Billboard Bits serves up the best bite-sized nuggets of music news and gossip.
"Idol's" Pia Toscano Denies Record Deal, Dating Rumors
While online rumors have circled that "American Idol" castoff Pia Toscano has inked a record deal with Interscope ("Idol" contestants are typically signed to recording deals with 19 Entertainment, with distribution through a label under Universal Music Group), the singer will not confirm any label deal, and a spokesperson has told USA Today, "This Pia thing is all just a rumor." Meanwhile, Toscano denies another, more personal rumor: that she's dating "Dancing with the Stars'" Mark Ballas. "He's just a really good friend, I guess," the singer tells People. ( THR)
For the inaugural MTV O Music Awards, one of the categories, Best Tweet, features five nominees -- all tweets from Kanye West. To honor the rapper, the nominees include chestnuts like "I always misspell genius SMH! The irony!" and "I have decided to become the best rapper of all time! I put it on my things to do in this lifetime list!" Kanye will find out which tweet wins on April 28.
After James Murphy bid a fond farewell to his dance-punk group, LCD Soundsystem, earlier this month at Madison Square Garden, the frontman will play a DJ set at Barcelona's Sonar festival, which takes place June 16-18. Murphy will reportedly take the stage once more alongside Four Tet, Cut Copy and Dizzee Rascal. (NME)
Questlove Responds To Ashley Judd's Hip-Hop Criticism
A few days after Ashley Judd criticized hip-hop and called it "rape music," Roots drummer Questlove responded to the actress' commentary. "hmmm. at least i got my answer as to why ash judd didn't give us so much as a nod on her last visit. im a criminal [sic]," the drummer wrote on Friday (Apr. 8) on his Twitter page. Judd's recently published book 'All That Is Bitter, and Sweet' criticizes artists like Snoop Dogg and Diddy for making music that is "the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny." (Pop Eater)
White Stripes To Release Live Album, DVD
The recently-disbanded White Stripes are planning to release a live recording of their last-ever show on vinyl. The album, recorded on July 31, 2007 in Southaven, Miss., will be called "Live from Mississippi," will be accompanied by 7-inch covers of Love's "Signed DC" and Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long." The White Stripes also plan to release a DVD of previously unseen footage from a 2000 performance in Minnesota. ( Spinner)
The Osbournes Facing Tax Charges
Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon and their daughter Kelly reportedly owe the IRS more than $1.7 million in taxes from 2008 and 2009, and a tax lien was placed on the family's Los Angeles home. Sharon expressed her thoughts on the situation via Twitter. "You can't rely on anyone but yourself. You have to be on top of your own business affairs. My fault..... lesson learned." ( Rolling Stone)
Arcade Fire, Muse, Phish Headlining Outside Lands Festival
Arcade Fire, Muse, Phish, the Black Keys and many more artists will perform at the fourth annual Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival. The festival will once again take place in San Francisco's historic Golden Gate Park August 12 - 14, 2011. Tickets will go on sale Thursday April 14 at 12 Noon PST. (Full story at Billboard.biz)
(Reporting by Katie Morgan, Jason Lipshutz and Ricardo Gomez)