? - She's rumored to appear just days after giving birth.

4) Usher's Wife's Surgery Scare - Tameka Raymond recovers from a cardiac arrest she suffered before undergoing liposuction.

5) No Shining Knight - Suge Knight pleads guilty to domestic abuse charges.

6) Louis Bellson Passes Away - The legendary jazz drummer was 84.

7) Might As Well Face It, He's Addicted To Love - Kanye West claims being a sex addict fueled his success.

8) No More Sound Of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel reunite for a surprise New York concert.

9) Goodbye, Dolly - Dolly Parton is cut from the upcoming Hannah Montana movie.

10) Knight Riding To The Top - Brit Award winners Elbow are honored by David Hasselhoff.


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