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Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

People in the news

August 4, 2006

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Madonna's crucifixion draws ire from religious leaders

New York - On Thursday, religious leaders in Italy criticized Madonna for wearing a crown of thorns and singing while hanging from a mirrored cross on her "Confessions" tour.

The prospect of the scene being repeated at her concert Sunday in Rome's Olympic stadium, some two miles from the Vatican, prompted Catholic officials to denounce the act as a publicity stunt in bad taste.

"To crucify yourself in the city of the pope and the martyrs is an act of open hostility," Cardinal Ersilio Tonini was quoted as saying in the La Stampa daily Wednesday. "It's a scandal created on purpose by astute merchants to attract publicity."

Muslim and Jewish leaders also criticized the concert stunt.

"It's not the first time Madonna stages such an act. We deplore it, we feel it is an act of bad taste," said Mario Scialoja, president of the Muslim World League in Italy.

"We express solidarity with the Catholic world," said Riccardo Pacifici, spokesman for Rome's Jewish community. "It's a disrespectful act, and to do it in Rome is even worse."

A phone message left for Madonna's New York-based spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, wasn't returned Thursday.

Tickets for the Rome concert were selling quickly, with only about 100 left by Thursday, news agency ANSA reported.

Katharine McPhee fractures left foot on 'Idol' tour

New York - Katharine McPhee, who joined the "American Idols Live" tour last week after a bout of bronchitis and laryngitis, has fractured her left foot.

The "American Idol" runner-up tripped backstage before a performance Tuesday night in Charlotte, N.C., said Roger Widynowski, a representative for McPhee's record label, RCA.

However, McPhee was able to take the stage - wearing "slipper-sandals" - to sing two songs. She went to a hospital after the performance, and X-rays showed a hairline fracture in her left foot, Widynowski told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Widynowski said McPhee is in "good" condition and will stay on the tour.

The 22-year-old singer missed the first few weeks of the tour because her doctor told her not to sing. She joined the tour in Washington on July 28.

McPhee, known for her sultry looks and her cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," lost the most recent round of the Fox talent competition to Taylor Hicks.

Dupri to blend various live music at AmsterJam

New York - Though musical mash-ups are the hot trend, Jermaine Dupri doesn't necessarily see the blending of two songs to create another as something new.

"I've always mixed different music with other music (as a DJ)," said the top producer/performer.

Now, Dupri will do it once again as musical director for the Aug. 19 AmsterJam concert in New York City, where acts such as the Foo Fighters, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Tom Petty will blend their music with that of other acts live onstage.

"What you hear will be my creation basically ... or how I think the mash-ups should go," said Dupri in an interview with The Associated Press this week. "I'm kind of visualizing this from a DJ perspective."

Dupri, 33, will decide how the artists' songs will be blended.

"LL Cool J and (reggaeton star) Tego (Calderon), that's going to be a hard one," he said. "As the music director, I have to step up to the plate."

Penelope Cruz says she's met TomKat's daughter, Suri

London - She may not be seeing much of ex-beau Tom Cruise anymore, but Penelope Cruz is among those who say they have seen his daughter, Suri.

Cruz, who dated Cruise from 2001 to 2004, declined to offer details of the meeting, but praised Suri as a special baby.

"She's really beautiful. She's one of the most beautiful babies I've ever seen," the 32-year-old actress said. She was in London Thursday night to attend the British premiere of her new film, "Volver."

Suri, the daughter of Cruise, 44, and his fiancee, Katie Holmes, 27, was born in Los Angeles on April 18. She has yet to be seen in public.

However, actresses Jada Pinkett Smith and Leah Remini have reported seeing Suri, in separate visits to the Cruise-Holmes mansion in Los Angeles.

Cruz was photographed earlier this week in St. Tropez, France, partying on the yacht of rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs alongside actress-socialite Paris Hilton and Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York.

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