Amy Ryan
December 04, 2006 AT 09:38 PM EST

Now, there’s a headline I never thought I’d write. But she actually did something that was not only out of character but even praiseworthy, so I’ll give her credit where it’s due.

La Hilton was supposed to host tonight’s live broadcast of the Billboard Music Awards — actually, she was supposed to cohost it with new BFF Britney Spears, but Britney pulled out last week. Then, on Friday, Paris dropped out as well. The reason? She didn’t like the patter scripted for her. “Paris did not want to say anything that could appear hurtful or embarrassing about people she knows,” her publicist explained. It’s safe to assume that meant she didn’t want to tell any insulting jokes about her new panty-challenged pal.

addCredit(“Paris Hilton: Kevin Winter/Getty Images”)

Now, this kind of gesture from Hilton seems unprecedented tome. Not just because there is no awards show tooinconsequential for her to grace with a public appearance — the photoat left was taken last week at something called the Arby’s ActionSports Awards in Burbank. Yet here’s Parissaying no to a live, sorta-legit awards show on Fox, the network thatmade her a reality TV star. And why? Out of discretion over anotherperson’s public image. Discretion! Who is this alien pod creature, andwhat has she done with the real Paris Hilton?

I might actually watch the Billboard Music Awards tonight,just out of schadenfreude, just to see how they do without a host(probably fine; the Golden Globes go emcee-less every year without ahitch, and the Grammys have started to do the same), andto see if the show takes revenge on the two gals who left it in thelurch, getting other presenters to make jokes at Paris and Britney’sexpense. Hey, just because Hilton and Spears are suddenly too discreet to enjoydish doesn’t mean I am.

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