R&B star Omarion is clearly taking the positive approach when it comes to talking about becoming the newest judge on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” — replacing choreographer Shane Sparks, who is currently fighting child molestation charges.”He’s a really, really good friend of mine and he’s just taking time to put things in order in his life. I think he’s going to be ok,” says Omarion of Sparks’ situation. “I haven’t actually spoken to him, but I know he would definitely congratulate me on the opportunity.”
Omarion is certainly excited about it. “I’ve always loved the show. It has a raw edge to it, as far as how it’s shot, the type of dancers on there, and they’re not afraid to try new things.
“A lot of contestants are coming on there with different styles of dancing,” he lets us know. “You guys are going to see some stuff you’ve never seen before.”
The singer/songwriter/producer/actor/dancer, born Omari Ismael Grandberry and formerly known as frontman of the boy band B2K, is also promoting his third album “Ollusion” from his own label StarWorld Entertainment. The record came about after his split with Lil Wayne’s label, Young Money.
“Longevity-wise, it was the best thing that I’ve done,” he says of parting ways. “Wayne has a vision for his future and I respect that. He’s worked very hard to be in that position, but in respect to what I do and how long I’ve done it, I really felt like how I express it is different. Wayne is a driver and I’m a driver, but there’s only one car, so at the end of the day, we just wanted different things.
“There’s no bad blood or anything like that. Wayne’s still one of my favorite rappers, so it’s all good,” claims the singer, who hopes this takes his career to the next level. “I’m 25 and I could have never dreamed of getting to own my own masters. It’s what a lot of the moguls like Puffy and Jay Z have done, so I’m glad to be in this position. There are a lot of big artists out there who don’t even have that.”
CELEBRITY SEEN: Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe couldn’t make their marriage work, but they have both remained committed to their two children, Ava and Deacon.
We spotted the doting dad having a little father/daughter dinner at Hugo’s in Los Angeles this past weekend with 10-year-old Ava, who is a spitting image of her famous mom. The two took refuge from the rain and sat at a corner table where they talked and laughed while sharing a plate of macaroni and cheese. Hey, not a bad way to spend a Friday night in Hollywood!
MOVING UP: Tyler Labine admits that moving from supporting player to series lead “scared the heck out of me” — when he started work on Fox’s March 14-debuting “Sons of Tucson.”
“I’d done the second banana/sidekick thing for a long time, with a certain degree of success, I guess,” continues the former “Reaper” and “Invasion” regular, and big-screen actor of “Flyboys” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” “I’d become very comfortable with it, very fond of the sort of venue that playing the sidekick gives you to, basically, scene steal. You just sort of come in and do the funniest thing you can think of. But, when you’re a lead on a show, it’s a lot more careful and calculated, and you’re looking at the big picture, not just, ‘What can I do to make people laugh here?'”
Still, when the opportunity arose to take on “Sons,” the affable Labine was quick to say yes. He plays a slacker sporting goods store salesman who is asked by a trio of brothers to step in and pretend to be their dad — while their real dad is in prison — on the sitcom that marks the network’s return to live-action comedy.
The show brings to mind the late John Candy’s “Uncle Buck” movies — updated.
“There is a similarity, to be very honest,” answers the 31-year-old actor. He’s been compared to other comics, too, but “most of the comments I get now are Jack Black-y. I don’t really see that, other than the fact we’re both overweight and I have a beard. People love to slap a label on you.”
But, he adds, “There are way worse people you could be compared to than Jack Black.” Indeed.
IF YOU ASK US: The popular social networking site, Facebook, has once again changed its look and format, much to the annoyance of its members who had only recently gotten used to the website’s previous changes.
If the option were available, we’d certainly click on an unlike button, with a thumbs-down symbol to boot, in order to show our disfavor of the changes as well.
Instead, we say, “Dear Facebook, you’re acting like a lot of women in Hollywood. You keep changing your face, hoping we’ll like the new you, but in reality, you looked perfectly fine from the get-go. So, simmer down or you will eventually look like Heidi Montag and nobody likes her.”
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster