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Aug. 30-Sept. 6: Several Scandals & Two Funerals

Aug. 30-Sept. 6: Several Scandals & Two Funerals
Posted Fri Sep 4, 2009 3:53pm PDT
by Lyndsey Parker in That's Really Week

Sorry to start this post on a sad note, but funerals dominated the news this week, with both DJ AM (who shockingly passed away last week) and Michael Jackson (who died more than two months ago) being laid to rest at emotional, star-studded ceremonies.

The King Of Pop's funeral was of course the most newsworthy. Although he'd been honored at a history-making Staples Center memorial a week after his death, he was still not fully at peace, as his body remained unburied, the ongoing subject of coroner investigations. But on September 3, he was at long last interred at his final resting place--a crypt in the Grand Mausoleum at L.A.'s Forest Lawn Cemetery--at a private ceremony attended by such famous mourners as Elizabeth Taylor, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Thriller producer Quincy Jones, Michael's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley, Corey Feldman, Chris Tucker, Macaulay Culkin and his actress girlfriend Mila Kunis, "This Is It" tour choreographer Kenny Ortega, and of course the Jacksons themselves--although the Jackson family's unexplained tardy arrival delayed the service for nearly two hours. As was the case at July's Staples Center memorial, Michael's five brothers--Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy--served as pallbearers, and the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke at the ceremony. Gladys Knight also performed "His Eye Is On The Sparrow."

While the ceremony was not open to the public--and the police were out in full force to ensure that both the 400 credentialed reporters, as well as gathered fans, kept their distance--filming equipment was seen at the site, sparking speculation that the footage will be used for the upcoming Michael Jackson concert documentary or the Jackson brothers' controversial reality show for A&E. So of course, as is the case with all things Jackson-related, this story is still not over.

The other big celebrity funeral of the week was for DJ AM (aka Adam Goldstein), who was honored by friends (including Lindsay Lohan, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, and John Mayer) at a unique Hollywood Palladium memorial fashioned after a 12-step meeting. While DJ AM was found dead last week in New York from an apparent OxyContin overdose, he had famously championed sobriety and was a recovering addict (friend and colleague Dr. Drew Pinksy said this week that he believed DJ AM's plane crash last year alongside fellow survivor Travis Barker was what triggered his relapse), and at the time of his death he was working on a reality show to help other addicts. So a 12-step memorial seemed a very appropriate way for DJ AM to be remembered.

On to the more positive subject of revivals, as opposed to funerals, this week troubled diva Whitney Houston released her much-hyped "comeback" album, I Look To You, and attempted to put on a triumphant, rising-from-ashes performance on Good Morning America. But on a NON-positive note, the performance wasn't much of a comeback at all. Sure, it was not quite as disastrous as, say, Britney Spears's dead-eyed and lead-footed comeback attempt at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, but Whitney's world-famous voice seemed to be a mere shadow of what it was back in her heyday, as she struggled with the notes and sounded as pack-a-day hoarse as The Simpsons' Patty & Selma. Even Whitney could not ignore this fact, apologizing to the audience for her subpar performance and blaming a marathon Oprah interview the day before for her lack of vocal power (an apology that was actually edited out of the final GMA broadcast). But detractors suspected that it might be Whitney's rough lifestyle over the past few years, including rumored drug use, that had tragically robbed the singer of her gift, and Gawker even reported that Whitney's real voice was so bad that her pre-taped performance had been digitally altered to sound better for TV. Whatever the real circumstances, this certainly wasn't Whitney at her best, and it was a real letdown for fans who'd been waiting for the much-ballyhooed and long-promised Whitney Houston revival.

Having a much easier time reviving her career once again this week was Whitney's pop-diva peer and the queen of reinvention, 51-year-old Madonna. Not only did Madge break her own world tour record, but she released a new sexy video for "Celebration," in which she smooched her 22-year-old shirtless boyfriend Jesus Luz and busted a move with energy unrivaled even by today's crop of hot twentysomething pop starlets. Reason for Madonna fans to celebrate, indeed.

Also attempting to revive his career this week was disgraced R&B singer Chris Brown, who granted his first post-Rihanna-incident interview to CNN's Larry King. He did a decently damage-controlling job of explaining himself (with his mother and attorney by his side), admitting that he still loves Rihanna and expressing remorse. However, many viewers complained that he evaded Larry's most important question--what exactly happened in the car with Rihanna?--and, oddly, that he distracted too much attention from the serious subject matter with his bizarre blue bowtie. So, will Chris's Larry King Live interview be enough to get him back in the public's good graces? We'll see another sort of verdict--a sales verdict--later this year, when his new album drops.

Also attempting to redeem herself after a scandal was country star LeAnn Rimes, who this week on her own website confirmed longstanding rumors that she is divorcing her husband of seven years, her former backup dancer Dean Sheremet. "After much thoughtful mutual consideration, Deane [sic] and I have agreed to move forward with dissolving our marriage. This decision was amicable and we remain committed and caring friends with great admiration for one another," she posted diplomatically.

Yes, that's right--LeAnn misspelled her estranged husband's name, after SEVEN years together. Oh, snap! Since early this year, news has swirled around LeAnn's reported affair with also-married actor Eddie Cibrian, whom she met last fall on the set of the Lifetime movie Northern Lights, and LeAnn's misspelled statement certainly made it seem like there wasn't much love lost between her and "Deane." Meanwhile, LeAnn and Eddie--who also recently separated from his own wife, the woman who'd accused LeAnn of being a "stalker"--have been spotted canoodling all over town. Watch this space to see if that romance lasts.

And finally, in other music scandal news, coming back full-circle to the subject of death, this week U.K. police announced they will reopen the case of original Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones's death. Brian's 1969 drowning was ruled an accident at the time, but for decades many have speculated that it might have been a case of foul play. And now Sussex police in southeast England say they will examine new documents received from investigative journalist Scott Jones (no relation to Brian) about a possible murder--although "it's too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome might be," a Sussex duty inspector told the press.

Two books published in the '90s--Paint It Black: The Murder Of Brian Jones by Geoffrey Guiliano and Who Killed Christopher Robin? by Terry Rawlings--as well as the 2005 biopic Stoned claimed that Brian was murdered by London builder Frank Thorogood, who had been hired to help renovate the rock star's home. The books and film all claimed that Frank confessed on his deathbed in November 1993 to the murder, although for unclear reasons the Brian Jones investigation was not reopened at that time.

And in other Stones news, a possible revival may be in store for the venerable rock legends. Not only did they steadfastly deny gossip that drummer Charlie Watts is quitting the band, but guitarist Keith Richards revealed that he has recorded a number of songs with the White Stripes' Jack White, and even hinted that Jack may produce the next Stones album.

And thus, we wrap up another week of headspinning (and sometimes heartbreaking) headlines. Come back next Friday for more reports, have a great Labor Day weekend, and until then, goodnight and good music.


1) Michael Jackson Finally Laid To Rest - Celebrities and relatives bury the King Of Pop in Los Angeles.

2) Chris's Confession - Chris Brown talks to Larry King on CNN.

3) Houston, We Have A Problem - Whitney's lackluster GMA performance disappoints.

4) LeAnn On The Loose - Rimes officially announces she is getting divorced.

5) DJ AM Remembered - Adam Goldstein is honored at a 12-step-themed memorial.

6) Jay-Z Leaks - The new, unreleased album by the "most-bootlegged artist ever" pops up online.

7) A Stone Unturned - Police reinvestigate Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones's death.

8) Madge Has Got Moves - Madonna shows divas how it's done in her sexy new dance video.

9) Stripes 'N' Stones - Keith Richards reveals he is recording with Jack White.

10) Oddest Odd Couple Ever? - Lady Gaga and Michael Bolton are reporting working on a song together.

Aug. 30-Sept. 6: Several Scandals & Two Funerals - That's Really Week
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