Stop The Presses!

Feb. 23-March 2: Britney’s Back, But Not In A Good Way

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Well, for the past few months, we haven't been writing about BritneySpears as much as we used to. In fact, we'vebarely been writing about her at all. And we'vebeen happy about this. This is a good thing. After all, there are only so many times we can rehash stories about custodybattles, hospitalizations, public meltdowns, ill-advised love affairs, and actsof underwear-eschewing before it all gets really old. And really depressing. Sowe've not been covering Britney's antics lately...and we'vebeen relieved and delighted that when we have coveredBritney, it's been in a mostlypositive and comeback-focused light, regarding matters like her high salesfigures for Circus, her upcoming stadium tour, hersurprise cameo at a Madonnaconcert, and the like.

But we got déjà vu this week when the twisted tale ofBritney and her onetime bad boyfriend, paparazzo Adnan Ghalib,topped the music news headlines again. What year is this, 2008? Anyhoo, forthose of you who've stopped keepingtrack of the Britney/Adnan saga, Adnan is currently facing three felonycounts--assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run, and battery--for allegedlyramming his car into a process server who was trying to deliver a restrainingorder on behalf of the Spears clan. (The incident reportedly resulted in theprocess server breaking his wrist while clinging to the hood of Adnan's car.) So this week, Adnan voluntarily turnedhimself in at a Van Nuys, California courthouse to face the charges (heplead "not guilty" on all three counts). Meanwhile, in a separate L.A. courthouse this week,another judge extended the temporary restraining order against Adnan, Britney's infamous ex-manager Sam Lutfi,and her ex-attorney Jon Eardley untilApril 1. 

Britney's dad andconservator, Jamie Spears, has in fact beenspending a lot of time in court lately, as he is seeking to make this temporary restrainingorder a permanent one. And he's gota whole bunch of pro-Britney witnesses lined up to testify on his troubled daughter's behalf. Among them is her hairstylist, Roberta Romero (no, NOT the woman who shaved Britney's head in Tarzana in 2007--Britney did that all by herself).

Roberta testified this week that Britney told her she was "scared" of Sam Lutfi,and said that she herself actually received text messages from Sam when he was desperately attempting to get in touch with her elusive star client. According to Roberta, Sam's texts explained that he was trying to"free" Britney.

But for the time being, it seems the only person in this storywho really needs to worry about being "free" is Adnan, whofaces up to seven years in jail if convicted on those three felony charges.

Meanwhile, one pop star who might not be in felony court any timesoon is Chris Brown. An initial arraignmentdate was set for March 5 (following his February arrest stemming from his skirmishwith ex-girlfriend Rihanna). Butaccording to Los Angeles district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison,that court appearance "may not happen. We don'thave the evidence yet. [Detectives] are still investigating. If [detectives]determine they need more time they'llset a new date for him to come into court."

Additionally, Chris may noteven have to appear in court at all. "He only has to come back if and whenwe file charges," Jane told E! News.

In fact, the L.A. districtattorney's investigation may not bean easy one. Some are speculating that Rihanna is not fully cooperating withauthorities, after she was photographed this weekend on a beach in Punta Mita, Mexico(she was previously sighted in L.A. and hernative Barbados).Is all this globe-trotting a way for Rihanna to distance herself from this situation for her privacy's sake, or is she simply in hiding because she doesn'twant to press charges against her ex? We'llhave to wait and see how the case proceeds, but another LAPD source told E!that prosecutors fear they might have trouble making felony charges (includingdomestic violence, assault, and possibly even attempted murder) stick, sincethe only direct witnesses are Rihanna and Chris.

By the way, Britney isn't the only pop star thisweek whose life was a total "circus." T-Pain,whose own recent hit album is the similarly sideshow-titled Thr33 Ringz, cancelled his appearance at Guyana's Mash 2009 Mega-Concert this week, after the event's promoter told him he'dreceived "credible death and kidnapping threats," via both email andphone, against the R&B hitmaker. T-Pain would have been the biggestAmerican entertainer to play Guyanain years had the concert gone on as planned, but he understandably felt it wasn't worth the risk. We'rehappy to report that T-Pain is safe now, but let this be a lesson to him: Somepeople must obviously really, really hateAuto-Tunes!

One concert that did go on asplanned recently was the first U.S. showin 15 years by reclusive folk-rock legend Leonard Cohen,who wowed a sold-out crowd with a two-set, six-encore, three-hourperformance at New York's Beacon Theatre. (Not bad for a 74-year-old!) TheCanadian singer-songwriter is hot on the comeback trail: His song"Hallelujah" was an iTunes hit thanks to Jason Castro's performance of it on AmericanIdol last season, and he now has a slew of concert dates scheduled for2009, including a coveted slot at California's Coachella Festival in April.

But it should benoted that one of the reasons Leonard is touring again, at such a ripe old age,is because he learned in 2005 that his ex-manager had misappropriated millions ofdollars from his retirement fund; a Los Angeles court awarded him $9.5 million in 2006, but it's unclear whether Leonard has actually recoveredany of that money.

So let Leonard and Britney'smanagerial battles serve as cautionary tales to any musician thinking ofsigning on the dotted line: Read the fine print before hiring a manager,people!

Meanwhile, a couple of reality-TV musicians dealt with careerproblems of their own this week. American Idol's Clay Aikensplit with his longtime label, BMG, following in the faded footsteps of other droppedIdol BMG signings like Taylor Hicks,Ruben Studdard, KatharineMcPhee, Blake Lewis, Justin Guarini, and Bo Bice. And 2005's Rock Star: INXS winner, the ironically named JD Fortune, told reporters this week that he is back toliving in his car (just like he was before he went on the show)after being allegedly unceremoniously fired by the '80sAussies. INXS denied JD'sclaims, but chances are if he wasn'tofficially fired already, his mouthing like that off has cost him his INXS jobnow.

Andwhile INXS were having trouble maintaining their comeback this week, andLeonard Cohen was staging a much more successful return (along with Faith No More, who announced their reunion), a few otherveteran acts were proving they never really went away. BruceSpringsteen continued his amazing upward career trajectory bysigning on to be the 2009 headliner at one of the world'sbiggest music festivals, Britain'sGlastonbury (no word yet on whether or not Noel Gallagherapproves);

U2's long-awaited new album No Line On The Horizonleaked online, much to overeager fans'delight; Stevie Wonder was presented the Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize by President Barack Obama at the White House; and membersof Hanson, SmashingPumpkins, Cheap Trick,and Fountains Of Wayne thrilled powerpopfanatics everywhere by forming a new supergroup, TintedWindows.

And with that super news, thus concludes another week inmusic news. Come back next Friday for another weekly wrap-up, and until then,goodnight and good music.

 

THIS WEEK'STOP 15 STORIES:

1) Britney'sLife Still A Circus - Her ex-boyfriend and ex-manager arecausing Spears trouble again.

2) Will Chris Brown Get His Day In Court? - Hisarraignment is postponed while police continue their investigation.

3) Life'sA Beach Again For Rihanna? - She's spotted getting some needed post-scandalR&R at a Mexican vacation spot.

4) Can'tBelieve It - T-Pain is the target of alleged kidnappingthreats.

5) Hallelujah! - Leonard Cohen returnsto the U.S.stage for the first time in 15 years.

6) Aiken A Free Agent - Clay getsdropped by his longtime record label.

7) No Online On The Horizon - U2attempt to keep their new album from leaking on the Internet.

8) Wonder At The White House - Stevie ishonored by President Obama.

9) Glastonbury's New Boss - BruceSpringsteen will headline the U.K.festival this summer.

10) Kanye, Story-Yeller - West's anti-Radiohead rant is cut from his VH1 Storytellers special.

11) French Kissoff - MGMT sue France's president, Nicholas Sarkozy, over unauthorized useof their song.

12) Faith Renewed - Faith No Moreare reuniting.

13) Barenaked Ladies Lose One Of Their Men - Longtimemember Steven Page leaves the group.

14) JD Fortune Loses Fortune - The Rock Star: INXS reality star claims he was unceremoniouslyfired by INXS.

15) Super News! - Members ofHanson, Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins, and Fountains Of Wayne form a newpowerpop supergroup.

 

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