'Idol' finalist's band plansto release album in May
LOS ANGELES -- Camera-loving "American Idol" finalist Constantine Maroulis may or may not have TV-engineered pop stardom in his future. He will, however, have a record in stores next month. Pray for the Soul of Betty, the rock band Maroulis fronted before auditioning for the hit Fox show -- to the camera-captured disdain of some of his band mates -- will see its self-titled album hit music stores May 10. The album is being distributed by KOCH Records, the label that inflicted two William Hung albums on the public last year. "Pray For the Soul of Betty is one of the best rock bands I've heard in years," says Alan Grunblatt, general manager of KOCH Records. "Considering how popular Constantine Maroulis is, we should go gold for sure!" Maroulis was originally positioned as one of two "rockers" -- Bo Bice being the other -- among the current six "American Idol" finalists. As the final rounds have progressed, he's embraced his inner lounge lizard, flirting shamelessly with the camera while performing songs like Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and, this week, the Bee Gees' "Nights on Broadway."
Dean Martin would beproud of his Sin City road
LAS VEGAS -- The "Rat Pack" will be better represented in Sin City after a road was named after Dean Martin. Clark County commissioners renamed part of Industrial Road as Dean Martin Drive, agreeing with the developer of a new high-rise condominium project that the new name sounded better on letterhead for hotels, condos and businesses. "I think Industrial Road, especially in this area, is a misnomer," Commissioner Lynette Boggs McDonald said last week. The change puts the Dean Martin name on a road running along one side of Interstate 15, with Frank Sinatra Drive on the other. Martin, who died in 1995 at 78, and Sinatra, who died in 1998 at 82, were among a group of entertainers including Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford known for their carousing and performing in Las Vegas. They also made films such as "Ocean's Eleven." "It's appropriate to have Frank Sinatra Drive and Dean Martin Drive," Commissioner Myrna Williams said before raising the name of Sammy Davis Jr., another "Rat Pack" member, who died in 1990. "Now we need Sammy."
Cojocaru spills for Oprah
CHICAGO -- Three months after Steven Cojocaru's kidney transplant, Oprah Winfrey rolled out the red carpet for the fashion maven, reports The Associated Press. Cojocaru appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Thursday to discuss the transplant and his recovery. An upbeat Cojocaru proclaimed "alive and kicking!" when he showed up in a pinstriped suit -- a rarity for him. "Only for you would I wear a suit," Cojo said. "The rule is, only for a head of state or Oprah!" The 40-something fashion commentator, who became known for his snappy assessment of celebrity awards show fashion, underwent a successful kidney transplant in January after being diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, which can eventually cause kidney failure. "I hit bottom at the beginning," he said. "I got the news, and I was just completely shattered." But after his best friend, Abby Finer, gave him one of her kidneys, his spirits were raised -- which led to some eye-opening self-discovery. "I thought I was cynical -- like L.A., New York cynical -- but I found out I'm Pippi Longstocking!" he exclaimed. "I've seen nothing but good. Friends, family have come together to get me through this. Thoughtfulness. It's made me a better person."
BRANSON, Mo. -- Bill Mabe, a co-founder of the Baldknobbers, billed as Branson's first country music and comedy show, died last week at his home in Nixa after a short illness, his publicist said. He was 74. Mabe had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Mabe co-founded the Baldknobbers Jamboree Show, now in its 46th season, in 1959 with his brothers Bill, Lyle and Bob.
Country musician Vassar Clements is 77. Movie director-writer Paul Mazursky is 75. Songwriter Jerry Leiber is 72. Actor Al Pacino is 65. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 60. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) is 60. Actress Talia Shire is 59. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 58. Rock musician Michael Brown (The Left Banke) is 56. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & amp; the Heartbreakers) is 55. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 51. Actor Hank Azaria is 41. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 41. Rock musician Eric Avery (Jane's Addiction) is 40. TV personality Jane Clayson is 38. Actress Renee Zellweger is 36. Actor Jason Lee is 35. Actor Jason Wiles is 35. Actress Emily Bergl is 30. Singer Jacob Underwood (O Town) is 25.