Music Article

Akon in King of Pop's Court?

Hints from the hip-hop star lead our roundup of post-Grammy tidbits, including a new man(ager) for Katharine McPhee, how ''Weird Al'' creeped out Taylor Hicks, Al Gore's summit with Quentin Tarantino, and much more

MUM'S THE WORD On the Grammy red carpet, Akon hinted a collaboration with Jackson could be in the works
Image credit: Michael Jackson: Koji Sasahara/AP; Akon: Jeff Christensen/AP
MUM'S THE WORD On the Grammy red carpet, Akon hinted a collaboration with Jackson could be in the works

We saw Justin Timberlake perform, like, eight times, raged until all hours of the night, rocked to the Police, and rolled with Dave Grohl, and now that the Grammys are over (and sensation has come back into our toes), it's time to reflect on all the news and gossip that wasn't fit for print. Here's what we learned Grammy weekend...

Akon may work with Michael Jackson
He's already scored multiple hits both on his own and as a co-writer for chart-toppers like Gwen Stefani and Chamillionaire, so what's next for Akon? The person he'd most like to work with is Michael Jackson, he told us on the Grammy red carpet Sunday night. That collaboration may already be in progress, we sensed, when we asked if there had been talks between the King of Pop and the Senegalese hip-hop star. Akon's reply? ''I can't really say, but maybe yes.'' Hmmm...

Katharine McPhee has a new man in her life
We'd heard the rumors, but on their first public outing at the Clive Davis party on Saturday night, our suspicions were confirmed. We're referring to the dynamic duo of Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee and her new manager, Guy Oseary, better known as Madonna's behind-the-scenes maestro. The two hooked up, figuratively speaking, a couple months ago and Kat, who was previously handled by Irving Azoff (Christina Aguilera), couldn't be happier. ''Guy is amazing,'' she told us excitedly. ''He's all about strategy and attention to detail — we're in it together for the long haul.'' So far, so good. Kat's debut album has moved almost 200,000 copies in two weeks.

Paul Oakenfold isn't feeling the Police reunion, but Scarlett Johansson is psyched!
''I don't get it, there's so much new music out there and so many new bands that need exposure, why get an old band together?'' Grammy-nominated producer/DJ Paul Oakenfold asked us just before Sting, Stewart, and Andy took the Grammy stage together. But when we explained that it was the 30th anniversary of the band's formation, he changed his tune somewhat. ''If that's the reason, then fair enough.'' You'd think a fellow Brit would know that? On the opposite end of the spectrum, actress Scarlett Johansson could barely contain herself when asked what she thought of the Grammys' opening number. ''It was the highlight of my night,'' she said. ''Wasn't it everybody's? The Police were amazing. I love Sting!'' And surely he loves you back, ScarJo...

Taylor Hicks creeps himself out
When the legendary ''Weird Al'' Yankovic walked the Grammy red carpet (his 11th year!), we had to ask if he'd gotten any negative feedback due to his recent parody of Taylor Hicks' ''Do I Make You Proud?'' (aptly titled, ''Do I Creep You Out.'') ''I get the artists' permission ahead of time, so it's not like they're surprised,'' he explained. ''Taylor actually sings 'Do I Creep You Out' at his own sound checks.'' Hallelujah, the Idol winner does have a sense of humor.

Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale wasn't crazy about ''Crazy''
There was consensus on the Grammy carpet this year. Nearly every artist we talked to said Gnarls Barkley's ''Crazy'' deserved to win Record of the Year (it lost to the Dixie Chicks' ''Not Ready to Make Nice''), but Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale wasn't one of them. At least not until fairly recently. ''[When I first started hearing 'Crazy,'] I didn't really get the song or understand why it stood out,'' he told us. ''Now I've finally come around. I can kind of feel the momentum and the vibe, but it took me a year to get it.''

A liberated Lisa Marie Presley readies her third record
With the recent merger of Capitol and Virgin Records, one artist that won't be joining the new roster is Lisa Marie Presley. ''Capitol just folded, but I got out right before,'' she told us at the Clive Davis party, where she came as Pink's date. ''I'm free and it's a nice feeling.'' Label or not, Presley is preparing to start on her third album next month and has been writing with husband Michael Lockwood, who produced her last effort, 2005's Now What? But there's no timetable yet, she says. ''I'm going to take my time.''

Ben Moody is recording Celine Dion?
Since leaving Evanescence in 2003, songwriter-producer-guitarist Ben Moody has been busier than ever, having worked on albums by multi-platinum singers like Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne. Now Moody is adding another female to his production portfolio, Canadian powerhouse Celine Dion. The two are heading into the studio in March to work on three tracks for her upcoming album, he told us at the Clive Davis party. Is Celine looking for a rock edge? If so, we're scared...

Al Gore is a Tarantino fan
The scene at the Warner Music Group Grammy after-party: Washington meets Hollywood meets rock 'n' roll. We spotted crooner Michael Bublé and actress Scarlett Johansson mingling, members of Red Hot Chili Peppers milling about, and none other than Al Gore hobnobbing with Quentin Tarantino. Is the Oscar-nominated vice president a fan? ''He said he was,'' Tarantino told us. ''He doesn't have any reason to kiss my ass, so I figured it was true.''

Originally posted Feb 16, 2007
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