Billboard Bits serves up the best bite-sized nuggets of music news and gossip every afternoon.
Simon Cowell gave his first interview since the making the announcement about his departure from "American Idol" at the end of this season, insisting that it was an "emotional" moment. But he's not so sure that Ryan Seacrest and the other judges are sorry to see him go. ""I heard a lot of popping champagne bottles," he told Extra.
But, publicly at least, Cowell's Idol cohorts Ryan Seacrest and Ellen DeGeneres, who will join the show as a judge this year, are wishing him the best. They joined Jordin Sparks, Kara DioGuardi, and other "Idol" alumni in congratulating him on the move. "It's sad because a lot of people watch because of him," Sparks told MTV. "But it was bound to happen eventually. And I may even miss him a little. :)"
The next time R&B singer Usher stops off to refill his minutes, its a safe bet he'll put all his packages in the trunk. As TMZ reported today, on Dec. 14 Usher's car was robbed of nearly $1 million worth of jewelry, computers, and other Christmas presents while he and a friend had stopped at an AT&T store. But while his bling was probably insured, Usher told police he's worried about some unreleased vocal tracks that were on his laptop getting leaked.
Avril Lavigne is having trouble finishing her acoustic album "Pink Crust," Jam reports, possibly owing to the fact the she and producer/soon-to-be ex-husband Deryck Whibley are spending as much time in their lawyers' offices as they once did in the studio. Lavigne is refusing to pay spousal support, but could soon find herself coughing up nearly half her fortune. Needless to say, they're having trouble completing the album's last three songs.
Beyonce remains happily married to Jay-Z, but she's in no rush to finish her next album either. "It's definitely time to take a break, to recharge my batteries," she told USA Today. "I'd like to take about six months and not go into the studio. I need to just live life, to be inspired by things again." But that doesn't mean you she's dropping off the radar -- she's already planned a number of high profile appearances, including a performance on the Grammy Awards, where she's nominated for ten trophies.
(Contributions by David J. Prince, Monica Herrera and Mariel Concepcion)