In a move that will likely make her look as if she has the higher IQ, Kellie Pickler has begun to pal around with Jessica Simpson, according to a report in the National Enquirer says The National Ledger. And the story claims that the elder Simpson sister has been pouring her heart out to her new BFF about her breakup with John Mayer. The problem in the relationship, according to a (*ahem* anonymous and no-doubt nonexistent) source was John's jealousy and Jessica's father, Joe Simpson.
The Enquirer reports it learned the two blonde stunners rendezvoused for girl talk at an exclusive club in Dallas earlier this month and that Jessica made a tearful confession, a source told the magazine. She sobbed to Kellie: "I really loved him, but I've never known a man so jealous!" The source added, "Jessica also said John despised her father and was obsessed about her seeing other guys."
According to the magazine, Kellie, 21, sought Jessica's friendship after she burst onto the pop music scene following her stint on "American Idol." During their recent heart-to-heart, Jessica, 26, told Kellie that at first she thought John's obsessive attentiveness was charming, but then his fits of jealously over other guys "got old quick."
Kellie listened sympathetically -- and then made a shocking confession of her own, says the source. "She told Jessica that John once hit on her when he was still together with Jess, and she added: 'The guy's a major rat. Honey, you're better off without him!' "
File this one under Ripley's Believe It or Not.
WILL FULLER FILL UP MEMPHIS?
A story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the wonders of Memphis, includes these intriguing graphs about Graceland:
"The house is surprisingly small -- [Elvis] Presley bought it and its nearly 14 acres in 1957 and never had it expanded, though he added buildings, including an office for his father and a racquetball court that now holds memorabilia. The King evidently did all the decorating himself, and some of it makes me cringe to think that this was what lots of money could buy in the '60s -- including a furry white monstrosity that turns out to be a bed. Despite what I consider to be his questionable taste, there is a casualness that lends the place a more dignified air than I had expected.
We learn that his three Grammy wins were for gospel albums and he showed up in person to accept only one of the many awards that came his way -- from the Jaycees. His troubles with prescription drugs and other struggles are glossed over but not ignored, and I wasn't sure that would be the case.
It seems odd to see tourists mingle and snap pictures outside in the meditation garden, where Presley, his parents and grandmother are buried and his twin brother, who died at birth, is honored with a plaque. But then the tour recorder tells us that Vernon Presley, worried about vandals, had his son's grave moved here from a public cemetery. The folks snapping pictures here are at least quiet and respectful.
Walking between buildings, you can see the modest neighboring houses beyond Graceland's fences. It will be interesting to see how long that will last.
A partnership that includes Simon Fuller, a co-creator of "American Idol," has paid Lisa Marie [Presley] millions for the rights to use Elvis' and Graceland's names and likenesses. Although she still owns the house, they are buying up land around Graceland, and there's fear, some locals told us, that the quiet neighborhood could become more of an amusement park or worse -- if hotels blossom here, people might stay just in this area and miss the whole history of blues, soul and rock as told along Beale Street and at Sun and Stax studios.
... Graceland is a must-see, but Memphis has so much more that should not be missed."
KELLY CLARKSON AND REBA McENTIRE TONIGHT!
Don't forget to catch Kelly Clarkson with Reba McEntire tonight on CMT's "Crossroads" at 8 p.m. The New York Daily News gives the show three stars. Here is their review:
If you think Kelly Clarkson looks like she's needed a friend lately, you can relax. She has found one: Reba McEntire.
McEntire, one of the most successful country artists of modern times, joins Clarkson, the "American Idol" winner who has been all over the charts in the past five years, for a CMT production of "Crossroads" in which they sing a bunch of familiar songs together and then, between songs, sit down and chat.
It will come as no surprise to fans of these two American Sweethearts that they can harmonize on popular anthems as if they were born doing it, or that when they talk they sound like the Nashville branch of the mutual admiration society.
Clarkson says McEntire's songs have always blown her away, and she's like, so awe-struck just to be talking with her.
McEntire says, nonsense, child, I remember sitting there myself, and besides, you earned it.
Although McEntire has worked almost entirely on the country side of the music game and Clarkson has primarily been a pop artist, their musical common ground is extensive.
Both have scored best with big, booming, melodic tunes that sound great from a car radio, like McEntire's "You Lie" or Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone."
They belt out both of those on this show, along with "Does He Love You," "Because of You" and a half-dozen others. No shortage of hits, no shortage of powerful crescendos that make the adoring crowd even happier.
Besides, in a world that loves a catfight, this is a kitten cuddle.
They don't cover anything terribly profound in their chats, with McEntire talking about her struggle to get that first break and Clarkson musing about her musical influences. More significant is that they do it in such a warm manner, like two best friends who happen to have sold tens of millions of records meeting for a morning cup of coffee.
The special airs at a particularly good time for Clarkson, who has been bounced around lately by the ambivalent response to the CD that comes out Tuesday.
Not entirely by accident, "Crossroads" may remind fans that they basically like the girl and maybe ought to give her new record a chance.
Speaking of music, the special reinforces one other truth about McEntire and Clarkson. While the appeal of their songs is wide, it's not especially deep. Their songs tend to be more catchy than profound, which is fine. It's just worth noting.
It's also worth noting that once or twice, when the gals are talking, Clarkson somehow uses the phrase "so I said," rather than "So, I'm like ..."
You go to the crossroads, you just never know what you'll find.
You can also find videos and photos with Kelly and Reba on the CMT site here.
FANS CROSSING COUNTRY TO SEE TAYLOR HICKS
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports that fans will come from across the country to see "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks at the Spartanburg Community College Foundation's Red, White & Boom celebration Friday (June 29th). People from 25 states have purchased tickets, and the Marriott has already booked the block of rooms set aside for Red, White & Boom attendees.
"We have people coming from as far away as California, Washington state and New York," said Nancy Dickson, executive director of the SCC Foundation.
"We do this as a fundraiser to raise scholarships to support students who come to the college," Dickson said. Dickson said that in the past couple of years, organizers have tried to appeal to the age group they serve at the college.
Last year's concert with singer Miranda Lambert, the Academy of Country Music's Best New Female Artist for 2007, filled the park to capacity.
"Taylor Hicks is that type of person," Dickson said. "He appeals to a broad range of people, and our sponsors feel comfortable with a nationally recognized name."
Hicks draws crowds of fans from all over the country, many who follow him from show to show. He's nothing like 'American Idol,' " said Donna Bristow, a 46-year-old sales representative from Anderson County. "You can't describe him unless you see him live. He's so magnetic. He puts his whole heart and soul in it. I know women who have cashed in 401(k)s to follow him," Bristow said.
Bristow has friends coming in from Naples, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. She knows women who have seen him more than 20 times. "I attended two of Taylor's concerts in Tennessee this winter and was thrilled to learn that he would be performing within driving distance this summer," said Millie Wilson, a retired English teacher who lives about 150 miles away in Kingsport, Tenn.
She said she was struck by Hicks the first time she saw him perform on "American Idol." "No two Taylor Hicks concerts are the same. He has a vast storehouse of music to draw from. He has been compared to a walking iPod," Wilson said. "He's one great-looking fellow, too," she added jokingly, "and that's worth about 50 miles of driving."
Hicks will take the stage around 8 p.m. A 25-minute fireworks display starts at about 9:30.
Meanwhile, the Leader-Telegram says that Hicks' hot blues and jazz left the audience cold when he opened for Sara Evans at Country Fest in Cadott, Wisconsin:
"American Idol's Hicks didn't stand a chance with devout country music fans. The blues and jazz crooner, dressed in a black shirt and gray suit coat, warmed up the crowd with "Soul Thing."
But the warmth quickly faded.
Although his voice was right on key and he rocked on the harmonica, Hicks' handful of hard-core fans couldn't persuade the rest of the crowd to play along."
This group was apparently not too easy to please. The paper also reported that, "Throughout the 70-minute set, Evans and her band, including sister, Lesley Evans Lyons, a back-up singer; and brother, Matt Evans, the guitarist, attempted to keep the crowd entertained, but the slower songs weeded the fans from the fanatics.
The crowd grew restless and began packing up for the night during the ballad 'I Could Not Ask for More.'
At least Evans made it 50 minutes into her act before the fans started making their way back to the campsites. It took Hicks, who played before Evans, only a handful of songs to send people back to their tents."
UNDERWOOD WORKING ON NEW CD
In a story announcing that Carrie Underwood would be performing at Allentown Fair Grandstand in Pennsylvania on Sept. 2, the Morning Call also said that Underwood is working on a second album. In a recent interview with Nashville newspaper The Tennessean, she said, "It's definitely staying in the country genre. That's where my heart is, and it's worked well so far." The first single should hit radio stations later this summer.
Underwood never seems to never be out of media spotlight for long, because of her involvement with PETA and rumors of her on-and-off again relationship with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tomy Romo.
Underwood credits her sorority sisters with helping her to overcome her shyness at singing on stage. Youngest of three girls, she grew up in Checotah, Okla., and attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, as a journalism major, which may explain the long but well-written bio on MySpace. She also is a skilled guitar player and vegetarian.
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