Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

Janet Won’t Participate in Michael Jackson Tribute

Janet Jackson will not be involved in the Oct. 8 tribute concert to her late brother, Michael Jackson, in Cardiff, Wales due to the schedule conflicting with the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is accused of manslaughter in causing Michael’s death.   She has issued a statement making it official:  “Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me.”

Ryan Dunn Part of Growing Crowd of Anti-Role Model Celebrities

Ryan Dunn MTV photo

It’s sad, but it could be that the late “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn’s greatest legacy might be as an anti-role model. The daredevil, whose Porsche is said to have been traveling between 132 and 140 miles per hour when it crashed, killing Dunn and passenger Zachary Hartwell last week, had a stunning blood alcohol content of .196, according to a preliminary toxicology report. With an estimated 11 drinks in him before he got behind the wheel, he automatically becomes the poster celebrity for what can happen to you when you drink and drive.

Indeed, Roger Ebert’s notorious tweet — “Friends don’t let Jackasses drink and drive” — over a photo of the horrific remains of that car could serve as an effective public service billboard.

Recent years have, unfortunately, brought us an phalanx of
anti-role model celebrities — who teach us by example what NOT to do.

Two years after Michael Jackson’s death of acute propofol intoxication, his doctor, Conrad Murray, is due to go to trial in September on involuntary manslaughter charges. But certainly, details of Jackson’s gargantuan prescription drug usage that set the stage for the overdose have given people pause.

The same is true of Heath Ledger, who seemed destined to become one of the greatest film actors of our time, until his life was cut short by what the New York City coroner’s office determined was an accidental overdose of  painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs: oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.

Look out, because, as the late Jeff Conaway pointed out, getting addicted to pain pills can creep up on you.

Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are just two among the current crop of celebrities who have all but destroyed their careers with wild and sometimes violent behavior — behavior that’s landed each of them behind bars more than once. Lohan and Sheen have each demonstrated how even the most prodigious talents can be thrown away. Let us hope not their lives.

Their poster would have to say something along the lines of “Here’s what excessive partying can do to you, kids.”

Anti-role model celebrities show us so many things — how NOT to divorce (e.g. Madonna and Guy Ritchie), how NOT to parent (Britney Spears), and how NOT to utilize cosmetic surgery (Joan Rivers). The idea of actually looking up to stars sometimes seems positively quaint.

Paula’s ‘Smart, Strong, Aware’ Says ‘Live to Dance’s’ Travis Payne

Kimberly Wyatt, Paula Abdul, Travis Payne CBS photo

Paula Abdul’s new CBS “Live to Dance” competition show took a ratings tumble when it ran up against her old show, “American Idol,” in head-to-head competition last week (26.2 million viewers compared to 5.3 million) — but “Live to Dance” judge and Paula pal Travis Payne refuses to go negative about that.

“The only way to look at it is that both shows are perpetuating the arts.  Both are so specific.  There’s room for both,” insists the renowned choreographer and dancer, known for his work with Michael Jackson as well as dozens of other top names including Beyonce, Shakira, Usher, Lady Gaga, Madonna and (small world!) Jennifer Lopez.  As far as all the talk about competition between Abdul’s former and current shows?  “Great!” he declares.  “It gets people to be interested.  As long as it’s not mean-spirited, wonderful.”

But people do get mean-spirited — very — when it comes to Abdul.

Payne, who had his first professional audition with none other than Paula years ago, admits he feels protective.  “Absolutely!  But I know she’s strong and she’s smart.  She’s very aware — very aware — of all that goes on and she’s an excellent sort of mentor and a wonderful businesswoman.  And she’s thrilled to be executive producing this show, and getting to use all her talents.  You know, we spend a lot of our time lending our names and talents to someone else’s vision.   Now, for her, this is her vision.  That’s a major accomplishment.”

The fast-paced seven-week “Live to Dance” competition is in semi-finals, with its winner of  $500,000 to be determined on the Feb. 9 finale.  “We are in just a sort of constant state of excitement,” says Payne, who adds that despite being aware of “American Idol,” he’s “only had time to focus on ‘Live to Dance.'”

He feels that, among other things, the show offers “a nice alternative” to shows that trade on devastating critiques.  I think about how my parents were with me, and how instructors were with me, and I was always way better when I was in a positive, nurturing place.  That’s how Michael Jackson was — everybody must be happy, everybody must be heard.  We give it to the contestants straight, but we also say how to improve, and how to meet a different level of challenges — rather than, ‘Oh my God, that’s the worst thing I’ve seen.'”

MEANWHILE:  Payne, who “just celebrated the release of ‘This is It’ in Japan” is also “gearing up for the Michael Jackson, Immortal tour, presented by Cirque du Soliel.  We’ve just completed the casting process and are now figuring out scheduling” for the show.  He reports it will be heading out on the road this spring, and will consist of “all his music and all-new imagery, new interpretations of his famous work.  I’m pleased to be able to be part of it.”