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SHOWBIZ Aretha, Justin Bieber, Wanda Sykes, 'Wicked,' Robin Williams
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-10-02

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The American Music Awards will honor Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Oct. 9, according to Page Six. Dick Clark productions said that Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and musical director Rickey Minor will pay tribute to Aretha Franklin's gospel roots and her iconic album Amazing Grace. Franklin won six AMAs throughout her career, and even hosted the show in 1976 and 1983. Also, the AMAs will feature Taylor Swift to open the show—her first awards-show performance in almost three years, an ABC press release noted.

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin were seen packing on the PDA while grabbing a drink recently at The Cranberry Bar, a local gay club in Zurich, Switzerland, People.com noted. After spending some private time together in Italy, the pair traveled to Switzerland where they stayed at the superluxe Dolder Hotel in Zurich. A source said the couple stayed at the club "for around 40 minutes" while their bodyguards "stood by the door in the rain … always checking the window to see what was going on."

More than a dozen angry fans walked out or were kicked out of comedian Wanda Sykes' show in New Jersey for heckling her when she opened with a series of jokes about President Donald Trump, Page Six related. The Asbury Park Press reported some attendees began heckling Sykes, complaining that she was being political. Attendees who stayed at the show say that it was enjoyable and that attendees should have expected jokes at the president's expense.

Original cast members Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel are slated to reunite for Wicked's 15th anniversary this fall, according to NewNowNext.com . The pair—who famously played Oz characters Glinda ( Chenoweth ) and Elphaba ( Menzel ) in the original version of the beloved Broadway show—are headlining a special tribute concert on NBC in October. Performers such as Ariana Grande and Pentatonix are slated to attend, with other guests to be announced closer to the date.

The late comedian/actor Robin Williams is being celebrated with a brand-new, massive DVD box set covering his entire career, Movieweb noted. The new set, titled Robin Williams: Comedic Genius, comes with more than 50 hours of footage that includes more than 100 performances across various mediums from talks shows to stand-up specials. Specifically, the set will include all five HBO stand-up specials, previously unreleased shows, the 2018 HBO documentary, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind and much more. See RobinWilliams.com .

Out singer Chely Wright will release an all-original holiday EP, Santa Will Find You!, on Oct. 26 ( Painted Music Group ), a press release noted. The new six-track EP of original songs was mostly shaped with friends and collaborators Richard Marx, Jeremy Lister and Mindy Smith. Some of the tracks include "It Really Is ( A Wonderful Life )," "Santa Will Find You" and "Happy New Year, Old Friend."

Rosie O'Donnell said on the TV show The Talk that she and daughter Chelsea are in a good place, according to Page Six. The mother and daughter's estranged relationship has improved since they made headlines in 2015, when Chelsea was reported missing and blasted her mother's marijuana use; Chelsea also accused Rosie of being abusive. The two reconnected over the summer after Chelsea revealed she is pregnant. O'Donnell was stepping in on The Talk after co-host Julie Chen announced her departure following the firing of her husband, disgraced CBS executive Les Moonves.

Asia Argento seemingly accepted an apology from Rose McGowan over the latter's incendiary comparison of Argento to Harvey Weinstein, Deadline.com reported. "Although I am grateful to @rosemcgowan for her full apology following her groundless allegations about me, if she had issued it earlier, I may have kept my job on X-Factor and avoided the constant accusations of pedophilia which I have been subjected to in real-life and online," Argento tweeted, following up with, "Now go on, live your life and stop hurting other people, will you Rose? Best wishes."

Little more than a month since Kevin Spacey saw claims of another sexual assault case handed over the Los Angeles County District Attorney, the former House of Cards actor has been sued for sexually battery and false imprisonment, Deadline reported. "Spacey assaulted and battered plaintiff by forcing plaintiff to touch his scrotum, testicles, and penis, grabbing plaintiff's shoulders and pulling him in for an apparent attempted forced kiss, and grabbing plaintiff's genitalia," a pretty graphic multi-claim complaint alleged in LA Superior Court by a John Doe masseuse over an October 2016 encounter. Since actor Anthony Rapp's revelations of sexual misconduct by Spacey more than 30 years ago, dozens of men have come forward with allegations that the actor groped or assaulted them sexually—many when they were boys.

Dean Cain ( who was TV's Superman in the '90s ) defended his decision to speak at an anti-LGBTQ hate group, LGBTQ Nation noted. Cain spoke at the Value Voters Summit, organized by the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council ( FRC )—and he called pro-LGBTQ activists "intolerant." After LGBTQ Nation published the piece, Cain tweeted it's not "bashing" to call LGBTQ people intolerant for not tolerating hate directed at them. Cain and LGBTQ Nation Editor Bil Browning then had a lengthy Twitter thread discussing LGBTQ issues.

Prince's half-sister and lawyers representing his family say they are looking to hold parties accountable for the late musician's fatal fentanyl overdose, ABC News reported. Sharon Nelson told ABC News, "We are going to fight until we find them. … We hired some lawyers. They're going to find the evidence." Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016; earlier this year, authorities closed a two-year investigation into his death without filing criminal charges.

In other Prince-related news, the late musician received an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota, Ebony.com related. University President Eric Kaler and Regent Darrin Rosha presented the school's highest honor, the doctorate of humane letters, to Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, in a ceremony on campus.

Kanye West ( who has announced that his new name is "Ye" ) replaced Ariana Grande on SNL's 41st-season premiere on Sept. 29, People.com noted. "We had Ariana drop out for emotional reasons," SNL producer Lorne Michaels said on an Origins With James Andrew Miller podcast. In addition to dropping out of SNL, Grande, 25, opted to skip the 2018 Emmy Awards on Sept. 17 as she continues to heal after a number of tragic events, including the death of ex-beau Mac Miller and the 2017 terrorist attack at the Manchester show of her Dangerous Woman Tour.

In order to promote breast-cancer awareness, Serena Williams has released a video of herself covering the Divinyls' 1990 hit "I Touch Myself" on Instagram, Pitchfork.com reported. Williams stated that the cover is a part of the I Touch Myself Project, a breast cancer awareness initiative aimed at reminding women to self-check their breasts regularly. "Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it's an issue that affects all women of all colors, all around the world," she wrote.

Turner Broadcasting creator Ted Turner revealed he is battling Lewy body dementia in an interview with Ted Koppel for CBS Sunday Morning, TheWrap noted. Lewy body dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory and other cognitive functions. Turner ( who was once married to Jane Fonda ) said he is "exhausted" and deals with "forgetfulness." The CNN founder said he was originally misdiagnosed as manic-depressive.

Selena Gomez shared a Instagram photo along with an announcement that she intends to take a social-media hiatus, People.com noted. "Update: taking a social media break. Again," she captioned the image. "As much as I am grateful for the voice that social media gives each of us, I am equally grateful to be able to step back and live my life present to the moment I have been given. Kindness and encouragement only for a bit!"

Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort will play Tony in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, Deadline.com noted. It is the role originated by Larry Kert on Broadway and played by Richard Beymer in the Oscar-winning 1958 movie. Inspired by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the musical explores forbidden love, and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Terry Crews will host the winter version of America's Got Talent, called America's Got Talent: The Champions, TheWrap.com reported. The series, from NBC, Syco Entertainment and Fremantle, will launch in January and feature the regular judges panel from America's Got Talent: executive producer Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel. This "Champions" edition will bring together the most talented, memorable, wackiest and all-around fan favorite acts from past seasons of "Talent."

Meghan McCain will return to ABC's The View on Monday, Oct. 8, the co-host tweeted, according to Deadline.com . McCain has been away from the View table since the talk show's 22nd season premiere in September, grieving the loss of her father Sen. John McCain, who died Aug. 25. McCain's return will put the co-host at the same table as newcomer Abby Huntsman, who, unlike others on the panel, is closer politically to McCain's conservative viewpoints.

Hip-hop collective Brockhampton bowed at number one on the Billboard 200 chart with its fourth studio album, Iridescence ( with 101,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 27 ), the publication noted. The buzzed-about 14-member group, which has described itself as a "boy band," signed a $15-million deal with RCA in March. At number two on the new Billboard 200 was Josh Groban with his new studio album, Bridges.

Bravo has suspended The Real Housewives of Potomac star Michael Darby after he was charged with groping a cameraman, Page Six noted. The cameraman said in charging documents that the show was filming in Potomac, Maryland, on Sept. 1 when Darby "grabbed and groped" his backside, WRC-TV reported. Darby ( who's married to fellow cast member Ashley Darby ) is charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree sexual contact.

Thomas Ravenel Jr., a former South Carolina state treasurer and former star of Bravo's Southern Charm, was arrested in Charleston, Greenville News reported. Ravenel is charged with assault and battery second degree in relation to an incident that occurred in January 2015. The report states a victim contacted Charleston police in May to report criminal sexual conduct that occurred at a home in Charleston in 2015.


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