Today's News: Our Take


LEAH LABUHBYE

More than 18 million American Idol voters didn't keep Leah LaBelle hanging on very long. The 17-year-old tone-deaf Seattle native became the first Top 12 finalist to get the hook on last night's show. Speaking of Idol, Tuesday's performance edition — which featured LaBelle's horrendous cover of "You Keep Me Hanging On" — attracted a staggering 26.7 million viewers, giving Fox its biggest Tuesday ever. read more

MODEL MYSTERY

Sephora shoppers are doing a double-take at the cosmetics retailer's Spring 2004 catalog, whose cover girl is a dead ringer for Yoanna House — one of the three remaining finalists on UPN's America's Next Top Model. Since Model's grand prize includes a Sephora campaign, we had to ask: Did Sephora accidentally reveal the identity of next week's big winner? A UPN spokeswoman declined to comment, but Sephora's PR rep insists the model in question is "not Yoanna." However, when the flack refused to ID the model, we called Sephora's 800 number and a friendly (and soon-to-be-unemployed) customer-service rep told us the lookalike's name is Cassia. Mystery solved. I think. read more

SCENE STEALER

It's official: As first reported last week by TV Guide magazine, Gary Sinise has signed on to headline CSI: New York, CBS confirms. The deal closed on Wednesday, Sinise's 49th birthday. His present? A cool $150,000 per episode. Although New York doesn't debut until the fall, Sinise will first appear in a May sweeps episode of CSI: Miami. read more

ERIN GO BRA-LESS

Courtney Love enjoyed a quiet St. Patrick's Day in New York last night. After repeatedly lifting her shirt during an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, Love moved on to an East Village nightspot and allegedly threw a microphone stand at a 24-year-old man — leading to her arrest on reckless endangerment and third-degree assault charges. All this comes a day after the Hole front woman showed up two hours late to a court hearing in Los Angeles on drug charges and was berated by the judge for talking out of turn. A preliminary hearing on that case has been postponed to April 15. Where does all this leave Love's daughter, Frances Bean? In therapy for life with Bobbi Kristina. read more

BENGIS

Ben Affleck will sit in for a vacationing Kelly Ripa on Monday's Live with Regis and Kelly. During the show, which was pre-taped, Affleck will compete in a "Reege-off" with Saturday Night Live's Darrell Hammond to see who does the best Philbin impression. read more

SPEAKING OUT

Lisa Marie Presley is clarifying remarks she recently made on the Australian TV show, Enough Rope, in which she said she "saw things she could do nothing about" during her brief marriage to a certain baby-dangler. "In saying, 'I saw things,'" she now says, "I was specifically referring to things in that relationship with us, that went on between us, at the time as husband and wife and that dynamic." Presley's suspicious comments fueled talk that she may be called to testify in Jacko's child-molestation case — or at the very least become a spokesperson for Jesus Juice. read more

DESPERATE PLEA?

Convicted felon Martha Stewart is reportedly asking 100 of her closest supporters (her frightened servants) to write to the federal judge who will determine her sentence on June 17. "Please include your opinion of my character, my work ethic, my integrity and my probity," Stewart allegedly wrote to friends, adding that they should include "any memorable experiences" — incidents that didn't involve her yelling at them — "you have had with me." read more

RYAN'S BIG GET

Boobygate star Janet Jackson will perform on the April 2 edition of On Air with Ryan Seacrest. The show's standard seven-second delay will be in place, a show rep confirms. Prior to her On Air gig, Jackson will appear on Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live. read more

SHORT CUTS

Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper and Joss Stone will join previously announced headliners Patti Labelle and Jessica Simpson on stage April 18 in Las Vegas for VH1 Divas... Norah Jones' Feels like Home enjoyed a fifth week atop Billboard's album chart with sales of 183,000 copies. read more

DAILY NEWS

Jon Stewart has inked a new four-year deal with Comedy Central to remain as host of The Daily Show at least through the 2008 presidential elections. "A lot of people like to get out when their show's still going well," Stewart said. "This gives me the opportunity to beat this thing into the ground." read more

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