News Roundup, Feb. 12: Popular “Idol” Contestant Booted

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Frenchie Davis, the American Idol semifinalist whose unconventional style but full-voiced performances were a popular addition to the show, has been removed from competition, USA Today reports, because she has acknowledged to the producers that she worked for a porn website four years ago. Fox says she’ll be replaced during the Feb. 25 episode.


In a City News Service report, the prosecutor in the case against actor Paul Reubens said the comedian did indeed own a collection of child pornography. Deputy City Attorney Richard Kraft filed court documents Wednesday in response to a defense motion to dismiss the case against Reubens, who was arrested last November for possessing child pornography after authorities searched his home. Kraft states the actor had “an enormous quantity of pornography [including] a collection of child pornography magazines, photographs and movies of nude children, variously involved in sexual acts.” Reubens has pleaded innocent to the charges and his attorney maintains Reubens‘ rights have been violated in the case.

State officials postponed a hearing today to determine if rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight should be sent back to prison for violating his parole by allegedly associating with gang members, according to City News Service. The hearing on whether to revoke parole was delayed because the California Board of Prison Terms “wanted to review our decision about whether he could have legal representation at the hearing,” said Bill Sessa, the panel’s liaison.

Phil Spector is claiming the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson at his $1.1 million mansion last week was accidental, according to the Associated Press. Marvin Mitchelson, a prominent divorce attorney and Spector‘s good friend, told AP, “I believe his defense will be that this was a tragic accident…I’ve spoken with various individuals connected with the case, and I’m 100 percent certain it’s not a homicide.” Spector‘s lawyer, Robert Shapiro, has not made a public announcement about the case as yet.

Tough guy Steven Seagal testified against members of the Gambino crime family Tuesday, claiming they have been threatening him and trying to extort money after he fell out with his former business partner, Julius Nasso. Reuters reports the actor said in a statement outside the courthouse, “In the movies, I play a tough action hero, but I have feelings. I have been a victim twice: once, the victim of the crimes which are now on trial, once again as the victim of a vicious smear campaign aimed at discrediting me.”

Yeah, baby! Mike Myers will receive the Jack Benny Award for Comedy Achievement Wednesday at the University of California, Los Angeles campus, City News Service reports. Past recipients include Johnny Carson, Steve Martin, Adam Sandler and Whoopi Goldberg.


Variety reports Robert Redford will join Jennifer Lopez in the drama An Unfinished Life to be directed by Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat). The film centers on a single mother (Lopez) who is forced to live with her estranged father-in-law when she hits financial hardship. Of course, the two eventually find a peace between them.


According to Reuters, the Advertising Standards Authority, a British ad watchdog, chastised 20th Century Fox for sending out “menacing” mobile phone ads for the DVD release of the film Minority Report. The organization received several complaints from people who found the DVD message “offensive.” In the ad message, Tom Cruise‘s voice is heard saying lines from the film but does not identify itself as a promotion until the end. A studio home entertainment division spokesperson told Reuters the message was sent only to people who registered to receive information about upcoming DVD releases.


Variety reports Fox paid well over $2 million in a deal with Michael Jackson to air the pop singer’s own cut from the video footage of his recent controversial interview with British journalist Martin Bashir. Called Michael Jackson Take 2: The Interview They Wouldn’t Show You will air Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. Can’t wait.


Pepsi will pay several million dollars to urban charities to stave off a threatened boycott after the soft drink company yanked an ad campaign with controversial black rapper Ludacris, Reuters reports. Orchestrated by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, the agreement was made to give money to grassroots nonprofit organizations targeting disadvantaged youths.