Sunday, 10 August 2008

Bernie Mac Remembered By Ice Cube, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Chris Rock And More

Bernie Mac's colleagues and co-stars were quick to pay tribute to the late comedian and actor after his death at age 50 from complications of pneumonia early Saturday.

"Today and tomorrow will never be as funny as yesterday, without Bernie Mac, a true original," Ice Cube, who directed Mac in his first significant movie role as Pastor Clever in 1995's "Friday," told MTV News.

Mac's "Ocean's Eleven," "Twelve" and "Thirteen" co-star George Clooney echoed Ice Cube's lament. "The world just got a little less funny," he said in a statement to "Entertainment Tonight." "He will be dearly missed."

Fellow "Ocean's" co-star Brad Pitt added in a statement to E! Online: "I lament the loss of a ferociously funny and hard-core family man. My thoughts are with [his wife], Rhonda, and their family. Bernie Mac, you are already missed."

Chris Rock, who worked with Mac in "Head of State," called him "one of the best and funniest comedians to ever live, but that was the second-best thing he did. Bernie was one of the greatest friends a person could have," he told E!. "Losing him is like losing 12 people, because he absolutely filled up any room he was in. I'm gonna miss the Mac Man."

Later this fall, Mac will be seen in "Soul Men" opposite Samuel L. Jackson, but in a statement to People, Jackson emphasized the actor's personal qualities. "He was also an attentive husband, a great father and loving grandfather," Jackson said. "I feel blessed to have shared years of friendship with Bernie Mac, and I'm honored to have finally co-starred with him in what I consider to be his finest cinematic acting achievement."

Cedric the Entertainer — who appeared with Mac on "The Original Kings of Comedy" tour, which was made into a movie and a Grammy-nominated album in 2001 — called Mac "a brother, a friend and one of the comic masters of our time. Sharing the marquee with him during the phenomenon of the 'Kings of Comedy' tour bonded us like family, and created a unique moment in comic history, marking some of the most meaningful, memorable and fun times of our lives," Cedric told E!. "His comedic approach was his own brand and will definitely stand the test of time. The level of his talent always inspired me, and other comedians, to 'bring their A-game.' I promise you that you never wanted to be the guy who had to follow Bernie's set!"

Niecy Nash, who played Mac's little sister on his Emmy-winning Fox sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show" from 2001-2006, told Us, "Bernie Mac was the personification of the word 'real.' He kept it real," she said. "That kind of genuine spirit that he carried all time cannot be easily duplicated, but I will do my very best to try."

Mac is survived by his wife, Rhonda McCullough, their daughter, Je'Niece, a son-in-law and a granddaughter. According to People, his funeral is scheduled for this Friday at an undisclosed location, and the family requests that donations be made to the Bernie Mac Foundation for Sarcoidosis, 40 E. Ninth St., Suite 601, Chicago, Illinois, 60605.

Miley Cyrus To Face Off Against Tokio Hotel For Best New Artist At VMAs

Each year, one of the most coveted trophies handed out at the MTV Video Music Awards is the Moonman for Best New Artist. Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Eminem, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and 50 Cent are among the award's previous winners, while Gym Class Heroes walked away with the honor last year.

Britney Spears Tapes Commercial -- With LL Cool J, Pete Wentz, Russell Brand -- For MTV Video Music Awards

Britney Spears' performance at last year's MTV Video Music Awards was memorable in ways the singer would probably not prefer.

But Brit's joined forces with this year's VMA host, Russell Brand, along with LL Cool J and FNMTV host/ Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz for a comical improvised promo for this year's show.

In the promo, which was filmed this week, Spears riffs with Brand in an improvisational Q&A session, during which Brand suggests there's some sexual tension between them — "I didn't feel any tension," Brit quips. She also shows some of the comedic chops she employed during her two-episode stint this spring on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother,", joking that she has no idea who Brand is, at one point calling him, "Russell Brown"; LL Cool J calls him "Russell Bland."

While it remains unconfirmed whether Spears will appear at this year's show — which will be broadcast live from the legendary Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood on September 7 — the singer is nominated for two Moonmen: in the Best Female and Best Pop Video categories, for her track "Piece of Me."

Incredibly, despite 16 nominations in previous years, Spears has never won a Moonman, but is hoping to break that dry spell next month.

This year, she'll face off against Katy Perry, Rihanna, Jordin Sparks, and Mariah Carey — another artist with several VMAs nods under her belt but no statuette — for Best Female Video, and will contend with Danity Kane, the Jonas Brothers, Panic at the Disco and Tokio Hotel for the Best Pop Video prize.

The 25th VMAs will take place at the legendary Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood on September 7. The Jonas Brothers and Lil Wayne are confirmed to perform.

Rick Ross, DJ Khaled Kick Off <i>Ozone</i> Awards Festivities, In <i>You R Here</i>

As the parties surrounding Monday’s Ozone magazine award show began early Sunday morning, Rick Ross and DJ Khaled rocked the Warehouse in Houston with Miami Mayback Music mayhem.

Ross, whose named shined on the marquee outside, took the wheel with “I’m So Hood” (”Who da bessssss? Weeeeeeeeee!” Khaled yelled during the song) and “Out Here Grindin.” Khaled then introduced his artist Ace Hood on “Cash Flow.”

“I been in the game 10 years, walking around with white shoes on, and n—as ain’t stepped on my sh–s yet,” Ross told the crowd about his clout. He also acknowledged the influence on his career, and the rap game overall, of Rap-A-Lot CEO J. Prince, who was one of the spectators onstage.

Crooked I, Lil’ Flip and Chamillionaire were also onstage, getting an extra-close view of the show. Before he left, Ross also gave tribute to UGK.

See all of troysfinest007’s uploads at!

Bernie Mac Dead At 50

Bernie Mac, the actor and comedian who worked his way to stardom from humble beginnings on Chicago's tough South Side, died early Saturday at the age of 50, according to The Associated Press.

"Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement. She said no other details were available and requested that his family's privacy be respected. Earlier this week she had said reports of Mac's serious illness were overstated and that he was expected to make a full recovery.

In recent years, Mac (real name: Bernard Jeffery McCullough) had battled an inflammatory lung disease known as sarcoidosis, which causes inflammation in the lungs, lymph nodes and other organs. It had been in remission since 2005, and Smith had said Mac's pneumonia was not related to it.

In addition to his appearance in last year's hit "Transformers," Mac had recently been working on the TV series "Starting Under," as well as several films, including the Samuel L. Jackson flick "Soul Men" (slated for release later this year) and the John Travolta comedy "Old Dogs," which is scheduled for a 2009 release. The status of those films was unclear at press time.

Recently Mac made headlines when he attended a Barack Obama fundraiser and made a few lighthearted comments about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. "I'm proud of him because politics is dirty, especially with Republicans," he said. "People like rumors. They are going to say things like, you know, 'You was in the club with Lil' Kim, and you and Kanye West got in a fistfight.' " The comments garnered a rebuke from Obama's campaign.

Mac (Bernard Jeffrey McCullough) was born on October 5, 1957, in Chicago, and grew up on the city's South Side, according to AP. His first standup performance was at a church dinner when he was 8, and he began doing standup at clubs in Chicago at 20. His film career began with a small role in "Mo' Money" in 1992. Mac went on to appear in the "Ocean's 11" films with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, "Guess Who" with Ashton Kutcher, "Bad Santa," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and other films.

Mac is perhaps best known for his Fox television series "The Bernie Mac Show," which aired from 2001 to 2006. The series, about a man's adventures raising his sister's three children, won a Peabody Award in 2002, and earned Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Mac. He also was nominated for a Grammy award for best comedy album in 2001, with his "The Original Kings of Comedy" co-stars, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer.

Mac is survived by his wife, Rhonda McCullough, their daughter, Je'Niece, a son-in-law and a granddaughter.

Ludacris, T.I. 'Wish You Would' Believe There's No Beef Between Them

Forget the feuding, make history, get money. Jay-Z and Nas taught us that secret to success a couple of years ago, and now two of the other biggest names in hip-hop are following in their footsteps. Ludacris and T.I. seem to have kicked their storied rivalry to the side of the road. The two appear on Luda's new record "Wish You Would."

'Breaking Dawn' Exclusive: 'Twilight' Author Stephenie Meyer Reacts To Harsh Reader Complaints -- 'It Hurts'

Last Saturday afternoon, less than a day after "Breaking Dawn," the conclusion of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, hit shelves, the Internet grumblings began. Of course, many readers were still eagerly drinking up the saga of Edward and Bella. But one fast reader expressed her disappointment in the book by launching a discussion on urging fellow disgruntled fans, "Don't burn your copies of the book — RETURN THEM."

(SPOILER ALERT, though we'll try to keep them vague for all you slowpokes.) And judging by the heated back-and-forth that followed, there are plenty of other Twilighters complaining about what is or isn't in the book: the lack of more explicit sex scenes, the excessive amount of sex scenes, the implausibility of Bella's pregnancy, the pace of the story, the lack of a big battle scene, the whole Jacob section, and on and on. One blogger told Entertainment Weekly that the story "didn't seem to fit the world that I thought Stephenie Meyer created." So how does the author feel about this venomous reaction to the novel that sold 1.3 million copies in its first day?

Jonas Brothers Fever Hits New York At Group's 'Good Morning America' Appearance

NEW YORK — Mothers, hide your daughters: Jonas Brothers mania has taken over New York City.

The trio of teen heartthrobs — Nick, Joe and Kevin — rocked a packed Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan for their "Good Morning America" appearance Friday (August 8), wooing both daughters and mothers alike. One mom held a sign that read, "Make me a Jonas mother-in-law"!

Muslim-American Marine Helps Break Down Cultural, Language Barriers

Ahmed Shama was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in New York in a Muslim household. He began studying the Quran at a young age with his father, who, like Shama's mother, is a devout Muslim.

Why Did Diddy Go After James Montgomery On 'FNMTV'?

So by now you’ve probably seen my terrifying run-in with Diddy on “FNMTV.” Watching it back, it’s even more amazing now — especially since, when it happened, it was such a blur.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, basically, on this week’s “FN,” Diddy showed up with his newest protégé a smooth R&B crooner by the name of Donnie Klang. Diddy and Donnie then premiered their new video, “Take You There,” which is full of models and bottles of vodka, which means it is a lot like other Bad Boy videos released over the past year. Two Bad Boy videos — from Day26 and Danity Kane — had premiered on previous episodes of the show, and I had been rather harsh to both of them.

Apparently, Diddy watches the show.

Before we started taping, it seemed like he was glaring at me backstage, but I figured he was just deep in thought or something, so I ignored it — surely, Diddy had no idea who I was. But when it came time for the panel — of which Tim Kash and I are members, along with a guest (Jordin Sparks this week) — to talk about D&D’s new video, Diddy bum-rushed the stage, leaned on my shoulder and stared daggers at me until it came time for me to render my verdict on the clip. (I believe this is called “intimidation.”)

Of course, I said that while the kids liked the video, I didn’t see much of anything in it that would separate Donnie from the field of light-hued R&B guys out there, at which point Diddy lost his sh–, yelling, “Who the f— are you?!?! How many hit records do you have?!?!?!” at me (OK, he does have a point there), then stomping around the panel. I sort of looked on in amazement while he continued to rant, stopping only to grab my head and plant a big wet kiss on my cheek. The audience cheered like crazy — and then Diddy was gone, off into the Los Angeles night.

In the aftermath, people have been e-mailing me questions like “What does Diddy smell like??!?!” or “Were you scared he was going to beat you with a phone or a champagne bottle?!?!” And my answers are this: Diddy smells like lotion and rich mahogany; and no, I wasn’t scared, primarily because I didn’t think even he’d be crazy enough to pound on me while cameras rolled and 500 kids looked on.

Actually, I think he was more “TV mad” (i.e. “acting”) than he was actually upset. And he did kiss me, which was sort of nice.

So I guess Diddy and I are good. At least I hope we are. At the very least, we made TV magic together — and that’s got to count for something.

Chris Brown Talks About His 'Killer' Role In T.I.-Produced Flick 'The Heist'

When you think of Chris Brown, you might think of a smiling R&B heartthrob. But all that could change when "The Heist," which begins production in September, comes out.

In it, he'll be playing a murderous bank robber.

"It's a movie called 'The Heist' that I'm doing with T.I., Idris Elba and Matt Dillon," he told MTV News recently at the Teen Choice Awards, where he walked away with four awards.

Metallica Look Back At <i>... And Justice For All</i>; Plus Hatebreed, At All Cost &amp; More News That Rules, In <i>Metal File</i>

Next month marks the 20th anniversary of Metallica's ... And Justice for All, which is perhaps one of the most important studio offerings of the band's illustrious career. Not only was it Metallica's first LP following the untimely passing of bassist Cliff Burton, it shot straight to #6 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum just nine weeks after it first hit stores.

The now-classic album signaled many other firsts for Metallica: It was the first record to feature new bassist Jason Newsted, it netted them their first Grammy nomination, and it featured the single "One," for which they shot their first-ever music video. Since its release, Justice has scanned more than 8 million copies in the U.S. alone, and it helped cement their status as a rock and roll force to be reckoned with.

In summation, it was a momentous release for Metallica, one that changed the entire trajectory of the band's career. Now, 20 years later, we've spoken to the group's members, asking them to think back to that time and reflect on the importance of what may be one of their most beloved efforts.

"Justice obviously was a huge record for us. ... We took the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets concept as far as we could take it," drummer Lars Ulrich reflected. "There was no place else to go with the progressive, nutty, sideways side of Metallica, and I'm so proud of the fact that, in some way, that album is kind of the epitome of that progressive side of us up through the '80s."

Ulrich said that when he listens to the album now, he thinks it still holds up. He feels Justice was an album Metallica — who, starting October 20, will headline their first U.S. arena tour since 2004 — had to make, in order to progress as a band and mature.

"It's aged quite well," he said. "There's a certain kind of specific sound to that record, peculiar sound — whichever adverb you want to choose — that's given it a kind of life of its own and a little bit of a vibe all its own. There have been a lot of great musicians we admire who've come up and talked about what a great inspiration that album has been to them and to their sound. It's obviously awesome to be part of that. That album also sent us on this whole other merry way, because when we came back from touring on that record in 1989, we were like, 'We have nothing more to offer on this side of Metallica,' and that set us off on some other adventures. When I think of the nine records we've put out, it's impossible for me to think of the music without thinking of the experience. And when I think of the experience, I have warm and fuzzy feelings, but I also have questions. Obviously, Justice is well-revered, especially among a lot of our peers."

According to frontman James Hetfield, Justice provided a showcase for what Metallica were capable of — both as a band and as individual players.

Police Have Close Shave At Their Last-Ever Concert. By Kurt Loder

NEW YORK — Sting marked the end of the year-and-a-half-long Police reunion tour Thursday night by shaving off his tour beard before the marveling eyes of a sold-out house at Madison Square Garden. I think that's what was going on anyway.

After an hour of vintage hits, the bassist and his accumulation of salt-and-pepper facial scrub left the stage — along with bandmates Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, of course — to await the traditional audience demand for an encore. After a few minutes, the big video screen above the stage blinked back on, and we saw Sting, now fetchingly bare-chested, stretched out in a backstage makeup chair while two women with electric clippers set about buzzing off the famous beard. Out front, the crowd watched in something like wonder. You could feel their hopes rise after the women reduced the foliage to a modest stubble and snicked off their trimmers; and you could feel them subside again when one of the amateur barbers slopped a large handful of shaving cream onto Sting's face and the process continued, this time with razors. I thought to myself, "People will pay to see anything."

The whole ritual took less time than one might have feared, although more than one would have preferred, and when it was over, the band returned and played for another half hour. After 150 shows, they were in top form. (I would personally pay money to watch Copeland geniusing around on drums in an otherwise empty room.) The 18,000-some people on hand — who stayed on their feet through the whole concert — loved it loudly.

There was one other unusual moment. It had come earlier, when, in the middle of a song, three girls stepped out onto the side of the stage and began shimmying with abandon. These were not the sort of dancers one usually sees disporting themselves behind singers who aren't actually singing. No, these were clearly civilians. And when they were joined by two boys entering from the other side of the stage, it became clear that they were all offspring of the stars. It was very sweet. When the song ended and the kids scampered away, Sting stepped to the mike and said, "Between us we must have 21 children." Then he said — and this was the unusual part — "We've been on tour for 30 years." I don't know what anyone else made of this, but I wondered to myself, "What, uh, does he mean by that?"

John Edwards -- Onetime Presidential Candidate -- Admits Extramarital Affair

For months, the national political press had been strangely muted about a November 2007 National Enquirer tabloid story that claimed to offer proof that former Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Edwards had been involved in an extramarital affair, as well as a more recent Enquirer story that claimed the affair may have resulted in the birth of an illegitimate child.

But on Friday (August 8), after months of denials, Edwards, admitted that he had carried on an affair with Rielle Hunter, though he has denied paternity of the child. The revelation came in an interview with ABC News, in which the former North Carolina senator confessed to lying during his run for president about the affair with the budding 44-year-old filmmaker.

Though he has not taken a paternity test, Edwards reportedly told ABC News that he knew he was not the father of Hunter's child, Frances Quinn, based on the timing of the baby's birth, February 27, 2008. He said the affair ended too soon for him to have been the father, though in a bizarre twist, one of Edwards' campaign aides, Andrew Young, has said that he is the father of the baby.

Late Friday afternoon, Edwards issued a statement that reads in part: "In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.

"I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. ... I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby."

The revelation of the covered-up affair is a huge blow to the political career of the charismatic, 54-year-old one-term senator and 2004 vice-presidential hopeful, who has spent much of the past four years working on poverty issues and, before dropping out in January, visiting the key states in the 2008 presidential election.

On Thursday, his hometown newspaper, the Charlotte Observer, quoted several prominent local politicians urging Edwards to more vehemently confront the Enquirer allegations or else risk losing a prominent speaking slot at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. That prime-time spot now seems entirely out of reach, and an analyst on CNN speculated that the revelation of the deceit could also jeopardize Edwards' chances of getting a position in a Democratic White House should Senator Barack Obama win in November — or even of continuing his political career at all.

According to CNN, Edwards' wife, Elizabeth Edwards — who has been very ill with a recurrence of cancer — became aware of the affair in 2006. When first confronted with the story following an October 2007 report in the tabloid, Edwards and his campaign staff strongly denied it, with Edwards telling reporters at the time, "The story is false, it's completely untrue, it's ridiculous." The Edwardses have been married since 1977 and have two young daughters and a son. A fourth child, Wade, died at age 16 in a car accident.

ABC reported that according to Hunter's friends, she and Edwards met at a New York bar in 2006 and she pitched him on the idea of making a film about his campaign and he agreed, later paying her $114,000 to direct campaign Web site documentaries, despite her lack of experience behind the camera. Edwards, named the "sexiest politician alive" by People magazine in 2000, told the network that the affair began during his campaign for president after she was hired and began traveling with the candidate around the country and to Africa.

Edwards said that his wife — who vowed to campaign alongside her husband last year despite a serious diagnosis of an incurable form of cancer — was in remission from the disease when he began the affair with Hunter. While Edwards is certainly not the first politician to be caught lying about an extramarital affair, the long-running deceit about his liaison has set the former senator up for particular scorn from the Washington press corps, who pounced on the story Friday of a politician who had often made his family a big part of his campaigns over the years and who had held his wife up as an example of a strong, intelligent partner in his public endeavors.

The Enquirer reported recently that Edwards had visited Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton last month, and Edwards admitted to ABC News that the report was true and that his wife had not known about the meeting. The Enquirer reported that Edwards spent five hours in Hunter's room that day, and when confronted by the tabloid's staffers at the hotel after trying to leave through a basement exit, he ran into a public bathroom and tried to hide and block their entrance into the rest room with his body.

Once pregnant, Hunter lived under a series of assumed names in a number of expensive homes in North Carolina and Santa Barbara, California, according to ABC. Edwards denied paying Hunter any money to keep her from taking their affair public but told ABC it's possible some of his friends or supporters may have made payments to her without telling him.

'American Idol' Vet Clay Aiken Becomes A Dad

Clay Aiken is officially a father, his mother reportedly told a Raleigh, North Carolina, radio station.

The "American Idol" vet and his friend and producer Jaymes Foster, 50, welcomed a son, Parker Foster Aiken, at 8:08 a.m. ET Friday (August 8) at an undisclosed location. Aiken's mother, Faye, broke the news to radio station WRAL later Friday morning.

She told the station the baby has dark hair and weighs 6 pounds and 2 ounces and is 19 inches long. She also said Aiken "is smiling from ear to ear." Foster, Aiken and their son are all doing fine, according to Faye.

News of the pregnancy surfaced in May, along with reports that the baby was conceived via artificial insemination.

Aiken has long been under scrutiny about his sexuality but has shied away from addressing the matter directly. He told MTV News in 2006, "[Knowing] who I'm dating and what kind of cereal I eat ain't gonna benefit anybody else. That kind of thing is not important.

"I think there's a distinction," he continued. "People have different opinions on that type of thing. I told you what mine is, and I think for each person, you do what's right for you. For me, part of the reason that I have anxiety is the fact that I feel like people are always staring at me. So it's important for me to make sure that I have my friends and vacation, and what I do at home with my family and that type of thing [stays private]."

Aiken and Foster, who met when Aiken was a contestant on "Idol," have said they plan to raise the child together. Jaymes is music producer David Foster's sister.

Cliff Richard aims to make history with his 15th number one


Fifty years after he scored his first hit, veteran pop star Sir Cliff Richard is hoping to break records by being top of the pops one more time.

To celebrate his golden milestone, the Peter Pan of pop is next month releasing a new song, Thank You For A Lifetime. If it reaches the number one spot, it will mean he has topped the charts six times in six consecutive decades.

"I may be greedy, but to notch up a number one after 50 years would be just fantastic," he said. "I've got the song, I can only hope for the support."

Sir Cliff first entered the charts in September 1958, at the age of 18, with his single Move It. It reached number two. He grabbed the top spot for the first time with his iconic Living Doll the following year.

In his 50 years of music-making, Sir Cliff has notched up 250 million record sales. He last made number one in 1999, with Millennium Prayer - his 14th time top of the charts.

China's star pianist Lang Lang plays for change

By Belinda Goldsmith

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's flamboyant pianist Lang Lang said his performance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was a message -- China is changing.

The 26-year-old spiky-haired pianist has captivated audiences around the world by combining his classical repertoire and pop-culture showmanship, making him a national hero alongside sport stars such as basketballer Yao Ming and hurdler Liu Xiang.

Lang, whose designer jackets have prompted some to call him the "Chinese Liberace," now lives in New York, but he said he still kept close ties to his native country and returns often.

"As a young guy it is a big honour for me to play at the opening ceremony and to represent a new generation of Chinese people to the world," Lang told Reuters.

"I'm part of a new generation in China enjoying a very different way of life from our parents. We love American culture and classical music but we also have strong Chinese traditions."

Lang was delighted with the choice for the Olympics -- a new eight-minute long concerto by Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye.

"It really is beautiful," said Lang, who has his signature on a new Adidas shoe and took part in the Olympic torch relay in Tiananmen Square in the run-up to the August 8-24 Games.

Lang's global profile has risen rapidly in recent years as he played sold-out recitals around the world and his album sales ranked him as a best-selling classical musician.

He does not suffer the shyness that holds other Chinese performers back on the world stage. His YouTube video stunts include playing Chopin with an orange.

Some Chinese people are uncomfortable with his extrovert nature and lack of humility, and several critics have even called his playing vulgar and insensitive.

Lang started playing the piano at age 3 after being inspired by an episode of the television cartoon "Tom and Jerry" in which the cat, Tom, was playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

Lang gave his first public recital at the age of 5 and when he was 9, he entered Beijing's Central Music Conservatory.

"I fell in love with music and never looked back," he said.

He was pushed by his ambitious father, Lang Guoren, whose own musical aspirations were hampered by the Cultural Revolution.

In his autobiography "Journey of a Thousand Miles" published in July, Lang recalls how his father once asked him to commit suicide as he was so disappointed by his performance.

Lang left China when he was 15 to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with his big break coming two years later when he played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Since then, he has played with most major orchestras around the world and his most recent published work is the piano music for the score of the movie "The Painted Veil."

Still, Lang said it was important to keep close to his roots. He won domestic plaudits for raising funds to help the victims of the Sichuan earthquake, including auctioning a red Steinway.

"I prefer to live in New York because no matter who you are there, you won't be mobbed. In China now everybody knows me," he said.

(Editing by Alex Richardson and Bob Tourtellotte)

Australian rock band Wolfmother torn apart

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One of Australia's most successful rock exports, the Grammy-winning trio Wolfmother, has been torn apart by "longstanding frictions," according to a statement published on the group's Web site on Thursday.

Bass/keyboard player Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett have resigned, while singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale plans to find other musicians and begin making a new Wolfmother album.

"Please understand that in spite of their best efforts over a long period of time, they just could not find a harmonious way to work together," the statement said.

Wolfmother's self-titled debut album, released in 2006, sold more than 500,000 copies in the United States, powered by radio airplay for the songs "Woman" and "Joker and the Thief."

The group won a Grammy in the hard rock category last year, becoming the first Australian band to pick up the music industry's top honours since Men at Work in 1983.

However, all was evidently not well behind the scenes. According to the statement, Ross decided he would quit the band because of "irreconcilable personal and music differences" following a show in the eastern Australian town of Byron Bay on Sunday. Heskett also decided to leave rather than continuing as part of a changed lineup.

The pair had been working together on songs for some time and plan to focus their energies on that new project, the statement said.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman)

The Police play final concert together

By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rock trio The Police played their final concert together on Thursday and were joined by the real police -- the New York City police band.

Singer and bassist Sting, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers reunited for a world tour last May and have since played 150 concerts for 3.7 million people, Sting told the crowd between songs at Madison Square Garden.

"The real triumph of this tour is that we haven't strangled each other," he said, adding: "That's not to say it hasn't crossed my mind, or Stewart's, or Andy's."

There were touches of the surreal in the final gig by the band that made its name in the late 1970s and 1980s with such hits as "Walking on the Moon" and "Every Breath You Take."

Sting took an unusual break after the main set and before the first encore -- lying back in a barber's chair backstage as two blond women shaved the salt-and-pepper beard that he had been sporting, the most obvious sign of the passing years.

The beard had come in for some harsh criticism from fashion mavens in recent days, though the former teacher was quoted by media this week as saying, "The ladies love it."

His make-over was beamed to a giant screen above the stage as fans cheered and chanted for more music. He bounced back on stage fresh-faced and looking as lithe as ever without his shirt to deliver crowd-pleasers "Roxanne" and "So Lonely."

The band opened with the Cream song "Sunshine of Your Love" and were then joined by around 20 drummers and musicians of the police band for "Message in a Bottle."

They may be more used to playing in a marching band, but the burly uniformed police officers sang along and banged their drums with gusto as Sting strutted his stuff in a police cap.

Later in the set, three young women who looked like fans popped up on stage, joking around, dancing and taking snapshots as the band played "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."

"These are my daughters," Sting explained.

The band played all of its big hits, as well as a few cover songs, ending the encore with "Every Breath You Take." The band came back for a brief second encore before finally calling it a day with the song "Next to You."

The concert marked the end of a tour that has grossed more than $350 million (175 million pounds) and was the biggest selling tour of 2007.

The Police fused punk with reggae grooves and intricate arrangements to gain global popularity before splitting in 1984. Sting went on to a hugely successful solo career, while Copeland and Summers have also stayed in the business, recording and scoring music for the movie industry.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Lollalohan: Lindsay Lohan Turns Out For Samantha Ronson Lollapalooza DJ Set

TMZ-land officially arrived at Lollapalooza Saturday afternoon – and you have Mr. Lolla himself, Perry Farrell to thank for it.

A mid-afternoon set at the dance tent Perry’s by Farrell and a “special guest” took on a whole different meaning when that guest was revealed to be none other than Samantha Ronson, accompanied to the endless fascination of all, by her ubiquitous gal pal, Lindsay Lohan. When we arrived to an already packed dance tent, were escorted into a predictably cluster f— of a backstage area, under a searing afternoon sun, and got even more of a celeb eyefull than we were expecting. There was Perry on stage, in a glittery black and white number, spinning and pumping up the crowd for his ‘guest DJ.’ There was LiLo, hanging with a friend and trying not to pay attention to the fact that everyone in the area was looking at her. There was Samantha, waiting to go on. And then there was the even better known member of the Ronson family, DJ and uber producer brother Mark, an attention magnet himself. And to throw a certifiable rock god into the mix, there was the man himself, Slash — yet another surprise guest for Perry to spring on the crowd.

Soon it was showtime for Sam – decked out in an Average White Band t-shirt and a fedora, she spun a 15 minute set heavy on “upbeat” tunes at Perry’s request, she told me, and with a healthy dose of ‘80’s. “Yeah, so I included some Foreigner,” she said, “some Depeche Mode, some Hot Chip. I tried to mix it up.

“I’m just psyched to see Slash,” Sam said of first Lolla experience, “Perry and Slash, I’ve never been to Lollapalooza, and after this I don’t think I need to go to another.” Samantha’s in and out of Chicago – she has to be back in LA tonight – but Mark is hanging all weekend, checking out a ton of favorites — from Black Keys and Radiohead yesterday to Rage tonight — and then playing his own set tomorrow night, on one of the festival’s biggest stages.

Radiohead Soothe Lollapalooza Crowd After Frenetic First Day Of CSS, Black Lips, Cool Kids

CHICAGO — There are basically two ways to close out the first night of Lollapalooza. You can blast off in a glowing, thumping spaceship like Daft Punk did last year, or you can get all moody and sedate like Interpol did.

Then there's Radiohead. The most anticipated act of the 2008 festival's maiden night, as usual, dug its own path, teasing the sold-out crowd of 75,000 with a mixture of pastoral ambiance and slashing guitars accompanied by a light show that felt like a digital rain shower conjured to replace the threatened storms that never materialized.

Lil Wayne, Jonas Brothers, Kanye West Among VMA Contenders For Best Pop, Hip-Hop Videos

Another week, another batch of 2008 MTV Video Music Awards nominees — handpicked by you at and a select assembly of industry insiders. While the contenders for the Best Male Video and Best Female Video categories were revealed last week, this week brings us the five hopefuls who'll be vying for the Best Pop Video and the Best Hip-Hop Video Moonmen.

'Twilight' Mania Kicks Into Full Gear In NYC With The Release Of 'Breaking Dawn'

NEW YORK — With "Breaking Dawn," the final installment of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" vampire series, set to hit stores at midnight (and the first night of the "Breaking Dawn" concert series set to premiere at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square), the city seemed to be filled with homemade Cullen T-shirts in support of the first vampire family of teen fiction.

And in the midst of all the excitement, one important question was on everybody's minds and lips: Edward or Jacob?

You Cover Lollapalooza: Check Out One Reader's Go! Team Report From Chicago

Three days, seven stages and well over a hundred acts… Lollaplooza 2008 is a lot of ground to cover. So we’re getting help from you. All weekend long, fans are sharing their experiences in our You R Here community, like Zach Swickey, who made the trip to Chicago from Norman, Oklahoma, and filed this report:

The Windy City is not living up to its name. It’s hot with zero clouds and only a slight hint of a breeze here on day one of Lollapalooza.

Unfortunately, my day started late due to the necessity of sleep from watching the 1 a.m. showing of “The Dark Knight” (every other showing had been sold out for days). Anyway, this was actually my first time to see the Go! Team live. They did not disappoint. I hate to be cliché, but I highly prefer their first album, and luckily for me they played a good balance of new and old songs.

There is nothing more awkward and entertaining than watching thousands of white people (and a few dozen black people) dancing to “Ladyflash.” (click here to read more from Zach)

Juelz Santana Out Of Diplomats, But Says He's Cool With Cam'ron: 'It's Still Dip Set 4 Life!'

The long-standing contractual dispute between Diplomats founder Cam'ron and protégé Juelz Santana is officially over. After months of internal fighting, Santana has been released from the 'Set's onetime fledgling label.

According to a recent blog post on, Cam'ron revealed to the radio personality weeks ago that he "sold Juelz's contract to parent label Def Jam for $2 million." Late Thursday, Juelz hit up Info, confirming the split.

"Yeah, I'm free!! And ready to do me," Juelz noted in the e-mail. "But it's still Dip Set 4 life!! It's just going to be a new chapter!!

Bandana Santana then specifically addressed his former mentor: "I have no hard feeling for Cam, after all, he did give me a chance!!! But I will say this: I was loyal to him and he took advantage."

With the Harlemite's new contract in place, Juelz will now report directly to Def Jam. The label's radio division sent out e-mails last week alerting the public that Juelz was back on the horizon after a four-year hiatus, with a new mixtape, The Reagan Era, and studio album Born to Lose Built to Win on the way.

Def Jam had no comment when reached by MTV News.

In January, Juelz joined fellow Diplomat Jim Jones when he revealed that he wasn't happy with Cam'ron and his recording contract. Santana went on to suggest that Cam had some shady business dealings up his sleeve. The "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" rapper then refused to release any music until he was released from the label that at one point dominated the East Coast rap scene.

Juelz, however, has vowed that he's still Dipset for life, most recently at Thursday's Pepsi DJ Division concert in New York, where Elz and Jim Jones performed. Santana made it clear to the crowd that "Dipset was in the building."

"I would like to say sorry to all my fans and the DJs and most of all, my city, New York. Playtime is over. I'm back. Y'all n---as know what time it is."

Bow Wow Talks About His 'First Sex Scene'

Two more albums and Bow Wow says he's ready to call it a night. The onetime teen titan says he's retiring from the rap game — maybe as early as the age of 22.

"I wanna be the next Will Smith," the 21-year-old recently said, restating his growing passion for acting while sitting poolside at L.A.'s Le Montrose Suite Hotel. "After the eighth album, I'm done. I already feel it. I love acting. I love my music like I said, but I feel it. After this one, probably one more in me and that's eight. Like, I'm one [album] behind Nas, and that's crazy."

Shia LaBeouf 's Car-Crash Injury To Be Written Into 'Transformers' Sequel, Director Says

In the original "Transformers," Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) runs, jumps, falls, races fast cars and gets tossed around like a rag doll by giant, intergalactic robots, only to end the film with nary a scratch on his body.

That won't be the case in director Michael Bay told "Access Hollywood" — not because the character is less careful, but because the actor was.

LaBeouf, who injured his hand this past weekend in a car accident, will have his injury written into the script of the blockbuster sequel to accommodate a frantic shooting schedule which leaves very little room for delay, Bay said.

"His two fingers are pretty mashed, but we're figuring out a way to shoot around it, kind of write it in the story," Bay told the TV show.

Bay's comments echo those made by "Transformers" co-star Tyrese Gibson, who told MTV News on Sunday that LaBeouf's injuries weren't drastic enough to halt filming on the eagerly anticipated sequel.

LaBeouf was involved in a collision with another vehicle at 3 a.m. Sunday and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Initially suspected to have caused the accident, the "Indiana Jones" star was since cleared by Los Angeles police.

Bay thinks LaBeouf will ultimately be cleared of the other charge as well. "You're gonna see, that's gonna go away," Bay said of the DUI charge. "He was not drunk. He was drinking hours and hours before."

Despite the momentary setback, Bay told the show he is thrilled to be working again with LaBeouf on the sequel, which will follow the Autobots' war with the Decepticons.

"He's only 22," Bay said of LaBeouf. "He's doing a great job on this movie. He's really matured since the last one, and I love working with him."

Check out everything we've got on "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit

'Twilight' Creator Stephenie Meyer Talks About 'Breaking Dawn' Cover Controversy And Books' Appeal

NEW YORK — She is the brains behind the book series that's rivaling Harry Potter. She has millions of loyal Twilighters at her beck and call, many of whom would devour you in a moment if you dared to say anything bad about their Edward and Bella. She's also a very nice lady, who is every bit as cool to hang out with as you'd hope.

She's Stephenie Meyer, and just after midnight on Friday (actually 12:01 a.m. on Saturday), she will wrap things up at her New York book launch and officially invade the bestseller list again with "Breaking Dawn," the book that concludes her "Twilight" series.

Hey, Jonas Brothers Fans: The Jersey Boys' 3-D Flick Has A Release Date!

You’ve been bombarding TRL, spamming our website and screaming on FNMTV. Now you’ll be able to get up, close and personal with the Jersey boys themselves. According to Variety, the Jonas Brothers’ previously announced 3-D concert film has snagged a release date: February 27, 2009.

The currently untitled Disney flick will follow the mold of the recent Miley Cyrus smash hit, combining live concert footage with behind-the-scenes moments. Not much else is known about the movie yet, but stay tuned to the MTV Movies Blog for all your breaking Jonas Brothers movie needs.

So how excited are you guys to see the Jonas Brothers in glorious 3-D? Are you already clearing your schedules to see it opening day? Chime in below!

'The Mummy': Undead Again. By Kurt Loder

"Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," the third installment of the sub-Indy "Mummy" series, achieves a new level of subness. Along with the usual lifts from the Jonesian canon — this time, an Ark-like sarcophagus, an arrow-barrage blasting out of booby-trapped walls, a rickety rope bridge swaying over a mountain chasm, even a stage full of dancing showgirls in a Shanghai nightclub — we have an ill-omened romance between a mere man and his immortal sweetie (in the manner of "The Lord of the Rings") and a leaping trio of big, hairy Himalayan Yetis who look as if they're very late for a "Golden Compass" audition.

With Rob Cohen ("The Fast and the Furious") taking over from Stephen Sommers, who directed the first two films, "Mummy 3" is an assembly-line action movie clogged with special effects of a sort that will seem special only to those who've been bricked up in an ancient tomb for the last 10 years. It helps that the blithely likable Brendan Fraser is back as stalwart explorer Rick O'Connell, and that Maria Bello has been recruited to play his equally intrepid wife, Evie, a role previously occupied by Rachel Weisz. (Weisz presumably had better things to do; in a better world, Bello would have, too.)

In the customary prologue, set in China "long ago," the fanatical King Han (Jet Li) is wiping out a succession of provincial warlords to become emperor of all the land. Han also has a pressing interest in immortality ("I have too much to do in one lifetime"), so, after attaining royal supremacy, he dispatches a beautiful sorceress named Zi Juan (Michelle Yeoh) to find the secret of eternal life. Unwisely, when she returns with a Sanskrit spell suited to that purpose, Han double-crosses her, and she pronounces instead a curse that turns the emperor and his legion of soldiers into life-size pottery statues. (The story is based, rather closely as these things go, on the saga of the historical Emperor Qin Shi Huang, whose own long-buried — and non-magical — terra-cotta army was one of the more startling archeological finds of the last century.)

Flash forward to 1946. Rick and Evie are now retired in their mansion in the Oxford countryside, and bored stiff. When His Majesty's government offers a new assignment — transporting an item called the Eye of Shangri-La (it looks like a Fabergé Easter Egg) back to its native China — they quickly dig out their old adventuring gear and hop on a plane. Meanwhile, their son, the now-grown Alex (Luke Ford), is already in China on an adventure of his own — and he's dug up the crockery-encased Emperor Han. All of this draws the attention of the sinister General Yang (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang), who wants to seize the immobilized emperor, use the Eye of Shangri-La to lift the ancient curse off him and employ the revivified monarch as a terrifying weapon in the raging Chinese Civil War.

An awful lot of stuff transpires. There's a kick-ass ninja girl, a rather perfunctory betrayal, a mad horse-and-emperor chase through the teeming streets of Shanghai (where the movie was partly shot), a vast cavern full of those terra-cotta warriors (pretty spectacular, actually) and reams of dialogue both archly anachronistic ("You don't really believe in the concept of personal space, do you?") and simply limp ("I hate mummies — they never play fair!"). Toss in a magical dagger, a three-headed dragon and an Elixir of the Pool of Eternal Life, and you have a movie that should be more fun than it is. There's abundant action — all the usual shoot-outs, punch-ups and acres of exploding real estate — but by the second half of the film, it has congealed into rote frenzy; and it's so choppily edited (and pumped up with blaring horns and overbearing choirs) that our attention drifts away toward niggling details. How likely is it, for example, that a character of Brendan Fraser's age (39) would have a son the age of Luke Ford (who's 26)? And how odd is it that a movie called "The Mummy" should have no actual mummy in it? And why is the picture's most intriguing character — the clairvoyant Colonel Choi (Jessey Meng), a young woman with an exotic scar running the length of her face — left to languish on the sidelines of the plot?

The two previous "Mummy" movies cleaned up worldwide, but the many fans of those films may be disappointed by this one. "Dragon Emperor" cost twice as much as the first two pictures combined, partly because of its extensive Chinese location work (note the attempted synergy with the upcoming Beijing Olympics, to be televised by Universal's broadcast arm, NBC); but the result is a largely flairless clutter of digital hubbub. The "Mummy" producers might profitably take a tip from the old Indiana Jones movies they so often mine. The original Indy series came to a voluntary, graceful conclusion with its third installment. This franchise is already living on borrowed time.

Don't miss Kurt Loder's review of "In Search of a Midnight Kiss," also new in theaters this week.

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit

Selena Gomez Makes It Clear: There's No Beef With Miley Cyrus

Selena Gomez wants to make things clear: She has no beef with fellow Disney teen sensation Miley Cyrus for posting YouTube videos bashing Selena and "Camp Rock" star Demi Lovato.

"Dealing with the press is something that you've gotta start getting used to," Gomez told MTV News, "and you know people want something to talk about, so they're going to have the two Disney girls — or three Disney girls — kind of feuding.

Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls Readies Next Joan Jetts, Bjorks And Kim Deals

For a couple of weeks in the summer, the Urban Assembly School of Music and Art in Brooklyn, New York, is turned into one big rehearsal space. Amps, guitars and drum kits are lugged through the hallways as the cafeteria is readied for a rock show, and a peek inside a classroom reveals a group of preteen girls standing on chairs, belting out the words to Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend."

Britney Spears' Label Settles Lawsuit With Louis Vuitton Over Pop Star's Video

Celebrities who want to show their love for Louis Vuitton in their videos and album covers better think twice. The company has settled out of court with record label Sony BMG, which represents Da Brat, Ruben Studdard and Britney Spears — all of whom used the brand without authorization.

Louis Vuitton has won an undisclosed sum after battling the label for the past five years. The amount of the earnings is estimated to be near $300,000. The design house didn't like the use of the Louis Vuitton brand in a Da Brat video back in 2003, when the rapper was seen playing with an LV-printed beach ball.

It also didn't like two other uses of its sought-after symbol. Britney Spears rolled around in a pink Hummer with an LV-patterned dashboard in the "Do Somethin' " video. Regarding the video, the spokesperson said, "We don't make dashboards."

Meanwhile, the monogram was also used by "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard. The R&B singer's 2006 album, The Return, displayed a jacket with the insignia printed on it.

"We believe the terms of this agreement will provide strong protection to our brand worldwide," Nathalie Moulle-Berteaux, a spokesperson for the Parisian fashion house, said in a statement. She added that the label also agreed "to educate its record labels," which include Arista, Columbia and Epic, about copyright laws.

A spokesperson for the record label declined to comment on the issue.

Miley Cyrus Rival Adam Sevani Predicts Winner Of M&M Cru/ ACDC Dance-Off

Miley Cyrus mania will hit a fever pitch when she hosts the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. And when she does, she'll have a little help from her YouTube dance rival and "Step Up 2: The Streets" star Adam Sevani. In fact, the winner of the ongoing dance-off between Miley and Mandy Jiroux's M&M Cru and Sevani and Jon M. Chu's ACDC will be declared at the show.

While the 16-year-old Sevani didn't reveal too many details about the show, which airs Monday, he did make a prediction when MTV News caught up with him at rehearsals.

"I think they're gonna win," he confessed. "Just for personal reasons, and, you know, because it's Miley and they're gonna do good. We're gonna do good too. The audience is gonna vote, so we'll see."

Sevani promised that he has "a bunch of exciting styles of dance" for his routine, but he has yet to see what Cyrus will break out with. "No, I haven't seen it — that's the fun part!" he said. "We're not gonna see it until it's live, so I have no idea."

Of course, Cyrus and Sevani have become YouTube sensations with their battles for dance supremacy, which have even led celebrities like Chris Brown, Adam Sandler and Ryan Seacrest to get involved. Eventually, it was decided that the only way to settle the score was by taking it to a bigger stage, like the Teen Choice Awards.

"Yeah, I was surprised it got so big that we had to do it somewhere like this," Sevani said. "Finally, it's here!"

Sevani is no stranger to performing at the Teen Choice Awards: He was Kevin Federline's backup dancer when Brit's ex performed on the show in 2006. He said he's filled with excitement for this year's show. "It's all building up," he said. "The tension is building up and people are getting nervous. We're gonna smoke [the audience]!"

Although he dodged Cyrus-related questions like a pro, Sevani did say that she is very humble, even though she's one of the biggest pop stars in the world. "Of course she is," he said, "What do you expect? I mean, we're real people. I have nothing bad to say about anybody."

Sevani has no date for the night, but seemed intrigued by the idea that maybe, just maybe, Cyrus might show up on his arm. "We'll see," he laughed. "We'll see."

Stars come out for MTV Asia Awards

By Ivy Sam

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The Pussycat Dolls and British pop sensation Leona Lewis added a bit of glamour and sex appeal to MTV's Asia Awards show on Saturday, which showcased the best in global and regional music.

The Grammy-nominated Dolls, who shot to fame in 2005 with their worldwide hit "Don't Cha", strutted their stuff at Malaysia's hilltop Genting Highlands casino resort, packed with 3,000 fans and industry A-listers.

They were just one act in a star-studded line-up that included Lewis, OneRepublic, Panic at the Disco, South Korean boy band Super Junior, The Click Five and US dance crew Jabbawockeez.

Singing their latest hit "When I Grow Up", the Pussycat Dolls elicited screams from the hundreds of young fans in the mosh pit with their suggestive dance moves, but the girl group said they were not trying to be provocative.

"We are better prepared this time to perform in Malaysia and we have deep respect for the culture. It is about the music, not about sexy. We are going to respect the people of this country and the culture," said Jessica Sutta.

The group came under fire last year from Muslim authorities here for their raunchy performances and sexy attire, which earned concert promoters a 10,000 ringgit (2,700-dollar) fine.

Lewis, a former winner of the British reality show "X Factor", sang her international hit "Bleeding Love", before scooping the prize for Breakthrough Artist, beating out OneRepublic, pop singer Mika and US rockers Daughtry.

"I just have to thank everyone for helping me come so far. I've had such an amazing time in Asia," Lewis said.

Event host Jared Leto, a US actor who also fronts the band 30 Seconds to Mars, surprised the crowd by hinting that Lewis could be signing at the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics later this month.

"I can't say anything about it yet, but there is a possibility that I will be singing there," she told a press conference after the show.

OneRepublic took home the Best Hook-up award for their collaboration with mega-producer Timbaland on "Apologize", which they performed for the shrieking crowd.

In the Asian categories, Super Junior won the honours for favourite Korean artist, while the "Knockout Award" for the artist with the most influence among Asian youth went to The Click Five.

Thailand's favourite artist was TorSaksit, while Leo Ku won for top Hong Kong artist, besting Canto-pop idol Andy Lau.

US rockers Linkin Park were named Asia's favourite international artist, while Chicosci was named the best Philippines artist. Nicholas Teo won for Malaysia and Yovie & Nuno were tops in Indonesia.

Singapore's top act was the petite Stefanie Sun, a five-time winner of the same award and Taiwan's top pick was Show Lo.

Spiky-haired songstress Li Yuchun was China's favourite artist.

Hong Kong actress-singer Karen Mok was given a special "Inspiration" award for her work as a social activist.

Bono told to retire

An online petition calling for Bono to retire has been launched. The organisers behind the initiative claim the U2 frontman is "self-righteous" and have pledged to donate all the money it raises to charity. However, they will only do so if the rock star removes himself from public life, "so he'll stop leading misguided counter-productive philanthropy efforts". "The grassroots leaders of the global fight against AIDS didn't ask for Bono to be their frontman. It's time for Bono to step down", they insist. "We will give money to Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But we will only pay if we meet our objective", the petition states. For more information on the proposal, visit U2 are currently thought to be putting the finishing touches on their new album, a follow-up to 2004's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb". Watch U2's music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Keane reveal comeback

The new Keane album is called "Perfect Symmetry" and will be released in October, the band have announced. The pop trio confirmed the news in a posting on their official website, revealing Madonna collaborator Stuart Price, aka Jacques Lu Cont, has produced the record. Recorded in Paris, Berlin, London and LA, the band say they wanted to "ignore the rules of good taste" with the follow-up to "Under The Iron Sea". "Perfect Symmetry" will officially be released on October 13. Watch Keane's music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Snoop drug arrests

Two members of Snoop Dogg's entourage have been arrested after his tour bus was pulled over this week. The rapper was travelling to Dallas for a show with his crew on Thursday when they were stopped by police. Texas officers were investigating an expired registration sticker but became suspicious of the smell emanating from the vehicle. Ethan Calhoun, 27, and Kevin Barkey, 26, have admitted possession of marijuana and are now free on bail. The pair face six months in jail and fines of up to $2,000 if they are convicted, after two ounces of the drug were apparently confiscated. Snoop Dogg is currently on tour with 311. Watch Snoop Dogg's music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Budgens find Daltrey passport

Roger Daltrey's passport has been found in a branch of Budgens, according to reports. The iconic Who rocker is said to have left the significant piece of documentation at a store in Kent. Daltrey, who embarks on a world tour in October, is understood to now be back in possession of the passport, which was found by a shopper in the supermarket. Lisa Gillespie apparently got in touch with Virgin radio star Christian O'Connell about the discovery, which was initially thought to be a hoax. She explained: "If I could get a message to him I would say that I didn't mean to cause such a stir. I just wanted to get the passport back to him so he could go on tour in America. "I contacted Virgin Radio because I know Christian is friends with Roger from some charity work they did together and he's not the easiest person to contact." Meanwhile, O'Connell said it was unclear if or why Daltrey, who turns 65 next year, had been in Budgens. "Roger Harry Daltrey will be a pensioner and get a bus pass next year - let's hope he doesn't lose that as well!", he told listeners. Watch The Who's music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

New Kids on "The Block"

New Kids On The Block will release their comeback album, "The Block", in September, they have announced. The reformed boyband confirmed plans to get back together earlier this year and have since been working on their first new record in a decade. Ne-Yo, Akon, Pussycat Dolls, Lady GaGa and Timbaland are understood to be amongst their collaborators on the recordings. "The Block" is due to come out on September 8 and will be preceded by a single, "Sunmertime". Watch New Kids On The Block's music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Burial Mercury favourites

Burial are the new favourites to win this year's Nationwide Mercury Prize, according to reports. The anonymous dubstep producer was amongst the 12 albums nominated for the coveted award earlier this month, for his second record "Untrue". Bookmakers William Hill have now revealed that he is leading the field amongst bets placed on the ultimate winner, with Radiohead just behind. A spokesman said: "The two people we've seen real money for is Radiohead at 9/2 but Burial is very much the favourite at the moment at 3/1." The acts in the running for the prize are as follows: Adele "19" British Sea Power "Do You Like Rock Music?" Burial "Untrue" Elbow "The Seldom Seen Kid" Estelle "Shine" The Last Shadow Puppets "The Age Of The Understatement" Laura Marling "Alas, I Cannot Swim" Neon Neon "Stainless Style" Portico Quartet "Knee-Deep In The North Sea" Robert Plant And Alison Krauss "Raising Sand" Radiohead "In Rainbows" Rachel Unthank And The Winterset "The Bairns" Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Jeweller sues Wyclef

A New York jeweller is demanding $300,000 from Wyclef Jean in a lawsuit filed against the star. The former Fugee is alleged to owe Jacob & Co the sum for numerous unpaid items, according to the legal challenge. The company was founded by a famed jeweller who has been name-dropped by a host of key pop culture figures, including Kanye West, The Game and Beyonce. Jacob Arabov, aka "The King Of Bling", is currently in prison after being jailed last month for lying to police in a drug investigation, reports the BBC. Wyclef has not made any comment on the allegations or lawsuit. Watch Wyclef Jean's music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Obama vs Ludacris

Barack Obama has moved to distance himself from a new song attacking his rivals by Ludacris. The US Presidential candidate has denounced "Politics As Usual", which criticises Hilary Clinton, George W Bush and John McCain, as "outrageously offensive". The rapper's attempt to align himself with the Democrat party's rising star looks to have completely back-fired, after Obama's spokesman issued a statement. In it, he expressed shock at the content of the track, which calls Bush "mentally handicapped" and says McCain "doesn't belong in any chair unless he's paralysed". Bill Burton commented: "Ludacris is a talented individual but he should be ashamed of these lyrics. "As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to". Ludacris is yet to respond to the comments from Obama, who is looking to become America's first black President. Watch Ludacris' music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Ludacris 'Should Be Ashamed' Of Lyrics Bashing Bush And McCain, Says Barack Obama Rep

Ludacris is down with "Barack O'Drama" and is supportive of Barack Obama, but the presidential candidate's camp isn't too excited about the lyrics in "Politics as Usual," a freestyle on the mixtape Gangsta Grillz: The Preview.

Ne-Yo Tells Fans To Be Ready For Surprises On New LP, <i>Year of the Gentleman</i>

Ne-Yo says he has some surprises in store on his forthcoming LP, Year of the Gentleman, which is now slated for a September 16 release.

"It's a little bit of alternative, a little bit of pop, a little bit of rock," he told MTV News this week. "I basically stepped outside of my comfort zone and I came up with something that I can honestly say is for everyone.

Lollapalooza Architect Perry Farrell Addresses Barack Obama Rumor, Jane's Addiction Reunion

This weekend, tens of thousands of music fans will pour into — and trample — Chicago's verdant Grant Park for three days of around-the-clock music called Lollapalooza, an annual gathering of some of rock's biggest names and most buzzed-about upstarts, and the brainchild of ex-Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. But as far as Farrell knows, none of the tens of thousands of people who'll be there to watch Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine and hometown favorite Kanye West perform will be named Barack Obama.

Tom Cruise's Much-Delayed 'Valkyrie' Isn't A Dud, Co-Star Bill Nighy Insists

If you're the type of far-thinking filmgoer who likes to look up release dates well in advance of a movie's completion, you might have penciled in this weekend to see the new Tom Cruise World War II drama "Valkyrie." That is, if you hadn't already penciled it in for last month.

Mariah Carey, Fergie Promise To 'Love You Long Time' -- But Is The Phrase Empowering Or Insensitive?

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon — that's lovin' you short time, so far. "Lovin' You Long Time" well, that's another story (and Mariah's latest single).

My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way Says It's Been 'So Difficult' To Keep 'Watchmen' Bob Dylan Cover Under Wraps

SAN DIEGO — Everybody knows that Zack Snyder thrilled moviegoers with the first "Watchmen" trailer and dropped into Comic-Con to hold what many considered to be the most successful buzz-building panel of the week. Our regular readers also know that we broke the news last week that My Chemical Romance will contribute the only new song to the film's soundtrack, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row."

Oasis leak single

Oasis have posted a clip of their new single, "Shock Of The Lightning", online. The brief extract of the band's first new material since last year's "Lord Don't Slow Me Down" can be seen on YouTube now. The 20-second snatch is part of a promo video for the Gallagher brothers' new album, "Dig Out Your Soul". The trailer concludes with the clip, following highlights of the band's music career, such as "Supersonic", "Go Let It Out" and "Lyla". "Dig Out Your Soul" is due for release on October 6 and will be preceded by "Shock Of The Lightning" on September 29. Watch Oasis' music videos here... Search for the latest concerts tickets on Ticketmaster

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Soulja Boy Tell'em Promises 'Straight Takeover' With Next LP

Soulja Boy Tell'em is new, fresh, current and — God bless him — young. So young that back in 2002, when 50 Cent debuted "In Da Club," Soulja wasn't spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on Cristal (rappers don't mess with it now, but back in the day that Cris was literally poppin') while dancing to Fif's hit at some nightclub. Nor was he in the studio trying to make a hit big enough to compete with the G-Unit general.

'Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince' Trailer, Shot By Shot: A Young Voldemort And Some Familiar Faces

The first trailer for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hit the Net, and with it comes our first real look at how director David Yates is tackling the series' sixth big-screen installment.

And boy, is it ... different.

(Discuss the trailer and check out images from the film over at the MTV Movies Blog.)

John McCain Ad Compares Barack Obama To Britney Spears, Paris Hilton

Last week, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama was given the pop-star treatment during an overseas press trip, while his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, struggled to get attention back home. Now, McCain is taking a swing at Obama's glossy-magazine image with an ad that compares the freshman Illinois lawmaker to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

In the new 30-second spot called "Celeb," which is scheduled to air in 11 states, the McCain campaign mocks Obama's image as a media star by flashing pictures of tabloid staples Spears and Hilton in the opening shots. "He's the biggest celebrity in the world," a narrator says as chants of "Obama, Obama" swell in the background amid footage of the senator's speech in front of 200,000 in Berlin last week. "But is he ready to lead? With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling and says he'll raise taxes on electricity. Higher taxes, more foreign oil — that's the real Obama."

A spokesperson for the McCain campaign confirmed the launch of the attack spot but did not respond to questions about whether Hilton or Spears had approved the usage of their images in it. In a conference call following the ad's release, McCain aides reportedly dismissed notions that the commercial had a sinister bent.

"What we decided to do is find the top-three international celebrities in the world, and I would say from our indications Britney and Paris came in second and third," campaign manager Rick Davis said, according to the Huffington Post. "Will people think of this as negative advertising? Look, it is the most entertaining thing I have seen on TV in a while. ... It is not our campaign that is trying to make him into an international celebrity. It's his campaign. ... I don't know Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, but they are international celebrities, so, you know, apples to apples."

Chief strategist Steve Schmidt added, "It is beyond dispute that [Obama] has become the biggest celebrity in the world. It is a statement of fact that is backed up by his tour," he said, referring to last week's trip to the Middle East and Europe, which garnered wall-to-wall press coverage that left McCain scrambling for attention with widely mocked appearances at a German restaurant and grocery store. "The question we are posing to the American people is, 'Is he ready to lead yet?' And the answer we are offering to the American people is, 'No, he is not,' " Schmidt said.

Davis also said in the conference call that the ad's intended effect was to make Obama seem "frivolous and irresponsible" like Spears and Hilton.

The Obama campaign took the new ad in stride. "On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another," Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement. "Or, as some might say, 'Oops! He did it again.' "

A deconstruction of the ad on the left-leaning Huffington Post called it part of a trend the political press have described as "a growing superficial negativity" that is emerging from the McCain camp, which, like Obama, had pledged to steer clear of personal attacks in the general election. "Certainly, footage of Obama alongside Spears and Hilton is designed to make him seen, at the very least, egomaniacal and, at worst, intellectually hollow," the Post wrote.

Earlier this week, McCain was taken to task for running an ad that some said questioned Obama's patriotism. The ad portrayed the Illinois senator as going to a gym to work out instead of visiting with wounded troops because he wasn't allowed to bring cameras along, an assertion that has been denied by the Obama campaign and which came despite repeated pledges from McCain's camp to never question Obama's patriotism.

Miley Cyrus' <i>Breakout</i> Bows At #1 But Doesn't Come Close To Lil Wayne's Million

When the world's most famous 15-year-old releases a record, chances are it's going to sell like ice cream in hell. So, heading into this week, it was pretty much a given that Miley Cyrus' first studio album not to feature the words "Hannah" or "Montana" in the title would open as the nation's best-selling release on next week's Billboard albums sales chart. The one thing no one could predict, however, was exactly how many copies Breakout would end up selling.

The answer, according to Nielsen SoundScan sales figures, is: not nearly as many as you might imagine. Given the fact that Cyrus' visage graces the T-shirts of millions of tween girls and her Disney Channel series has accrued a rabid following, you'd have thought Breakout would crush the 1 million-plus sales generated by Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, 2008's biggest first-week performer. But it didn't even come close.

The teen star's second #1 debut — Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus put up week-one sales of 326,000 last summer — sold close to 371,400 copies during its first week on store shelves. For Cyrus, selling 371,400 records is still a tremendous achievement, especially for someone so new to the music industry. In fact, Breakout is the second-biggest seller of any release from a female artist this year, right behind the 463,000 Mariah Carey's E=MC2 sold during its first week of commercial availability. And as past Disney-associated releases have shown, Cyrus' record could end up being a grower, and not a first-week sales shower.

Country act Sugarland's Love on the Inside is a distant #2 with 313,600 debut-week scans. Those weren't the week's sole newcomers to the top 200, just the only two to crack the top 10. They join the "Mamma Mia" soundtrack at #3 (with 168,000 sold); Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus at #4 (92,800); Wayne's Tha Carter III at #5 (85,200); Coldplay's Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends at # 6 (74,700); the "Camp Rock" soundtrack at #7 (66,600); Nas' Untitled at #8 (63,300); Now That's What I Call Music!, Vol. 28 at #9 (37,000); and Taylor Swift's Beautiful Eyes at #10 (35,100).

There are 18 other new releases to discuss, including Nine Inch Nails' Slip, which enters the chart at #13 after selling 29,100 copies. The self-titled debut EP from One Day As a Lion, the latest project from Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha, follows NIN at #28, scanning 17,200 copies its first week in stores. Candlebox return at #32 with Into the Sun, which generated sales of 14,400, while R&B singer Noel Gourdin's After My Time follows at #36, with debut-week sales of 13,700. U2's Live From Paris bows at #54, scanning 10,200 copies, and Counting Crows' Live From Soho enters at #66, with 8,600 sold. Slightly Stoopid's Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid enters at #73 with 8,200 scans, and Pepper's Pink Crustaceans takes the #83 spot, selling 7,400.

The Classic Crime's Silver Cord enters the chart at #123, after selling 5,800 units, while the Black Kids' Partie Traumatic follows at #127, with 5,500 sold. Hell Rell's Black Mask, Black Gloves: The Ruga Edition debuts at #131, thanks to 5,400 scans. Sky Eats Airplane's self-titled offering fills the #172 slot with 4,000 copies snatched up. Austrian Death Machine's Total Brutal follows at #179, with 3,700 sold. Lastly, coming in at #189 with 3,400 scans, is CSS' Donkey.

R. Kelly's Mind Is Still In The Bedroom On New Tracks Leaked Online

For now, let's just call them "a bunch of songs we've never heard before," not R. Kelly's upcoming 12 Play: 4th Quarter LP.

More than a dozen of Kelly's previously unreleased records leaked online over the past couple of days, and the R. does shout out his upcoming album on a few of the tracks, leading the listener to believe they were to be included on the opus. The ditties are more in the R&B lane, with more singing and less hip-hop than his last album, Double Up.

Libido is in the driver's seat on a track labeled "At the Same Time." The Pied Piper sings about him and his lover arriving at their dream destination simultaneously. "We'll be curling our toes," he sings. " ... Girl, just let me know my access is granted/ Smooching is something I do to get started/ ... We're the perfect match/ Sex at its best/ You're my pussycat, I'm your hot mess."

Kelly's romps are still center stage in the song "Son of a Bitch," on which he delivers a softly sung, conversational flow over a piano. "You know the sex is good when you tell your best friend, 'He was screaming!' "

With all these hours logged in the bedroom, someone getting pregnant isn't a far stretch. "Might Be Mine" is a retelling of a "true story" from the singer's life. He left the club with a stripper, one thing led to another and a year later, he gets a phone call from the woman's lawyer saying she is about to have his baby. The song is told in narrative mode, like a chapter from "Trapped in the Closet."

"He said, 'Get ready to raise it'/ 'Cause she said he's the only one she laid with," he sings about the initial conversation with his potential baby mama's attorney. "There's a very good chance that it might be mine/ Oh, I should have used protection/ ... I guess I'm on my way to take the test."

As the record progresses, Kelly confronts his own legal team with the allegations. "They said, 'It's a good chance you might have to pay the cost,' " he croons. "I said, 'Good lawwwd!' "

His paternal instincts kick in on "Wanna Make a Baby," on which he gives himself a pat on the back for his work between the sheets: "I'm talking two thumbs up every time we make love."

He throws in humorous punch lines and references to modern technology. "Let the iPod play/ ... I'm trying to knock you up so you can have a mini-me."

"Hair Braider," which was released to video and radio outlets, is the only record out of the set of 13 that was an official track.

Since he was exonerated on child-pornography charges last month, Kelly has been focusing on the underground, dropping freestyles over tracks such as Lil Wayne's "A Milli" and Hot Stylz's "Lookin' Boy." He hasn't put out any more singles.

Jive Records has not said whether any of these records (not counting "Hair Braider," of course) were supposed to be on the fourth incarnation of 12 Play. It has been confirmed by the Grammy winner's camp that his album was being talked about for release later this year.

Shia LaBeouf Was Encouraged To Flee Crash Scene But Refused, Witness Says

It's one of those dilemmas that sounds like it could have come right out of a movie: A young rising Hollywood star is in a late-night car crash involving alcohol and sees a chance to flee the scene and ditch responsibility.

According to a report on, such a scenario played out early Sunday morning, when Shia LaBeouf was involved in a car crash that police now say was not his fault.

An alleged eyewitness to the crash, Brian Perrulli, told the site that he had arrived on the scene after the crash and stopped to help when he overheard the man who was in the vehicle LaBeouf hit telling the actor to leave the scene.

"Shia was tending to the other people in the car, signing over information, like insurance and stuff, and basically, I overheard the guy tell him, 'You should just get out of here and go,' and Shia said, 'Nah, man. I gotta deal with this. My license plate, it's my car. I don't wanna go; I gotta deal with this,'" Perrulli said. The eyewitness added that the unnamed person from the other vehicle promised the "Indiana Jones" star that he would cover for him.

"The guy Shia hit told him, 'You should get outta here,' and 'I never saw you,' " Perrulli claimed. "He said, 'I never saw you,' and Shia said, 'No, man, I gotta stay here and deal with this. It's my problem.' "

Perrulli also claimed that LaBeouf — who authorities said appeared clearly intoxicated at the scene, after reportedly partying at a nearby nightclub in the hours before the crash — did not appear to be drunk to him. Police now say the accident occurred because the other car ran a red light.

"He looked more disoriented and shocked more than drunk," Perrulli said. "I wouldn't have thought he was drunk."

Harry Potter Fans Call 'Half-Blood Prince' Trailer 'Bold,' 'Intense' And 'Eerie'

Far from being disappointed that the new "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" trailer is barely about Harry at all, most fans say they love this first glimpse of Tom Riddle — the boy who would grow up to become the Dark Lord. They did have a few reservations, though.

Chris Brown Says He Has A '5 Percent Chance' Against Lil Wayne, T.I. At VMAs

Chris Brown knows he has some stiff competition at this year's VMAs.

After hearing he's up against Lil Wayne, Usher, T.I. and Flo Rida, the Best Male Video nominee for his "With You" clip told MTV News, "I lost. There's, like, a 5 percent chance now. Wayne is definitely on top of his game right now. He might win. He has the flavor."

There's also one other nominee that 19-year-old Brown owes some props to: "Usher has been in the game for a while."

Kanye West, Barack Obama And A Bunch Of Bold Lollapalooza Predictions, In <i>Bigger Than The Sound</i>

On The Record: My Lollapalooza Predictions

I have always had a rather inexplicable love for summer festivals. This is probably because when I was 14, I got kicked in the head during Rage Against the Machine's afternoon set at Lollapalooza '93. There can be no other explanation.

Because, really, when you think about it, summer festivals are awful. The sun is merciless, the lines are long and the port-a-potties are ripe. The tickets are expensive, the sound is terrible, and the sets are short. I can't really understand why anyone — aside from those with a death wish or a thing for sunstroke — would go to, say, Lolla or All Points West. And yet, they do. In overwhelmingly large numbers.

Which I guess I can understand, because, for whatever reason, I find myself doing the exact same thing. Year after year. It seems I can't get enough of crisscrossing a dustbowl several times a day to watch, say, the National perform for 45 minutes from a distance that would give a sniper pause. Apparently, I revel in the branding magic that manifests itself in the Budweiser Summer Shooters Tents, the SoBe Mountain Blast Chillax Lounges and the Scion Silent Discos. And it would seem that my faith in humanity is restored every time I wander by the ghost town that is Activism Alley, where the voter-registration booths sit empty and desolate.

But perhaps my favorite thing about summer festivals is that they're all exactly, totally and completely the same, and they've been that way forever (and not just because Jack Johnson plays at all of them). It doesn't matter if you were at Lollapalooza, H.O.R.D.E., Bonnaroo, Coachella or even Camp Bisco, you've had the same experiences I have. You probably drank and/or smoked too much. You no doubt sat in a mist tent, bought something made of hemp and paid too much for a bottle of water. You stood in traffic and saw an amazing set by so-and-so and maybe even made out with someone special. There is a familiarity there — it is refreshing and comforting, and it is at least part of the reason why we keep going back.

That said, if you've been going to festivals for as long as I have, they all tend to blend together (which is why I've been able to make it this far on sweeping generalities alone). It's easy to know what to expect, even if you're talking about a festival as epic — and epically hyped — as this weekend's Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park, where as much of the chatter has been about the Sunday-night showdown between Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails as it has been about the rumored appearance by Barack Obama.

Clearly, this isn't your average summer slog through the dustbowl.

And yet, I'm sticking to my original hypothesis: All summer festivals are the same, no matter how many A-listers you pack onto one bill, or how many presidential candidates make appearances. And Lollapalooza is no different. So, as I board a plane bound for the Windy City, I'm drawing on my decades of experience to make 10 bold predictions about what you can expect this weekend at Lolla 2008. I'd say it's required reading, but you know that already. After all, I'm an expert. (Check out our coverage of last year's Lolla in the YouRHere blog.)

Prediction #1: Lollapalooza Mastermind (and psychotropic drug enthusiast) Perry Farrell will wander Grant Park wide-eyed and shirtless, play a DJ set of some form and pass out somewhere in Michigan. This will all probably happen by the time Radiohead take the stage on Friday. Actually, it's probably happening right now.

Prediction #2: Kanye West will fail to mention the fact that Lollapalooza takes place in his hometown of Chicago, because people don't really seem to care about that sort of thing. This is my mortal, lead-pipe lock for the weekend.

Prediction #3: Rage Against The Machine's incendiary screeds against evil, multinational corporations that trample human rights and blot out cultural diversity in a never-ending quest for increased profit margins and lower bottom lines will sound totally awesome broadcast live ... from the AT&T Blue Room and direct to your mobile phone!

Prediction #4: Barack Obama will make an appearance at the fest, though it won't be to introduce Kanye or Wilco, as many are predicting. Rather, he'll be on hand to catch the 12:15 set by electronic duo Holy F---, because he "loves their spazzy, frantic live performances and glitchy, noisy low end."

Prediction #5: Not to be outdone, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain will also show up at Lolla, but only because he mistakenly believes VHS or Beta to be a hot-button issue with the American public.

Prediction #6: The number of bands with the word "black" in their name (at first glance, three — Black Lips, Black Keys and Black Kids) will be far greater than the number of actual black people in attendance, by a wide margin.

Prediction #7: In 2015, one of the dudes in Innerpartysystem will be staring out of a window in an Ohio office park, drinking coffee out of a Styrofoam cup and muttering to no one in particular that he was once in a band that played Lollapalooza. The woman vacuuming nearby will smile and nod. It will be an hour before he speaks again.

Prediction #8: Temperatures in Grant Park will soar so high that translucent pop-chanteuse Duffy will suddenly burst into flames. This will somehow only improve her music.

Prediction #9: At some point during the weekend, I will call my wife and complain about any (or all) of the following: the heat, the dust, the cost of food, the selection of food, the distance between the hotel and the venue, my co-workers, the bands I've been forced to watch, the bands I've been forced to miss, walking, sweating, my shoes, my shorts and Chicago in general. I will also begin to consider that I am a terrible person.

Prediction #10: During his Saturday-night headlining set at the Perry stage, DJ Momjeans (a.k.a. Danny Masterson, the dude who played Hyde on "That '70s Show") will abruptly stop whatever record he's playing, think to himself "My God ... I am a total douche," and suddenly realize that his life is meaningless and none of this matters in the slightest. He will then curl up on in a ball on the floor, eyes vacant and wide. Never blinking. Never. The same will possibly (hopefully) happen during Louis XIV's Friday afternoon set.

Questions? Concerns? Predictions? Send 'em to me at

Trick Daddy Denies Beef With Rick Ross, Says He's Not Responsible For Prison-Guard Rumors

Yeah, Trick Daddy has had his share of public fisticuffs, and he's said hateful words toward rap foes in interviews and video blogs, but the Miami Mayor insists the only beef he's cooking these days is in his kitchen.

"I refuse to go through some fake rap beef about something somebody on the computer said," Trick lamented over the weekend on the phone from his home.

At the heart of his comment was the recent Rick Ross prison-guard scandal.

While legal documents and pictures have purportedly surfaced that peg the Boss as a prison guard more than a decade — and The Smoking Gun released more details earlier this week — Trick Daddy's name has been thrust into the mix as well. Footage of an interview surfaced wherein Ross was asked what he thought about Trick Daddy telling people he was a corrections officer. Ross responded by saying the allegations were false and that Trick was a "sucker" (and that was probably the nicest thing he said) for trying to falsely blow him up. The only problem is, Trick says he never did go around telling people about his fellow Miami native's past — right side of the law or otherwise.

"Me and Ross had a clear understanding 'bout the whole station," Trick said. "The video [interview] comes from an attempt to start a beef like two or three years ago. Some people around you don't mean you good. After figuring that out, those people are no longer in the situation. When this whole thing came out, it had nothing to do with me. Then all of sudden this video popped up on [the Net]. I'm a man. I don't do sh-- like that."

Regardless of whether Trick was the culprit, Ross' comments about him did raise eyebrows. What does he think of the tongue-lashing?

"The only thing I can say to that is, I'm a grown man," Trick insisted. "I'm definitely not gonna [let] nobody make me say something negative. I'm a Rick Ross fan. A lot of years ago, a lot of people wanted me and Rick Ross to have this problem with one another, and they almost succeeded from what you can see in the video. The video is very old. It's two or three years old. As far as that situation, he was given some bad advice. He's a very talented person. It seems like me and Ross was going through some type of problems. I don't have problems with nobody, period. I don't care what the video says. Me and Ross never had problems. That was somebody lying."

Trick was also upset at the rumors that he might be behind the prison-guard photos that have recently popped up. Trick said he's heard ridiculous innuendo that he was behind those pictures surfacing after all these years.

"You know how the media go," he rationalized. "I'm just surprised it comes from so many so-called professional people that they would even involve my name in that. I had nothing to do with that from day one. They don't need to make up lies like I leaked pictures or I'm beefing with Plies and Rick Ross. Definitely not Rick Ross — that's my homeboy."

Trick and Ross did speak just days ago, and everything was on sturdy ground. "He's working on his album, man," Trick said. "The media tries to do what they do. You can't stop. You gotta get money."

On the Plies front, everyone has the right to believe that he and Plies had problems. Trick lambasted the young MC during a video blog from the set of DJ Khaled's "Out Here Grindin' " video shoot. Among the pleasantries, he called him "fake."

"I got pissed off and said what I said," Trick said. "But as far as me and Plies having a major problem, that ain't what this is. I don't have no problems with him.

"I been in this game a long time," he continued. "It's a certain respect or understanding you should have about me if you grew up in my area. If you from Florida, Georgia, them places, and you in between the ages of 15 and 35, I practically raised you on the music tip. There's a certain level of respect you should give me. You don't owe me, but at the same time, it's certain things that were said and done that I felt was disrespectful. But me and him got a clear understanding, I'm sure we do. [Him not showing up to Khaled's video shoot], that's what made me pop off at the time. But it started before that."

Trick recently inked a Cash Money Records deal with his protégés the Dunk Riders. That LP is just about done and is due out sometime this year. Baby and Lil Wayne are slated to have guest features.

Trick's next solo LP will be called Finally Famous. That project is scheduled for the top of 2009 with records "Ghetto Superstar" and "I'm the Realest" duking it out behind the scenes for first-single rights.

'Twilight' Tuesday: 10 Things Comic-Con Taught Us About 'Twilight'

SAN DIEGO — Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, you've likely heard that the stars of the film "Twilight" (due in December) made their first collective public appearance at Comic-Con on Thursday, setting off a feeding frenzy among media who are just now realizing that this movie might sell a few tickets.

But as we welcome other media outlets to the party, we've also got one thing to confess: Even after all the "Twilight" Tuesdays we've been running this year, there are still a few things about Stephenie Meyer's universe that we didn't know.

Shia LaBeouf 'Not At Fault' In Accident: Police

Authorities have determined that Shia LaBeouf was not at fault for the car accident he was involved in on Sunday morning, according to The Associated Press.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told AP that detectives have determined that the other driver apparently ran a red light, and will be cited.

"He was not at fault," Whitmore said of the actor.

Initial reports said that LaBeouf had made an illegal left turn, causing the accident. The actor was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence, and then released.

LaBeouf recently underwent surgery on his hand for an injury he suffered during the accident. Neither his reported passenger, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" co-star Isabel Lucas, nor the other driver were seriously injured in the crash. A spokesperson for LaBeouf said the surgery went well and the actor is expected to return to work on the "Transformers" sequel within a month.

News of his recovery comes on the heels of less fortunate developments for the actor. He recently spoke about drinking with Details magazine for its September issue. "We would drink together and smoke together," LaBeouf, 22, said about himself and his father. "And it's just a bad deal. It's not something that is conducive to being a role model — no iconic actors that I know of have problems like that. And I don't know how to do it like a gentleman. I don't know how to have one drink."

And Monday, anonymous reports surfaced about his behavior before the accident. Citing an anonymous source, reported that LaBeouf was out watching the band Lemon Son and "dancing around and acting really crazy. He kept doing shots of whiskey," the source said. "He stayed until the band was done and then stumbled out of the club by himself."

On Tuesday (July 29), Mothers Against Drunk Driving posted an open letter to LaBeouf on its Web site asking the actor to voluntarily install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles registered in his name "to protect the safety of his family and the citizens of his community." The locks test a driver's breath and are linked to a vehicle's ignition system, cutting off the ignition if the driver is intoxicated.

In addition to completing any other punishments he may face if he's convicted, MADD said it hoped that "Mr. LaBeouf will voluntarily use the opportunity of his DUI arrest to educate his fans — and the country — about this life-saving device by installing the device on his vehicles."

[This story was originally published on 7.29.08 at 4:24 p.m. ET.]

Miley Cyrus Hints At Final Season Of 'Hannah Montana'

Miley Cyrus might be getting ready to hang up her "Hannah Montana" wig for good. The singer/actress, 15, told E! Online that the third season might mark the show's end. "We're thinking this is our last season," she said, explaining that she's been working on the program longer than most people realize. Just 11 when it began, she will turn 16 in November and seems willing to quit while she's ahead.

"I just think we did a lot of episodes," she told E!. "We basically did two seasons in one last year. Usually people would do one season [and] that would be, like, 16 episodes, and we did almost 30 episodes! ... It seems like it's been on, like, longer."

A representative for Disney was quick to respond to the news, saying, "Miley said it best when she said she's delighted to be part of the Disney family. ... We start production on the third season of 'Hannah Montana' on August 4 and have an option for a fourth season beyond that. We look forward to the 'Hannah Montana' feature film coming to a theater near you in spring 2009." A rep for Cyrus also chimed in, saying, "We do not know if this is the last season."

Even as Cyrus was saying she's thinking about leaving behind the alter ego that has turned her into a teen superstar, she was careful not to make it seem like she's bailing on Disney. "I'm still with my family," she said of the Mouse House. "You know, they're safe. They always feel like home. And that's what I love about the company. They are family."

Just as the scandal over her viral jab at Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato was dying down, Cyrus was hit with yet another photo scandal this week, at least her third one this year, this time involving some PG-rated shots of her apparently making out with an ex-boyfriend.

And though it's clearly a publicity stunt, Disney can't be happy about a new endorsement-gig offer Cyrus got this week. LifeStyles Condoms has offered Cyrus $1 million to become its spokesperson. "Pop culture proves that teens are more ready than ever to discuss the subject of sex," the company's VP of marketing said. "We believe that Miley is both influential and relatable to this afflicted set — and is the obvious choice to get the message of safe sex out to teens across America." A rep for Cyrus said they never received, and would not consider, the offer.

Win A Trip To The VMAs With Think.MTV.Com!

By Jocelyn Vena is offering one lucky activist the chance to attend this year’s Video Music Awards on September 7 in Los Angeles. Any member who joins the group “Do Good. Go to the VMAs” between Thursday and August 22 will be registered to win two tickets to the VMAs, as well as hotel and travel accommodations.

All you have to do is go to, join the group “Do Good. Go to the VMAs” and start sharing your summer volunteer experiences. Upload videos, photos, audio or blog about the ways you gave back this summer. Contestants must be at least 18 years old to win.

“MTV Research shows that young people seek out and appreciate recognition for taking action on issues that are important to them,” said Ian Rowe, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and public affairs. “Contests like ‘Do Good. Go to the VMAs’ celebrate young people’s efforts, helping to normalize activism and create positive peer pressure to ‘do good.’ ”

There’s one more contest that has up its sleeve. Politically minded individuals can submit a 90-second viral video for the “In the Time It Takes” competition showing young people how easy it is to vote. The winner will get a trip for two to LA and VIP passes to Declare Yourself’s “Young Hollywood” party in September. All entries are due August 3. You can find more info here.