Stop The Presses!

Jan. 26 – Feb. 2: Big Fat Rumors, Big Fat Jokes

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

This week was full of shockers, starting with the rumor--circulated by British tabloids the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Telegraph--that Paul McCartney got engaged to Nancy Shevell, his girlfriend of less than a year whom he began dating in the midst of his multimillion-dollar divorce battle from second wife Heather Mills. Our immediate response upon hearing this gossip was to simply shake our heads in disbelief and wonder why Sir Paul can't just be happy doing the bachelor thing and serial-dating a series of actresses (before Nancy came along, he was romantically linked to Rosanna Arquette, the woman who inspired Toto's "Rosanna"). And our second instinct was to suggest Paul phone up his old lawyer, Fiona Shackleton, and have her draw up some prenup papers, pronto. However, we later learned that Nancy is a wealthy woman herself--she's spent the last 25 years working in a high position at her father's New England Motor Freight Company, and since 2001 has been a member of the board of New York State's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. So we breathed a sigh of relief that Macca's possible wife #3 doesn't seem to be a gold-digger. But it wouldn't hurt for Paul (who, incidentally, was just announced as the headliner for this year's Coachella rock festival) to give Fiona a call, just in case--if this rumor is true.

By the way, another British pop star, Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell, officially got engaged to a man she's known for even less time than Paul's known Nancy: her beau of just one month, Italian yacht tycoon Fabrizio Politi. Curses to Macca for totally upstaging such normally major news!

Anyway, the other big shocker of the week came when failed pop star turned failed country star Jessica Simpson performed at the Kiss Country Chili Cookout in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and failed to impress some the attending concertgoers--or more specifically, the attending paparazzi--with her suddenly fuller figure. (Jessica had appeared to have gained about 20 pounds.) Now, we still think she looked fabulous and not at all "fat"--imagine how many women in America would be thrilled to look the way Jessica looks right now--but obviously her curvier physique was a stark contrast to the leaner, Daisy Duke'd hardbody she was rocking back in her Dukes Of Hazzard prime, when she was probably working out eight hours a day with Gunnar Peterson in order to fit into those notoriously tiny denim hotpants.

And let's face it, high-waisted jeans look good on NO ONE, not even 80-pound weaklings, so Jessica's unflattering outfit certainly didn't help. Bloggers--and readers who commented on all those blogs--were extremely unkind to Jess with all their fat jokes, which prompted Jessica's little sister, Ashlee, to protest on her MySpace page. "I am completely disgusted by the headlines concerning my sister's weight," Ashlee wrote. "A week after the inauguration and with such a feeling of hope in the air for our country, I find it completely embarrassing and belittling to all women to read about a woman's weight or figure as a headline on Fox News." Wow, what an unusually and uncharacteristically intelligent comment from the Simpson sister. She's right. And come to think of it, on the subject of the inauguration--we bet President Obama thinks Jessica looks just fine.

Another female pop singer going through changes was former Destiny's Child sidekick Kelly Rowland, who this week finally escaped from the looming shadow of her more-famous ex-bandmate, Beyonce, by cutting ties with Beyonce's dad, Matthew Knowles. Until this week, Matthew was still officially Kelly's manager, which might explain why Kelly's two solo albums, Simply Deep and Ms. Kelly, weren't exactly huge sellers like, say, Beyonce's Crazy In Love and B'Day. Because let's face it, Beyonce's father, who also manages Beyonce herself, was never going to make Kelly a priority. Now, with new and impartial management, Kelly might have a shot at having a career as fierce as Sasha Fierce's.

Another Kelly whose career was on the upswing this week was Kelly Clarkson. Not long ago, she publicly battled with Clive Davis and other American Idol bigwigs over creative control (the result--her darker, harder, sadder, and largely self-penned third album, My December--was a sales disappointment, at least partially because of Clive's sour-grapey anti-Kelly campaign).

But eventually Kelly got back in line, did what her label told her, and started letting Swedish pop-machine pros write her songs again. And well, maybe Clive was right after all (even though many of us here liked My December and thought all the negative press surrounding it was worse than the treatment Jessica Simpson received this week). Because guess what? Kelly The C's new pop song, "My Life Would Suck Without You," is now a MASSIVE hit. This week it jumped from #97 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, thus setting a new record for the biggest leap into the top spot in the chart's 50-year history. (Sorry, Britney--your record set by "Womanizer," just last October, has already been shattered.) The song also entered the Hot Digital Songs chart at #1, selling about 280,000 downloads in its first week. Kelly is definitely back, and we're certainly thrilled to see her ruling the charts again, even if it's with a song she wasn't allowed to write herself.

Meanwhile, another troubled pop star and fallen idol, Michael Jackson, attempted to make another comeback this week, announcing that Thriller was set to become a Broadway musical. We were all excited, imagining a Broadway stage with light-up floor tiles a la the "Billie Jean" video...but when word got out that the musical's plot would follow that of his famous extendo-length "Thriller" video, that video's director, John Landis, was none too thrilled. Only a day after Nederlander Productions issued a press release about Jacko's musical, Landis (who co-wrote and directed the "Thriller" video in 1983) filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit accused Michael of "fraudulent, malicious and oppressive conduct," and claimed that Landis had not received his 50 percent share of the profits from "Thriller"--including licensing rights--for at least the past four years. Looks like the real "Thriller" drama will soon take place in an L.A. courtroom, not on a New York stage.

And finally, in other shocker (and not-so-thrilling) news, there were some deaths to report this week. (Seems like we've doing way too much of that lately.) Cult-favorite Scottish singer-songwriter John Martyn (pictured right) passed away at age 60; Billy Powell, keyboardist for unluckiest band in the world Lynyrd Skynyrd, died at age 58; and a Slipknot fan suffered a heart attack while attending a Slipknot concert in the band's home state of Iowa. We send our condolences and well-wishes to the families and friends of all three casualties.

And so, on that bummer note, so concludes another weekly wrapup. Come back next week for more headspinning headlines, and until then...goodnight, and good music.



1) The Great Weight Debate - Some people think Jessica Simpson is TOO big of a star now.

2) All Paul Needs Is Love? - McCartney is rumored to marry for the third time.

3) John Martyn Passes Away - The Scottish folk guitar legend was only 60 years old.

4) Clarkson's Comeback - Kelly gets back in Clive's good graces and sets a new chart record.

5) Kelly's New Destiny - Rowland cut managerial ties with Beyonce's dad.

6) Broadway Thriller? - Michael Jackson is working on a  new musical, but legal battles may keep it from hitting the stage,

7) Oasis To Get Justice? - Noel Gallagher's attacker faces 14 years in prison.

8) More Bad Luck For Skynyrd - Their keyboardist Billy Powell dies.

9) Skipknot Tragedy - A concertgoer dies at one of their shows.

10) Spicy Marriage - Geri Halliwell is tying the knot.

View Comments