Sir Elton John defied conservative clerics in the Muslim world on Wednesday with a performance in the Moroccan city of Rabat.
Islamist leaders had insisted the outspoken, openly gay Brit be banned from the Mawazine World Rhythms festival for "bragging about his homosexuality." The fest, which runs from May 21 to 29, is the biggest music event in the North African nation and also features Mika, Sting, Carlos Santana, and Toumani Diabate.
While security was beefed up for the event, no riots or violence were reported.
"Morocco is an Islamic state where stages should not be used to allow a person with such a degree of debauchery to perform because we have to shield the young from such influences," said Mustapha Ramid, a member of the Islamist PJD opposition party.
Fest director Aziz Daki told Reuters, "The private life of a singer is not our business. . . . We do not invite singers and artists after assessing their private lives."
Honoring our own Dick Clark
CBS's June 27 Daytime Emmy Awards extravaganza will feature a tribute to TV icon Dick Clark, says Variety. Clark, 80, will be honored for his work on the famed music show American Bandstand, which premiered in 1952 on Philly station WFIL-TV Channel 6 (now WPVI-TV).
"It was time for us to talk about Dick Clark and his influence on daytime," said Daytime Emmys exec producer David McKenzie.
The 37th annual kudosfest will be hosted by Regis Philbin.
A bairn for Mariah Carey?
Mariah Carey is pregnant. Or not.
Mariah, who proved she was born to act with her triumphant '01 movie debut, Glitter, has dropped out of Tyler Perry's new flick, an adaptation of Ntozake Shange's play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, set to begin filming in June. So very sudden! Rumors are flying that the singer, 40, and her sultry man Nick Cannon, 29, are expecting a baby. Even her PR people are feeding the fire. Mariah "is not doing the movie because her doctor advised her not to," her rep tells UsMagazine.com. "More than that I cannot comment further."
That's surely a confirmation! Or not.
A year, later Kate G. is still bereft . . .
People mag catches up with feminist heroine and philanthropist Kate Gosselin, 35, a year after her picture-perfect marriage to Jon Gosselin unraveled for all to see on TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8. How does it feel to be free from the clutches of that womanizing Jon?
Life with Jon "feels like 10 years ago," the beloved Philly native says.
But life for the Dancing With the Stars alum hasn't changed all that much.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it's not any calmer," she says, adding that her custody battle with Jon has been especially taxing.
"It just appears calmer on the surface. . . . It's just I've had to internalize and keep quiet the rest of the stress. But it bubbles within me, and it spills over, and sometimes [the kids] see it."
Kate, who cares not a whiff for money, fame, or headlines, who lives for her children, says she's sad her kids' hearts have been rent asunder by the divorce. But she knows deep in her soul that she is the best medicine they'll ever need: "I've actually overheard them admit, a time or two, that yes, home is more peaceful now. And that's a good thing."
Tidbits 'n' pieces
Oprah will put Sarah Ferguson on the rack - at least the daytime talk-show version - on Tuesday for an !E!x!c!l!u!s!i!v!e! chat about Fergie's scandalous attempt to sell access to her ex, Prince Andrew, for $724,000. . . . Jesse James' sis, Julie James England, tells E! News that their pops did abuse JJ, whose disastrous breakup with Sandra Bullock has become the toast of the gossip world. . . . The country music world is rocked by news that Willie Nelson has been shorn of his trademark waist-length reddish tresses. Rep Elaine Schock says Willie, 77, was shorn a couple of weeks ago. . . . Speaking of hair, Lindsay Lohan, who has blonded herself, was spotted by TMZ going to her court-ordered alcohol education class on Wednesday. Let this be her first step to salvation! . . . Kristin Cavallari, famed intellectual on the glamorous un-reality show The Hills, tells In Touch Weekly she's penning a tell-all book about her (equally asinine) Hills costars. She'll also reveal that show producers like actually manipulate the cast and give them acting cues! Let's hope she buys a decent ghost writer. . . .
Travie McCoy sings a tune
"Inside I'm a mess by someone before."
So sings young hip-hop rocker Travie McCoy, 28, in his new single, "Need You."
The Gym Class Heroes frontman tells People that he totally lays bare his heart in the tune - which is about the hole left in his tender soul by ex-gf Katy Perry. (Oh cruel, cruel love!)
"It's about how tough it is to move on and explain to someone that you're bruised and not really ready to pursue something," Travie says.
"But it's not a stab [at Katy] in any way," he adds. "And I haven't been sitting around for a year waiting for her to call me. She's moved on, and I'm doing my thing."