- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Carey, Chilis top AMAs

For more than a dozen artists, nominations for the American Music Awards came in twos and threes.

Mariah Carey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Eyed Peas and Nickelback each captured three nominations, while Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, T.I., Rascal Flatts, Pussycat Dolls, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood earned a pair of nods each, Associated Press reports.

Other nominees include Nick Lachey, who will compete with Mr. West and Sean Paul in the male artist category, and Nelly Furtado, who faces Miss Carey and Miss Clarkson for favorite female artist.

Nominees in several categories — including, pop, rock, country, soul, rap, Latin and inspirational genres — were announced yesterday. Awards for the 34th annual ceremony will be presented Nov. 21 during a three-hour ABC-TV special, AP reports. This year, the favorite female rap/hip-hop artist category was eliminated because fewer than five artists met the minimum eligibility requirements.

Nominees were selected by record sales. Winners will be chosen by a survey of about 20,000 listeners.

Extended stay

The razzle-dazzle of Usher will continue for an extra two weeks on the Great White Way.

The silky-voiced Grammy winner, who made his Broadway debut in the revival of “Chicago,” will stay in the show through Oct. 14, AP reports. He originally was set to leave the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Bob Fosse musical Oct. 1.

The show has done boffo business since Usher joined the cast Aug. 22, playing conniving lawyer Billy Flynn. Last week, “Chicago” grossed $728,907, playing to more than 97 percent of capacity at the Ambassador Theatre. The current cast also includes Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, Brenda Braxton as Velma Kelly, Roz Ryan as Matron Mama Morton, Rob Bartlett as Amos Hart and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.

Court date for Hank Jr.

A grand jury will decide whether country singer Hank Williams Jr. will stand trial on misdemeanor assault charges filed after a cocktail waitress said he yelled obscenities and choked her at a Memphis, Tenn., hotel.

Criminal Court Judge Gwen Rooks ruled Monday that probable cause was established and bound the case over to a Shelby County grand jury. The waitress, Holly Hornbeak, testified that she had red marks and bruising on her neck and that she was hoarse the next day. A private attorney hired by her parents demanded $250,000 from Mr. Williams — son of the late country music great Hank Williams — two days later, but Miss Hornbeak denied that the case was being driven by money.

“It was a serious attack, and this is not something you take lightly,” says Miss Hornbeak, who was 19 when the incident reportedly occurred in the Peabody hotel’s lobby bar March 18. Afterward, she said, Mr. Williams’ publicist, Kirt Webster, gave her his phone number and offered her tickets to a Williams concert that weekend.

Mr. Williams, 57, known for a string of hits and for previously performing the theme song for ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” remains free on his own recognizance. Assault carries up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The singer, a resident of Paris, Tenn., was staying in Memphis at the time of the reported incident while his daughters Holly Williams and Hilary Williams were recovering from injuries suffered in a March 15 car crash near Dundee, Miss.

Queen’ bows to ‘Bobby’

Will Ferrell’s racing comedy, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” tops the box office in Great Britain and Ireland, BBC reports.

The film earned $1.9 million in its opening weekend. Helen Mirren’s royal drama, “The Queen,” came in second place. Brian De Palma’s thriller “The Black Dahlia,” starring Scarlett Johansson, placed third.

“Talladega Nights,” which co-stars British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, was America’s No. 1 film for the first two weeks in August. It tells the story of NASCAR racing driver Ricky Bobby (Mr. Ferrell) and his fierce rivalry with a French competitor, played by Mr. Baron Cohen.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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