- - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adele to perform at Grammys, first time since surgery

Adele is nominated for six Grammys, and she’ll be on deck to collect anything she wins: The 23-year-old singer is set to perform at the awards show.

Adele had surgery on her vocal cords last year, and the Grammys will be the first time she has performed live in five months, the Recording Academy announced Tuesday.

Her sophomore album, “21,” has sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. It is nominated for album of the year and best pop vocal album. The CD has three singles that have hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart, including “Rolling in the Deep,” which is up for record and song of the year.

The Grammys will air live Feb. 12 on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Abdul, Scherzinger, Jones out for ‘X Factor’ season two

Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones reportedly are out at “The X Factor.”

While a Fox spokeswoman said Monday that Miss Scherzinger and Mr. Jones will not return for the show’s second season, several websites, including People.com and EW.com, are reporting that Miss Abdul also is departing the show.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Jones, a British TV personality, called his departure “a shame” on Twitter and added that he couldn’t complain, “as I’ve had a great time.” He gave no reason why he wasn’t returning.

Mr. Jones originally was slated to host “X Factor” alongside Miss Scherzinger, who replaced British pop star Cheryl Cole as a judge when executive producer Simon Cowell and other producers had second thoughts about Miss Cole joining the series.

Mr. Cowell, Miss Abdul and L.A. Reid served as the other judges on the show’s first season.

Despite consistent viewership, “X Factor” has failed to achieve popularity similar to “American Idol,” which Mr. Cowell left to import “X Factor” from the U.K. to the U.S.

The second season of “X Factor” is set to debut later this year.

Radio’s Clear Channel teams with Seacrest for TV

Radio broadcasting giant Clear Channel is breaking into the TV production business.

The company announced Tuesday that it is taking a minority stake in the production company of “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, the Associated Press reports.

Ryan Seacrest Media produces “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and other spinoffs involving the celebrity family. Its other shows include “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”

In a separate deal, Clear Channel is joining with its majority investors, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, in committing $300 million to work with Mr. Seacrest’s company to identify, acquire and develop innovative media companies.

Shirley MacLaine joins cast of Britain’s ‘Downton Abbey’

Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine is joining Britain’s popular television series “Downton Abbey.” The 77-year-old will join the cast when filming starts next month.

According to the Associated Press, she will play the mother of Lady Grantham, portrayed by Elizabeth McGovern, in the third season of the hit period drama, which took Golden Globe and Emmy prizes for best miniseries or TV movie.

Gareth Neame of Carnival Films, which produces the show, said Monday that Miss MacLaine’s character will be a “wonderful combatant” for Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess.

Cooking, music reality shows to unite Pakistan, India

For decades, archenemies Pakistan and India have engaged in a dangerous nuclear arms race. Now they’re also competing in a more cheerful forum. The outcome will be mouthwatering curries and soothing Sufi ballads, not violent conflict.

The fractious neighbors are going head-to-head in a pair of reality TV shows that pit chefs and musicians against each other, the Associated Press reports. Producers hope the contests will help bridge the gulf between two nations that were born from the same womb and have been at each other’s throats ever since.

But so far it hasn’t completely worked out that way. The top Pakistani chef on the cooking show, which is called “Foodistan,” quit the contest early. He accused the judges of bias toward India and is threatening to sue. The producers denied the allegations.

The TV shows do not try to hide or brush over the countries’ painful history. They make light of it.

“Now the world’s greatest rivalry is going to get spicier,” said co-host Ira Dubey during one of the early episodes of “Foodistan,” which first aired in India on Jan. 23 and will be shown in Pakistan starting in mid-February.

Her counterpart, Aly Khan, said the aim of the two teams “would be to grind the opposition into chutney, to make them eat humble pie, to dice them, slice them and fry them on their way to culinary glory.”

Eight chefs from each country were scheduled for individual and team competitions over 26 one-hour episodes.

There is significant overlap in the cuisines of both countries, as there is in language, music and culture. Pakistanis and Indians both love curry, kebab and biryani - a spiced rice dish. But they often use different ingredients, and dishes can also vary from one region to another within the same country.

It remains to be seen whether the music competition - “Sur Kshetra,” or “Musical Battlefield” - also will spark ill will.

The contest, which is being filmed in Dubai, is scheduled to air in Pakistan and India starting in mid-February, said Mohammed Zeeshan Khan, a general manager at Pakistan’s Geo TV, which is developing the show.

“Music can unite people across borders and bring them closer together,” Mr. Khan said.

The competition will include teams of six musicians from each country between the ages of 18 and 27. The teams will be mentored by two well-known pop singers and actors, Pakistani Atif Aslam and Indian Himesh Reshammiya. They will compete across a range of genres, including jazz, pop, rock and qawwali - traditional Sufi Muslim ballads that are popular in both countries, Mr. Khan said.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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