dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rihanna Opens Her "Umbrella" At #1

This week both the Billboard Hot 100 Singles and Top 200 Albums charts mirror their counterparts in the U.K., as Rihanna's "Umbrella" flies up 40 spots to become her second U.S. #1 single, and Maroon 5's It Won't Be Soon Before Long takes the top album slot. Following Timbaland's "Give It To Me," it's only the second time this year both countries have shared the same song at #1. Billboard notes that with sales of 277,000, "Umbrella" scores the highest debut week sum since paid digital downloads started being tracked by Nielsen SoundScan back in 2003.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Fergie swaps out unoriginally-titled "Glamorous" for unimaginitively-titled "Big Girls Don't Cry," and Kelly Clarkson rebounds with "Never Again," moving up from #17 to #9.

This brings us to last week's American Idol winner and runner-up, Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, whose EPs were immediately available on iTunes to tie in with the finale.

It remains to be seen whether either will become steady radio and chart staples, though the trend tends to show that won't be likely. Ruben Studdard, Justin Guarini, Diana DeGarmo, Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee could probably use a little company in the unemployment line, anyway.

This week, at least, Sparks' "This Is My Now" is the Hot Shot Debut at #15, while Blake enters at #18 with his cover of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name." One can only guess that two years from now, when Jordin is MC-ing karaoke championships in Boise, Blake will be bending over for rent money and a 30-second spot on the TV Guide Channel.

That said, I did always want to get into television programming...

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z *1 week*
2. "Party Like A Rockstar" - Shop Boyz *airplay gainer*
3. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5
4. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
5. "Home" - Daughtry
6. "Summer Love" - Justin Timberlake
7. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
8. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie *sales gainer*
9. "Never Again" - Kelly Clarkson
10. "Pop, Lock & Drop It" - Huey

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Maroon 5 Debut On Top

Maroon 5 match their British success by capturing this week's #1 position on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, with sales of 429,000 copies.

After also having having the #1 single for three non-consecutive weeks, there seems to be no escaping the 5 -- and, really, with a hot piece like frontman Adam Levine, why would you want to?

Be sure to pick up the June issue of Instinct, which contains a fascinating interview with Adam by our pal, Paul Zapping.

You'll also be mesmerized by XOLondon's groovy rap session with Rufus Wainwright, who had a career-best debut at #23 on last week's Billboard album chart with Release The Stars.

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All Beths Are Off

You won't catch Jordin Sparks doing this.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: Love Will Tear Us Apart


Another clip of The Sheilas' single "(I'm So) Happy Happy (You're Mine)" has been added here, this time with the chorus. Cheese, thy will be done.

Rock photographer Anton Corbijn saw his biopic on tragic Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, Control, sweep the awards at Cannes this past week, despite being shown outside the main Palme D'Or competition.

Long a hero of D'luv harkening back to my romantic, brooding teenage years, Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy, hung himself at age 23 just as Joy Division were about to trek over to America for a tour. The rest of the band members carried on -- with guitarist Bernard Sumner taking over vocal duties -- and became who we know today as New Order.

Here's the full trailer, with French subtitles, for Control:

Joy Division and New Order were previously portrayed as a subplot in 24 Hour Party People, which focused on music mogul Tony Wilson and the rise and fall of the Manchester music scene throughout the '70s and '80s.

Those unfamiliar with the band's work will still likely have heard their most famous song, "Love Will Tear Us Apart," which plays through the last minute of the trailer above. Though no U.S. release date for Control has been scheduled yet, that should change given the amount of awards the film won at Cannes. The movie is out in the U.K. in September.

Another film dealing with music is Once, which is out now and has become somewhat of a sleeper hit. I caught it yesterday during a relaxing Memorial Day spent recovering from jetlag.

This modern-day musical tells the simple story of a struggling Irish singer/songwriter and poor Czech immigrant who meet and set about cutting a demo together. Eventually, the "Guy" (as his character is simply billed in the credits) decides to leave home for London to pursue his dream. Without ruining the plot, let's just say it's more of a Lost In Translation-type love story, rather than a typical Hollywood romantic comedy.

What stands out most about Once are the original songs the two actors -- Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová -- sing (and wrote) throughout it. Think pre-sellout Coldplay and Snow Patrol, and Dido.

Assuming no one else had heard of the movie, I ran to grab the soundtrack at Amoeba Records (next door to the theater) afterward, only to be met with a sign in the bin that stated "We're sorry, the Once soundtrack is sold out." It's actually #7 on Amazon's bestseller list in music. It's also available on iTunes.

So instead, I grabbed new CDs from Maroon 5, Erasure and The Bravery.

I had a promo of Erasure's, but bought the version with the two bonus tracks -- which I'm shocked were actually relegated to bonus tracks! "Be My Baby" and, to some extent, "I Don't Know Why" are better than a few of the regular album cuts, such as "Sucker For Love." Naturally, iTunes doesn't have either available for individual download. If you're just looking to pluck the best songs, go for "Sunday Girl," "How My Eyes Adore You," "Storm In A Teacup" and "Glass Angel."

So far off Maroon 5's It Won't Be Soon Before Long, the Police-esque "Won't Go Home Without You" and power-pop "Not Falling Apart" are standing out as the shining moments. I've yet to listen to The Bravery.

Finally, you gotta love how Jay-Z is using Rihanna as his testing hooker for rad, catchy 3-minute tunes. Check out "Shut Up And Drive":

According to an extremely reliable source (Wikipedia), "Shut Up And Drive" will be Rihanna's next single, serviced to U.S. radio in June.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Le Retour De D'luv

D'luv touched back down on American soil a few hours ago after a far too short weekend in Paris and D'luvvly week in the French countryside.

I thought I'd share this photo, as there's something just slightly tacky about it (least of which being I was sweating like a two-buck hooker on pay day -- Flossy, flossy!). You can see the literal tourist jam in the background, a la ABBA's "Our Last Summer."

I also grabbed this fine literature while traumatizing my credit card with clothes shopping during the afternoon...

This is the living, green billboard for BHV Homme:

People were standing across the street below it in awe by the dozens (click on it to see the details up close).

Later in the evening was a tour of the famous Hotel George V wine cellar (which contains 36,000 bottles, dating back to 1850!), dinner at some godawful Thai dive that I wouldn't even recommend to Lily Allen, and then cocktails at gay bars Le Cox and Open Bar before going back for three hours of sleep until the airport shuttle arrived at 6:45 a.m.

Anyway, it'll be back to regular, wry Chart Rigging service after the Memorial Day weekend. Thanks to all for stopping by and commenting during the sporadic, on-the-road posts throughout the past week!

On a quick British Top 10 singles chart note, kudos for ex-Sugababe Mutya Buena for climbing to #9 based on digital sales of "Real Girl," which will no doubt move higher next week upon the release of the CD single. Either way, it's already a fine improvement over her last effort, the bland George Michael duet "This Is Not Real Love," which peaked at #15 in November. Additionally this week, Scooch fall from #8 to #22 with "Flying The Flag (For You)."

The U.K. Top 10

1. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z *2 weeks*
2. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5
3. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira
4. "Here (In Your Arms)" - Hellogoodbye
5. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump
6. "Don't Matter" - Akon
7. "Signal Fire" - Snow Patrol
8. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado
9. "Real Girl" - Mutya Buena
10. "Shine" - Booty Luv

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Songwriters Of The Year: The Feeling

Congrats to The Feeling for picking up the "Songwriter Of The Year" statue at this year's British Ivor Novello Awards! Read the full list of winners here.

If you've not yet read the super-duper Chart Rigger interview with lead singer Dan Gillespie-Sells, stop depriving yourself and do so now.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Sheilas Take A Bow

Well, it sounds like he O.D.'d on sugar and Erasure's Chorus album, but producer Mike Stock has pulled out every pop stop with The Sheilas.

Of course, this observation is based soley on the 20-second clip of "(I'm So) Happy Happy (You're Mine)" -- Stock Aitken Waterman 2.0's first release -- which is now up to listen to here.

Looks like those three broads are off to summer camp. And by that, I mean the producers.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Enrique Iglesias Smacks His Ping Pong Song Into The Top 40

If I could get this French keyboard on this strange thing called a PC to work for me, you'd see a lovely picture of hottie Enrique Iglesias here this week. Alas...

It's an American Idol frenzy on this week's Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, as Maroon 5 reclaim the top position following their performance on last week's episode of the "talent" program. As well, the show's weepy theme for booted contestant's, Daughtry's "Home," drags its boring self into the Top 5.

Enrique, who performed live on Dancing With The Stars last week, sees the perfectly-timed digital release of his single "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)" land him a #33 debut.

Now I'm off to smash this computer!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5 * 3 weeks*
2. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
3. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
4. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake/N. Furtado
5. "Home" - Daughtry
6. "Pop, Lock & Drop It" - Huey
7. "I Tried" - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony feat. Akon
8. "Before He Cheats" - Carrie Underwood
9. "Summer Love" - Justin Timberlake
10. "Glamorous" - Fergie feat. Ludacris

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Excuse My French

Bonjour! It's the first day I've had working internet access, as our press group here in the Loire Vally of France just checked into a new hotel.

Yesterday we went bicycling along the Loire River and toured two old châteaus (one in Villandry -- where apparently Caroline Kennedy visited last week -- and one...uh..somewhere else).

This is Chrisophe, our lovely guide from the French Tourism board. I'm chalking my fat face up to the tight helmet strap.

Anyway, it's off to Paris on Friday for two days of free time. The Pet Shop Boys and Smashing Pumpkins each will have played there this week -- before I arrive, naturally.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

McFly Plummet, Scooch Hang Tight And It's Bonne Vacances For D'luv

Ha! There is indeed some ironic justice in the world when McFly, the once-hot boyband who last week's had the #1 British single, make a disasterous plunge all the way down to #20, while derided pop outfit Scooch only slip three positions within the Top 10 to #8. That said, Rihanna's refreshingly innovative R&B jam "Umbrella" becomes the new #1 this week, keeping Maroon 5 at bay at #2 (the same position they sit at in the U.S.)

That brings us to Snow Patrol, who I must admit, came across like a really cool band three years ago upon the release of Final Straw and its singles "Run," "Spitting Games" and "Chocolate." Unfortunately, following that album's surpise success, the band seemed to pour all its energy into the "please everybody" mode of operation, and issued a follow-up last year that was the kind of tepid affair you'd expect from U2 or Coldplay.

And now, off the Spiderman 3 soundtrack, we get "Signal Fire" at #4 this week, which in actuality is a #23 at best that doesn't stray far from the most boring of Snow Patrol's output. That signal sounds like one of distress, if anything.

On a final note, D'luv is jetting off to France for five days of châteaus and cathedrals in the Loire Valley, and a weekend à Paris.

Stay tuned for a week of Chart Rigger on location!

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z *1 week*
2. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5
3. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira
4. "Signal Fire" - Snow Patrol
5. "Here (In Your Arms)" - Hellogoodbye
6. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump
7. "Don't Matter" - Akon
8. "Flying The Flag (For You)" - Scooch
9. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado
10. "Shine" - Booty Luv

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Retro Kylie Bites The Big Apple

Kylie Minogue has been sassing around New York this week, working her best Edie Sedgwick-style look.

Just be happy it's not the Shanghai H&M weave she unveiled last month.

Anyway -- and bear in mind this comes straight out of the rumor mill -- the site GaySocialites.com reported yesterday that a "source" said Kylie is in talks to do a U.S. tour in 2008, which would then move on to Japan and other areas she doesn't normally hit when she's performing.

Hmmm. That sounds a little too good to be true, but if it does happen, remember that you heard it here, uh, second!

Keeping up with Minogue gossip, FoxesOnIdol.com posted that while Dannii Minogue has indeed joined the line-up for the next season of British music talent program X Factor, Simon Cowell is having a hard time filling the other vacant judge position:

"Cowell has confirmed that he has offered the position to David Gest, who is perhaps best known for marrying Liza Minelli and failed reality show Liza and David. Gest has turned down the offer. Also rumored to be up for judge consideration is George Michael, ex-head Thompson Twin Tom Bailey, and even outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair!"

Eww, ick, random and riiiight. Wonder what Kylie would have to say about all that...?

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Take That Get Wet Wet Wet

The video for Take That's third single off Beautiful World, "I'd Wait For Life," finds Gary Barlow looking more and more like Kevin Costner.

"I'd Wait For Life" always seemed like a nice, if not rather unmemorable, late-era Beatles-esque ballad.

As for the video, one can't help thinking that, were this 13 years ago, the That would be wearing far less clothing in those underwater shots.

Alas, That was then...


Chart Battle Of The Shawtys!

Here now is a real snapping shorty, to sing this week's new #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart, "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')":

This 5-year-old keeps it real when he does the We in the bed like 'Oh-oh-wooah!' line. Always one to push intellectual pop culture forward, vocoder-happy T-Pain previously hit the Top 10 with the standards "I'm N Luv (Wit A Stripper)" and "I'm Sprung." However, Mr. T's got some shawt order competition on the way, as Lloyd's "Get It Shawty" moves up to #18.

Proving the endurance of her single "U + Ur Hand," Pink re-enters the Top 10 this week after previously only making a one-week appearance at #9. You can't help but wonder if the performance of her other single, "Who Knew," on American Idol last week didn't somehow backfire and simply boost sales of "U + Ur Hand." These things can be so confusing for people, you know?

Another pop starlet who recently only spent a single week in the Top 10 is Kelly Clarkson, whose "Never Again" continues to slip further down the chart; this week from #12 to #15. Furthermore, she's probably still smarting from last week's banterview! Maybe to ease the pain, MoogaBoo and I should buy her a drank.

Schmaltz-rockers Lifehouse, who pop up every three or four years to unleash some noodling wedding anthem, debut at #48 with "First Time."

Over on the album chart Björk debuts at #9 with Volta, and Amy Winehouse's Back To Black, now at #14, has been certified gold.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc *1 week*
2. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5
3. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
4. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake/N. Furtado
5. "Because Of You" - Ne-Yo
6. "I Tried" - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony feat. Akon
7. "Pop, Lock & Drop It" - Huey
8. "Glamorous" - Fergie feat. Ludacris
9. "Don't Matter" - Akon
10. "U + Ur Hand" - Pink

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Together Forever

I completely missed this feature on Darren Hayes and husband Richard Cullen from Who magazine when it ran last November. They're so cute!

Fansite DarrenHayesNet.com has the two-page article archived (click the link). Also, the Instinct magazine interview with Darren, where he talks all about his forthcoming album This Delicate Thing We've Made, is now on the publication's site with exclusive content that didn't appear in print.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Girls Aloud Ho Cheryl Tweedy Makes Lily Allen Cry On Her MySpace

Two broads who ought to both have their tongues ripped out with a rusty pair of tinsnips have decided to give each other a verbal lashing!

It seems that after Lily Allen compared herself to Amy Winehouse yesterday on her MySpace blog, today she's warbling that the reason for doing so is because Girls Aloud skank Cheryl Tweedy called her a "chick with a dick." So, naturally, referring to oneself as "fat, shitter [?] and uglier than Winehouse" would be the obvious retaliation.

Anyway, it's just another excuse to drag out the best Lily Allen pic ever! Here's what the two-bit transexual had to say about the foam-boobed whore:

"After reading Cheryl Tweedy (nee Cole)'s comments branding me a 'chick with a dick' I was feeling pretty low..."

"Cheryl if you're reading this, I may not be as pretty as you but at least I write and SING my own songs without the aid of Autotune."

"I must say taking your clothes off, doing sexy dancing and marrying a rich footballer must be very gratifying for you..."

"...your mother must be so proud, stupid bitch."

"As for the Amy Winehouse bit, someone sent me a link to a picture blog where there were some paparazzi shots of my brother..."

"...there were hundreds of comments from mean, sad people, saying I was a fat, ugly bitch and how much better Amy is than I."

Gotta love how all of a sudden she has selective memory regarding the scathing comments she herself has made about other celebrities. But come on, Lily...why not just "smile"?

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High School Musical Hook Up

Here are some pictures of High School Musical's Zac Efron, 19, and Vanessa Hudgens, 18, in Hawaii together, from the new issue of In Touch.

Looks like school's out for summer. "Zac, should we put the snorkeling expedition and The Rabbit on your Amex Black Card or mine?"

Meanwhile, when I was 18, the best vacation I got was a trip to Disney World...with my parents.

Watch out for sand crabs, hookers.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Scooch Fly Into The U.K. Top 5

Let's look at the facts; Scooch did Eurovision and ranked 24th out of 25. They also had a photo op with Tony Blair, and now he's resigned.

But screw those insignificant technicalities! It's second time lucky for Scooch, as their Eurovision entry "Flying The Flag (For You)" has entered the U.K. Top 10 this week at #5, after originally peaking on the chart at #61 in March based off initial download sales.

That gives the cheesy foursome their second British Top 10 single, and it matches their previous best chart placing from January 2000, when "More Than I Needed To Know" also hit #5.

Scooch proved to be quite a polarizing choice to represent the U.K. at this year's ESC, most notably amongst their fellow competitors who initially sought to gain the ticket. Just this week, Booty Luv -- the dance act comprised of the broads from Big Brovas -- were trashing the flag-flyers in The Sun.

Keep in mind that Booty Luv have released two singles that are cover versions, while "Flying The Flag" was at least an original composition. And, hey, the major airlines should be giving props to Scooch for making flying seem sexy in a time when most carriers are filing for bankruptcy protection.

And so, over seven-and-a-half years, here is the short, time-gapped history for Scooch's five U.K. singles:

1. "When My Baby" (#29, November 1999)
2. "More Than I Needed To Know" (#5, January 2000)
3. "The Best Is Yet To Come" (#12, May 2000)
4. "For Sure" (#15, August 2000)
5. "Flying The Flag (For You)" (#5, May 2007)

Given the success of the new single, the best may be yet to come from Scooch, as they've now signed a record deal with Warner Bros.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Baby's Coming Back/Transylvania" - McFly *1 week*
2. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira
3. "Don't Matter" - Akon
4. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump
5. "Flying The Flag (For You)" - Scooch *new*
6. "What I've Done" - Linkin Park
7. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado
8. "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" - Manic Street Preachers
9. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
10. "Take Control" - Amerie

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Happy Mother's Day!

This guy's pretty classy (and it's not a bad tune, either!). It's Kennedy, with the disco-pop "Mama Made Me A Pimp."

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

L.A. Audience Overwhelms Keane

Last night's Keane show at the Gibson Ampitheater at Universal Studios was completely rad, even for someone who had to go all by their lonesome!

The concert was originally supposed to be held at the Greek Theatre, which has the unfortunate circumstance of being located smack in the middle of the recently-burnt-out Griffith Park. But the last-minute change in venue didn't affect how great the night was, and, to quote Mozza, I danced my legs down to the knees.

Hot mo-fo Tim Rice-Oxley opened the evening by walking on stage, bathed in blue light, and playing the two-minute instrumental bit that leads into "Crystal Ball" on Under The Iron Sea. Then the whole band launched into "Put It Behind You" -- which seemed symbolic given the recent struggles they've endured during the past year -- followed by "Everybody's Changing."

It was a charged night for singer Tom Chaplin, who repeatedly appeared taken aback and had to stop talking mid-sentence between songs as he got choked up by the overwhelming cheering from the audience. He kept shaking his head and thanking Keane fans for sticking by the band -- a reference to his recent bout with addiction and a canceled tour last year due to his rehab stint. "I feel like there's something so special about tonight, and so special about Keane fans," he told the crowd several times, generating an explosive response.

One of the highlights of the night was "A Bad Dream," which Tom introduced as "the best song we've ever written."

The lighting kept the stage washed out in vibrant hues of green and blue and yellow as the threesome ran through most of the songs off both of their albums. For the encore, they played "Atlantic," a raucous, crowd-pleasing rendition of "Crystal Ball" and finally "Bedshaped," which the audience sang the chorus to as Chaplin held the microphone out.

In the end, all three of them took a bow as Tom said that of all their many visits to Los Angeles, "this night has been the most memorable." Then they walked off stage, no doubt feeling both humbled and triumphant.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Banterview: So, About This New Direction You're Going In, Kelly Clarkson -- Never Again!

Since you been gone, Kelly Clarkson, you sound like you've become one angry broad. Pop sleuths J'ason and MoogaBoo set out to discover why!

J'ASON D'LUV: I can't believe "Never Again" was even considered a choice for a single, or that anyone at the label thought it would be a hit. Where does Kelly Clarkson think this is -- Japan?

MOOGABOO: Oh, babe. Don't insult Japan. Ayumi Hamasaki could break Kelly Clarkson in half. The fact is, she's sounding incrementally more miserable as each single goes by. Cheer up, Charlie. You've got Clive Davis by the balls. That's something to sing about!

JD: Don't be so hasty in thinking Clive's got Kelly's back. Those scrapped album rumors didn't start out of nowhere! My guess is that when he heard the final version of My December, he spit his dentures out and his Jurassic turnip spontaneously combusted into mulch. Hopefully they still make Viagra for age corpse.

M: Maybe she sees a hole in the Alanis Morissette market and she's trying to fill it?

JD: Yeah, we get it, Kelly. You got dumped. But was it really worth pissing on all the Breakaway goodwill? Hopefully she got custody of the pug after the whole affair...or at least a classy STD.

It might be too late for her. Like Alanis, she's squandering the opportunity to be truly mega fairly early in her career. Learn from Alanis, Kelly! Keep away from India and do not put notes from your therapist into your next single.

And these "trophy wife" and "think of me when you're in bed with her" lyrics? I hope Alanis Morissette untangles herself from the Sleeping Tortoise position, climbs down from whatever mountain she's spaced out on and shoves her yoga mat up Kelly's ass.

You can tell she thinks she has gravitas now -- getting indie legend Mike Watt to play on her album and writing all these bitter songs about her lousy childhood and her ex-boyfriend who ditched her because she got fat.

JD: I suppose we should just be happy that "Never Again" doesn't have the ubiquitous Akon cameo on it -- which probably explains why it only spent one week in the Top 10. But you knew Kelly was in trouble when she went slumming on that American Idol special the other week. That's like if Madonna were to barter her soul and hire Hip-hop producers to work on her next album. Oh, wait...

Kelly has one of your more common Hollywood problems; she's afraid to be loved for what people actually love her for, i.e., putting out hit tunes that folks enjoy. It's very Kylie, before she got dropped from DeConstruction and had to go back to her roots. So maybe there's hope.

Yes, it'd be sad to think she peaked last summer when she was YouTubed blitzed out of her gourd with that tool from Sum 41, screeching Def Leppard chestnuts on stage at Metal Skool.

M: That's a nice thought -- to think she peaked after "Since U Been Gone." But let's face it, she'll never find that recipe again.

JD: I wouldn't say My December is dead in the water. Maybe they're simply saving the best songs for later singles. Truthfully, Kelly Clarkson could crack walnuts open with her jugs in front of a microphone for 45 minutes, and it's still gonna sound better than Ashlee Simpson's next flop.

M: Do not even say that name. Betrayed is how I feel.

JD: Eh?

M: It's just that I used to be able to relate to Ashlee when she had the big schnozz and the chin and the witchy clothing. Now she looks like a stranger to me. It's only a matter of time before she's squeezing her boobs on the cover of some men's magazine. Although, I guess I can relate to that, too.

JD: I'm really sorry for your loss.

M: You know who I do like? Avril Lavigne. "Girlfriend" is such a firecracker.

JD: That one's really handclapped its way into my heart, too. Plus, you know I'm a whore for any good pop song that goes to #1. Thank God that'll never happen with Trashlee Simpson.

M: True, Avril was absent for a while there. But then she wised up, bought some hits and -- voila! Paycheck.

JD: And it all comes full circle. Avril's now working with Kelly's old producer, Dr. Luke, while Kelly's shilling gloomy dirges. In the meantime, Avril's completely taken her place at the top.

M: "Girlfriend" is like a perfect mash-up of "My Boyfriend's Back" and "Johnny, Are You Queer?" And I love that it's made by a married woman who seems to be regressing back to her first album.

JD: I wonder if she sits around at home knitting sweaters and hosting Tupperware parties, maybe occasionally catering to the needs of Deryck's whibley once every month or so?

M: I did see Jenny McCarthy on TV the other day saying married ladies have to do suprise oral sometimes to get their husbands to fix screen doors and stuff.

JD: God, Jenny's such a trooper. I just bribe mine with new Fiesta ware.

M: Well, Avril can surely afford to hire a handyman now.

JD: Do you mean that in a naughty way? Because Avril strikes me as the type who's probably nailed the DHL delivery guy at least twice.

M: DHL? I never did like their cover of "Listen To Your Heart."

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