A no-show at MJ tribute, Jennifer Hudson blames production issues
WITH BILL ZWECKER October 9, 2011 7:48PM
Updated: November 16, 2011 11:50AM
The producers of the big Michael Jackson tribute concert Saturday night in Wales were fuming the next day about Jennifer Hudson’s last-minute exit from their lineup of stars.
Though the Grammy and Oscar winner claimed “major production issues” led her to cancel, a source close to the show said Sunday, “there was something else going on here.”
Hudson’s camp insists the singer was not given enough time to go over and rehearse the music she was expected to perform — though she was sent her portion of the show the same time as Christina Aguilera, Ne-Yo, Alexandra Baker, Leona Lewis and the rest. Beyonce performed via video for the concert, emceed by Jamie Foxx and attended by Jackson’s children, his mother and several siblings.
† When Hudson learned the producers hadn’t told concertgoers she wasn’t appearing, she sent out a preshow tweet announcing her absence and telling her British fans, “I would have thought they would have informed you all by now, so since they did not, I am.”
† The big question now: Will Hudson return the reported six-figure paycheck? I’m hearing the show’s organizers want it back.
† The growing rift between Randy Jackson and his surviving siblings has led to him not being included in the Michael tribute planned for Tokyo later this winter — featuring most of the other Jacksons.
WEDDING UPDATE: No question about it, Paul McCartney’s daughter Stella loves her new stepmother, Nancy Shevell, a great deal. So much so that the famous couture fashionista not only designed Shevell’s outfit for her Saturday marriage to Sir Paul but gave it to her as a special wedding present.
Another example of how close McCartney’s children have become with the American trucking heiress: They were thrilled when their ex-Beatle dad chose to marry his new bride at Old Marylebone Town Hall, the London site of his 1969 wedding to his kids’ late, beloved mom, New York native Linda.
† A close friend of Stella McCartney recently reported the designer half-jokingly said, “I think my dad has done much better by marrying Americans, considering his one marriage to a Brit was such a disaster.” McCartney has never made a secret of how much she detested her father’s second wife, Heather Mills.
HELLO GORGEOUS! Shortly after Barbra Streisand surpassed the Beatles by landing her 31st Top 10 album, one of the diva’s best interpreters — Steven Brinberg — again will bring his acclaimed “Simply Barbra!” show to Davenport’s in Wicker Park for one night only, Wednesday.
Brinberg, who regularly performs with Marvin Hamlisch, was even hired by Streisand herself to perform at a party for her friend Donna Karan.
ARTFUL ACTION: “Sylvia” fans will be happy to know her always funny and feisty creator — cartoonist and artist Nicole Hollander — has teamed with Lillstreet Art Center to present a class on the art of graphic novel storytelling, beginning Oct. 22. Participants will depict an important moment in their life, using both words and images.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: “Heartland” star Heather Graham continues to enjoy Our Town — catching a performance of Second City’s “South Side of Heaven.” … Taye Diggs was spotted breakfasting with a guitar-playing buddy at the W City Center’s Living Room. … Pro soccer star Hope Solo and teammate Abby Wambach partied hearty at Sunda. … “Jersey Shore’s” Ronnie Ortiz-Magro made the scene at the Underground late Saturday. … NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and (separately) the Hawks’ Viktor Stalberg were seen chowing down at Hub 51. … While in town doing their stand-up act at the Improv in Schaumburg, Marlon and Shawn Wayans dined at P.J. Clarke’s — and kept the crowd at the bar in stitches all night.
ROSIE MOMENT: When Rosie O’Donnell dined at Naha in August and chef/owner Carrie Nahabedian told the entertainer her mother was a big fan, O’Donnell immediately grabbed a cell phone and had Nahabedian call her parents’ Florida home — thrilling Helen Nahabedian with a personal chat.
All that has led to Mrs. N. flying to Chicago in order to be in the audience for Monday’s live debut of O’Donnell’s talk show.
ALL IT TOOK: Once Nick Lachey heard a pal wonder whether his recent weight gain (since marrying Vanessa Minnillo) might turn him into “another Kevin Federline,” the singer immediately hired a new personal trainer and got back to the gym — clearly fearing a comparison to Britney Spears’ ex-hubby’s now-tubby look.