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She didn't win the fifth season of American Idol, but California singer Katharine McPhee still shined enough to warrant a record deal with the show's creator, Simon Fuller.

Following the lead of winner Taylor Hicks, who signed a contract last week, McPhee agreed yesterday to a pact deal Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited and Clive Davis' RCA Records. On June 27, the label plans to release McPhee's first commercial single -- a double-A side who the tracks "Over the Rainbow" and "My Destiny." The 22-year old, whose voice (and breasts) became a sensation over the course of the season, performed both on the May 23 Idol finale.

Katharine McPhee Hair

How Katharine lost to this guy Hicks is beyond us, but the people of America have spoken, and all the sane ones among us can do is learn to live with their egregious mistake for the next four years. Oh, sorry. This wasn't the presidential election. Never mind.

In any case, weeks before McPhee's single hits the shelves, 19 Records will be releasing Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud," which he sang during the finale, and its B-side, a cover of the Doobie Brothers classic "Takin' It to the Streets." His hair will be gray on the cover, in all likelihood.

When announcing Hicks' deal, the label said his debut album would surface later this year. No plans for a full-length album have been leaked yet for McPhee, who also intends to pursue an acting career. Hicks, McPhee and the other Top 10 finalists from this past season will team up for a 60-date summer tour that kicks off July 5.

And so the Idol factory rages on. To date, 20 contestants have appeared on the Billboard album and/or singles charts, and the show's winners/runners-up have sold a combined total of 33 million records. That figure includes music from Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard and Bo Bice.

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Sorry, Brangelina, you can't hog all the headlines this week. As her ex-husband was busy playing father, Jennifer Aniston took her new love, Vince Vaugh, to Australia. Together, the duo spent a lovely day visiting the Sydney Aquarium before seeing the Down Under premiere of their hit, The Break Up.

A rep for the aquariaum told PEOPLE's Australian sister magazine, Who, that the pair arrived around 11:30 a.m. for a tour of the Great Barrier Reef exhibit. Both stars fed the sharks and looked genuinely happy in one another's company.

  • Aniston Pic
  • Vince Vaughn UK 'The Break Up' premiere

The guide who escorted the couple found them to be "very friendly and chatty and interested in learning about the fish," said the source. "They weren't outwardly affectionate, but you could tell they were close to one another."

In other words, this was the opposite of any Linday Lohan/Jessica Simpson outing.

From the aquarium, Vinnifer headed to Café Sydney, overlooking the city's harbor, where they shared a seafood platter for lunch; then it was a rest at their hotel before hitting the red carpet ��" separately, and so far apart they couldn't be photographed together.

Asked by a reporter about the movie's love lessons, Aniston replied, "Oh, what have I learned about relationships? You know, you learn nothing more from this movie than I think we learn from our real relationships. Which is communicate better, be as honest as you can be, and just try to do better."

The inquiries then got more personal as the former Friends star was asked whether she would consider moving to Chicago, where the movie was filmed (and, incredibly enough, where she and Vaughn are rumored to be house-hunting). Her response:

"I would consider moving to Chicago, yeah. It's a great city." Her favorite thing about it? "The food."

And a certain, strapping co-star.

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According to iVillage.com, a subsidiary of the venerable National Enquirer, there's a reason why actress Ellen Pompeo hasn't wed longtime boyfriend Chris Ivery.

His criminal past.

Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery Photo

Sources close to the 36-year old actress, who plays Dr. Meredith Grey on the hit ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy, say she is proceeding with caution when it comes to marriage. Ivery, 38, served 14 months in prison for postal theft and credit card fraud after a 1994 conviction.

While Ivery's past wasn't that important when she was struggling to pay the bills as a waitress, Pompeo may be more concerned with her image now that she's become one of TV's top stars. As she thinks about the future, Ivery may not be as big a part of it as once thought.

"Ellen loves Christopher to death but she can't help feeling that there may be someone else out there better suited for her," a pal told The Enquirer. "She's had a few of her co-stars try to set her up on dates with some well-known bachelors. Ellen declined the offers for now, but she's having second thoughts."

Pompeo and Ivery, a music producer, live together in the Los Angeles area, so things don't appear to be crumbling between them at this point. But if these reports are to be believed, stay tuned. There could be a new hot commodity on the L.A. single scene before long.

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According to the most recent issue of Life & Style Magazine, Mariah Carey got skinny. Not quite emaciated, third-world, war-torn refugee/Mischa Barton-style, but still pretty thin!

She's lost about 32 pounds over the course of four months, if you're keeping score at home. Which would imply that you have serious issues.

Mariah Pic

In any case, Mariah's comeback over the past 18 months, spurred by the multi-platinum album The Emancipation of Mimi, is clearly not limited to music. The much-maligned diva is back in tip-top shape, looking hotter than ever and ready to kick off her latest tour.

Billed as "The Adventures of Mimi: The Voice, The Hits, The Tour," the travels of Mariah kick off in Miami, Fla., on August 5. The opening act will be rising reggae-rap star Sean Paul, according to Vibe. Sean P., as he is often called, is riding high on the success of his current album The Trinity.

He is not to be confused with Sean Preston, Britney Spears‘ infant son.

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Subtle, but firm.

That's how we'd describe the latest effort of a rebellious Britney Spears to replace husband Kevin Federline. With her marriage reportedly on the rocks, the sexy star has hired a male nanny to help care for their seven-month-old son, Sean Preston. Rumor has it that K-Fed is quite jealous of the new guy in Britney's life.

Britney Spears, Pink Bikini

"[Federline] doesn't like that this guy is taking care of his baby," an "insider" told InTouch magazine. "He feels like Britney is throwing it in his face."

The male nanny -- who some in the press have nicknamed "Manny" -- has been identified not as Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez (below), but as a man named either Perry or Henry, according to numerous reports.

He was hired to be a bodyguard for Spears at first, but he's since become the man of the house... a very lucky man of what has to be a very strange house.

In Touch reports that Manny/Perry/Henry has been doing chores that had previously been done by Federline, and has even been spotted buying flowers for Spears.

Wait a second... Federline did chores? Who would have guessed?

To make matters even tougher on poor Kevin, Mrs. Federline is redecorating the house, tossing her husband's beloved black leather furniture in favor of some more feminine tastes.

"She's using pink, cream and apricot silk, lace and feathers," reports an inside source. "Kevin claims that he can't think in the house any more and it's affecting his music. He is complaining that the place is ‘some high-school chick's bedroom.'"

Whatever it takes to get him out, Britney. Whatever it takes.

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Lindsay Lohan has had enough. Following accusations that claim she's undergoing hypnotherapy to overcome a $1 million-a-year shopping addiction, Lohan has gone public to deny the attack.

It all began when Life and Style Weekly recently alleged the actress is struggling to control her habit, often spending as much as $100,000 in just one day.

At the Pump

Lohan's stylist Rachel Zoe reportedly told the magazine: "Her closets are overflowing with things like $8,000 Prada dresses and $2,000 Balenciaga bags. She has so many clothes, she never even wears some of them!"

The magazine claims sessions with a hypnotist are already working - but Lohan is outraged by the claims. As you can tell by the picture on the left, she's calling everyone she knows to dispute this nonsense. Meanwhile, her publicist stated with emphasis:

"That is just a bunch of crap. There's no hypnotist. And Lindsay loves clothes, but the idea that she spent that much last year is completely stupid."

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He's like that wreck on the side of the highway.

You don't want to see it, and yet you can't look away. You swear you don't care, but can't stop wondering about it. We are talking, of course, Tom Cruise, star of Mission: Impossible III. While the kookiness of Cruise has been well documented in recent months, it may finally be taking its toll on the star's box office appeal, writes Kim Masters in a column for Slate.com.

A Tom Cruise Pic

Over the Hedge, Disney's most recent animated venture, is currently out-grossing MI:3. Yes, talking animals are outdoing Cruise. And they're not even Pixar animals!

Not that MI:3 is tanking outright, having made over $300 million thus far. But lofty expectations and a lackluster performance have some questioning whether Cruise has lost it -- on so many levels.

A weak MI:3 performance is enough to give any studio pause, but to make matters worse, Cruise's production company's deal with Paramount will expire in a few weeks. Negotiations to renew are not underway.

If you're Cruise, you need to do more than find a home for the production company -- you need to find a role. One that will revive the actor's appeal. Apparently, Cruise doesn't grasp that his image is taking a beating, and his reps aren't exactly dying to articulate it to him.

"You've got to be very careful in conversations with him," a source close to Cruise says. "Tom is not ever going to face facts."

One marketing executive says that Cruise "needs to go away" and should just stay out of sight for a year, allowing the public time to get over what he calls "the cootie factor."

For now, Cruise said to be looking at a couple of projects. A member of his management team says he'd like to see Cruise in a comedic, Jerry Maguire-style role, one that caters to women, where he plays a likable guy who laughs and smiles. Meanwhile, the agency source called it "unfair" for the actor "to be punished for stuff he did last year."

Stuff? What stuff? Has Tom Cruise even been in the news lately? Who is he dating? What are his religious beliefs? Whatever. We're pretty sure that someone will show him the money again, lunacy or not.

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Are Mr. & Mrs. Federline headed for divorce court? According to Kevin's friends, he and Britney Spears are still married. But for how long?

One friend, decked out in baggy pants and sunglasses (and probably a hat tilted sideways), says recent rumors of the couple's split are false.

Kevin Federline and Britney Spears Photo

"Everything you read in the tabloids about their relationship is fabricated. They're still together," the source said.

Others close to the Federlines said in interviews that divorce talk is off base, though none would agree to officially go on the record with a quote.

Reports out of the UK last week said that Spears signed preliminary divorce papers, allegedly after consulting with lawyers about splitting from Federline.

A source told Britain's News of the World newspaper that this is "a very stressful time" for Britney and that "she is serious about it… and knows she has to get things moving."

Spears has been at the center of speculation for months as her marriage is clearly on the rocks, and has been pretty much since the birth of son Sean Preston late last year. The singer, who is pregnant again, recently lashed out at Federline on her website, posting a picture of herself posing with a rude hand gesture.

The photo appeared under a poem entitled "Remembrance Of Who I Am," which is very likely aimed at her 28-year old backup dancer/aspiring rapper/WT spouse. The verse, believed to be written by Spears, asks "How do you stand sleeping at night," and goes on to describe how "manipulated," tied down and "swallowed" she feels.

This news is, indeed, hard to swallow. Not unlike Federline himself. Hopefully Britney can let out some frustrations at the gym this week, where she is reportedly spending a lot of time in preparation for a new CD.

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Paris Hilton really needs to be more careful. Somehow, information and videos about her continue to be leaked to the public.

Supernatural Skank

The latest sneak peak into the wonderful world of Paris is the hotel heiress' first single, "Stars Are Blind." If the tune is meant to be autobiographical, she forgot to add "thin, useless and ugly" to the title.

According to the New York Post, however, the song could be a lot worse. Singing to a pop reggae beat, Hilton waxes about her qualifications to be somebody's girlfriend to a pop reggae beat. The newspaper reported her voice on the track is reminiscent of Gwen Stefani. It's amazing what technology can accomplish.
Dan Aquilante of the Post quipped: "We can only hope the video is half as good as her last one."

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