Stars Sing at Luther Vandross's Funeral
It was a star-studded sendoff for Luther Vandross. After a two-day wake during which fans from around the world paid tribute to the singer, Vandross was given a funeral on Friday in New York City. Joining thousands at Riverside Church in Harlem were such stars as Usher, Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. They shared memories of Vandross and then also sang -- Aretha belted out "Amazing Grace" and Wonder sang "I Can't Complain." At the end of the service, many of the singers joined together to sing one of Luther's biggest hits, "Power of Love/Love Power." Vandross passed away at age 54 from complications after a stroke.
Lara Flynn Boyle Tries Her Luck in Vegas
Lara Flynn Boyle, who we used to love back when she had some meat on her bones and starred in Twin Peaks, is returning to TV. Boyle will be joining the cast of NBC's Las Vegas, playing a "flamboyant" owner of the Montecito Resort & Casino. She's no stranger to TV, of course -- in addition to that Twin Peaks business, she played district attorney Helen Gamble on The Practice for seven years. "Obviously, we're excited to have someone with the style and panache of Lara Flynn Boyle as we head into a season of transition for Las Vegas," series creator Gary Scott Thompson said. Now somebody force feed her at one of those cheap Vegas buffets!
INXS Searches for New Singer
There will never be another Michael Hutchence (cue flashbacks to bare chest and leather jacket in "Need You Tonight" video). But now the late singer's band, INXS, is searching for a new frontman -- or woman. (Hutchence committed suicide in 1997.) Epic Records has even signed the band to a new record deal and is planning a world tour. And, this being the age of reality TV, you can follow along with the band's search for a new singer as CBS starts airing its new series Rock Star: INXS tonight. The surviving members of the Aussie hitmakers will put 15 singers (eight women and seven men) through a competition. For some reason, Brooke Burke hosts. Ah yes, we remember the reason -- male viewers.
Bob Geldof and Bono give their thumbs up to the G8 leaders' pledge to Africa. We're less than a week away from the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. J.K. Rowling's bankers are resting in anticipation. Scholastic is printing 10.8 million copies, up from 6.8 million of the last book in 2003. Finally, there's some good news at the box office. After 19 straight depressed weekends, the movie biz rebounded this weekend thanks to Fantastic Four. The critics scorned the superhero movie, but moviegoers loved it -- ticket sales for the weekend were $56 million. Jennifer Connelly's new horror film, Dark Water, opened at number four with $10.1 million.