Billboard Bits: The Smiths, Paula Abdul, Michael Bublé, LeToya and more
Billboard Bits serves up the best bite-sized nuggets of music news and gossip every afternoon.
Brooklyn fans of The Smiths got a special treat over the weekend, when the band's original bassist, Andy Rourke, hopped on stage at the Bell House and performed with Smiths tribute band Sons & Heirs. Rourke's ongoing feud with Morrissey makes a full-fledged reunion as unlikely as ever, but Rourke reportedly rumbled his way through the 25-year old favorite "Bigmouth Strikes Again."
The latest rumor swirling around the Season 10 debut of "American Idol" is that longtime host Simon Cowell is not only planning to jetison the show at the end of this year's competition in favor of bringing his own "X-Factor" franchise to the U.S., but that he's signed his former "Idol" cohort Paul Abdul to a $4.5 million contract to join him on the new venture. Abdul left the show last year, and will be replaced by Ellen Degeneres on this year's judge's panel.
Chart-topping Canadian singer Michael Bublé is engaged to his Argentinian actress girlfriend, Luisana Loreley Lopilato de la Torre, according to a report in People. Bublé proclaimed his "crazy love" for the soap opera star in Argentina in November, after a year-long romance.
Stevie Wonder, Akon, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi and Jesse McCartney are among the artists performing on the United Negro College Fund's (UNCF) 31st annual "Evening of Stars" tribute to singer/songwriter Lionel Richie. The two-hour syndicated telecast will air nationally Jan. 22-24 on more than 35 network stations, including BET Networks and WGN America. Richie joins such fellow UNCF award of excellence honorees as Patti LaBelle and Smokey Robinson.
LeToya Luckett makes her theatrical film debut in "Preacher's Kid," which bows nationally Jan. 29. Originally slated for release in summer 2009 (Billboard, April 25, 2009), the Warner Premiere-produced film is a modern-day version of the biblical story "The Prodigal Son." Luckett co-stars with fellow artists Trey Songz, Tank and Kiki Sheard plus actors Sharif Atkins (currently on USA Network's "White Collar"), Essence Atkins and Clifton Powell. "Preacher's Kid" is directed by Stan Foster ("Woman Thou Art Loosed").
Michelle Williams will reprise her role as Roxie Hart when "Chicago" returns to Broadway for a seven-week limited engagement (Feb. 8-March 28) at the Ambassador Theatre. The Destiny's Child member first played Roxie in 2009 in London's West End production of the Tony Award-winning musical.
Contributors: David J. Prince and Gail Mitchell