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Jennifer Hudson Talk Working with Pharrell on "JHUD"

Image Courtesy Renato Sampaio/ RCA Records

Jennifer Hudson will soon release her third album, JHUD, which includes her Pharrell-produced single “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)” featuring T.I. The singer revealed what it was like working with the in-demand hitmaker.

“I worked with Pharrell for my first album [2008’s Jennifer Hudson], although we didn’t end up having anything make that album, but we already had a rapport from back then. I was so excited to work with him again,” she said in an interview with Billboard.

She adds that they have a mutual appreciation for throwback music. “Where we connect is we both have a love of old-school music. He’ll come in with a track and then I’m like, ‘I already know where I’m going with this. I feel you,'” she says.

JHUD will be released on September 23.

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"Friends" Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

Getty Images / Handout(NEW YORK) — Twenty years ago, six friends danced in a water fountain and into television history.

Friends premiered Sept. 22, 1994 on NBC, and turned Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer into major stars.

Aniston filled the role of Rachel, who abandoned her partner on her wedding day and subsequently moved in with an old friend, Monica, played by Cox.

Monica was the sister of Schwimmer’s Ross, who had a big crush on Rachel. He eventually had an on-again, off-again relationship with her that resulted in a daughter and, finally, the two of them declaring their love for one another in the last episode.

Monica and Rachel lived across the hall from Chandler, the wise-cracking character played by Perry, and LeBlanc’s Joey. Monica went on to marry Chandler, while Joey ended up as the focal point of a much-derided spin-off after Friends ended its 10-season run in 2004.

Finally, there’s Kudrow’s Phoebe, a quirky musician whose signature song was “Smelly Cat.”

When the six friends weren’t hanging out in Monica and Rachel’s apartment, they were usually at the local coffee shop, Central Perk.

Friends featured one of the most recognizable TV theme songs of the 1990s: “I’ll Be There for You,” by The Rembrandts. It was used in the show’s intro, in which the cast members splashed around in a water fountain.

Friends was remarkably successful as part of NBC’s “Must See TV” Thursday-night lineup. It earned 62 Emmy nominations, winning six times.

Many of the cast members have moved on to other TV series. Cox stars in the TBS comedy Cougar Town; Kudrow is working on a revival of her HBO comedy The Comeback; LeBlanc was a recent Emmy nominee for the Showtime series Episodes; and Perry is attached to an Odd Couple reboot.

Schwimmer’s major credit since the Friends finale is the Madagascar films. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, Aniston has a busy movie career and is engaged to Justin Theroux.

You can still see all of them in the Friends reruns that seemingly air around the clock on various networks. In fact, TBS is airing a 20-episode marathon on Monday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET/PT to celebrate the sitcom’s anniversary.

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Celebs to Dance to Their Favorite Jams on Monday’s "Dancing with the Stars"

ABC (LOS ANGELES) — The second week of the new Dancing with the Stars season begins Monday night. The theme of the night will be “My Jam Monday.” Each couple will perform a dance to their “favorite jam.”

Last week’s top celebrity scorer, Alfonso Ribeiro, and his pro partner, Witney Carson, will deliver a hip-hop samba set to Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” Of course, Ribeiro was Smith’s co-star on the 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, so maybe he’ll work in his famous Carlton dance into his routine? We’ll have to wait and see, but Carson promises it will be “really fun” with “a lot of energy.”

After a mishap with a feather boa during the first performance show, fashion designer Betsey Johnson has sworn off the accessory. She tells ABC News Radio, “There will be no boas allowed.”

Johnson also jokes that she’ll print a T-shirt that reads, “F…the boa.”

You can watch the 12 remaining celebrities take part in “My Jam Monday” beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC. One couple will go home the following night on the results show.

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Could Idris Elba Be the Next James Bond?

Sony/Screen Gems(NEW YORK) — Idris Elba participated in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit Saturday. In addition to his role in Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book, the No Good Deed actor also discussed the possibility of him becoming the next James Bond.

There has been some buzz on the web about Elba possibly stepping into the 007 role when Daniel Craig decides to leave.

When one Reddit user asked if he’d be interested, Elba answered, “Yes, if it was offered to me, absolutely.”

The 42-year-old actor also cleared up a rumor about him playing the Marvel Comics character Luke Cage in the upcoming Netflix series of the same name. Elba revealed, “I think there’s an actor already signed on for it, fortunately or unfortunately.”

The recent announcement that Elba will voice the part of Shere Khan in Jon Favreau’s upcoming remake of the Disney classic The Jungle Book prompted one fan to ask Elba what his favorite Disney movie was.

“I loved Mary Poppins,” he responded, explaining, “Classic, man, just classic. The songs, the animation, amazing!”

The Jungle Book, also featuring the voices of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, is set for a 2015 release.

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Pregnant Alicia Keys Poses Nude to Draw Attention to New "We Are Here" Movement: “I Want to Gather an Army"

Douglas Gorenstein/NBCA female celebrity posing nude while pregnant is sure to garner a lot of attention, and Alicia Keys knows it.  The singer, who’s expecting her second child in December, says that baring her baby bump will help her raise an “army” of fans to make a positive change in the world.

By being photographed naked with a peace sign drawn on her belly, Alicia is launching her new We Are Here Movement, which will, she hopes, inspire her fans to fight for social justice of every kind — from stricter gun laws, to gay rights, to girls’ education worldwide. She tells the New York Times, “I want to gather an army…It’s time to get people’s attention. People won’t be able to ignore this visual.”

Alicia has donated a million bucks of her own money to get the movement started, and it’ll go to 12 different groups, which she hopes her fans will then choose to donate to themselves.  They include her own foundation, Keep a Child Alive, which helps kids affected by HIV and AIDS; All Out, a gay rights organization; Oxfam, which fights global poverty; War Child; which supports kids living in conflict areas, and the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which combats racial profiling.  She also plans to organize petitions, rallies and protests.

Alicia’s newly released song “We Are Here” is the theme song for the movement. She tells the New York Times that she was inspired to write the song, and begin the movement, in part, when a friend asked her, “Why are you here?”  “Nobody had ever asked me that question before,” says Alicia, noting that it started her thinking about what her purpose in life is, and what her legacy will be.

“We’re in the same head space. We think the same things,” she says of her and her fans. “This is bothering us, so how can we take that to the next step and do something about that, as opposed to just being angry?”

You can get more info at WeAreHereMovement.com, and also watch a video where Alicia performs “We Are Here” and says, “It’s not about me. It’s about we, and together we can ignite the change that will create a more peaceful world for all children. And that’s the truth.”

Over the weekend, Alicia performed at a celebration for the late actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee at Riverside Church in New York. She performed her song “Superwoman” at the event. Dee died in June at the age of 91.

Post by Alicia Keys.

 

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Pharrell Williams Says "The Voice" Doesn’t Feel Like Work

Image courtesy ABC/Randy Holmes

Pharrell Williams is the new coach of NBC’s The Voice, alongside Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Blake Sheton.  Although Pharrell has a lot on his plate, his experience on the show has been very enjoyable.

“My expectation is that it would be work that I would enjoy, but I was wrong. It’s not t been any work at all. It’s been fun. Really, honestly fun,” he says of season seven.

The super producer also explains what motivated him to join the lineup of the hit singing competition show.

“I joined The Voice because I felt like it was giving me an opportunity to not only be able to give advice to the people that I would be coaching, but also people out in TV land — someone that’s looking for some answers or ever had any questions, hopefully, that I could impart some information to them that could make things easier for them, too,” he says.

So what does he love most? For Williams, he believes the show provides valuable coaching to large numbers of aspiring musicians.

“Essentially, at the end of the day, there are 48 contestants, and only person is gonna win,” he says. “The rest of those 47 people, like, their lives are gonna be changed because they had Blake teach them a lot about their voices and what they could do, and they had Gwen to teach them about the tone and their styling, and they had Adam to teach them about vocal control. you know. That’s huge!”

The new season of The Voice premieres Monday night at 8 ET on NBC.

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Ray J Denies Dating "Love & Hip Hop Hollywood" Co-Star Teairra Mari for Nine Years

VH1(NEW YORK) — When fans tuned in to the premiere episode of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Hollywood last Monday, many were shocked to learn that cast members Ray J and R&B singer Teairra Mari had dated for nine years — at least that’s what Teairra claimed. Ray J tells ABC News Radio not to believe everything you hear.

 

“I mean I’m still trying to add that up. We’re all still confused about that statement. We still trying to find out the time gap of everything and see if it all equals the same thing and right now we haven’t figured out exactly what she meant by that,” Ray says.

 

In the episode, Ray J and Teairra meet up eight months after their painful split. The conversation, held in the parking lot of his office building, quickly turned sour with an emotional and crying Teairra threatening to beat up Ray’s new girlfriend, Princess Love. Later in the episode, she does throw a drink on Princess during a party Ray J threw in honor of his website, RayJ.com.

 

Ray says he doesn’t condone his ex’s violent behavior. “If I’m not with you no [sic] more I never want to see you again and I’ll run into you. It just never should be some street activity going on as adults,” he adds.

 

It’s clear that Teairra still has feelings for Ray J, but he says he probably won’t get back together with her despite what viewers may see on forthcoming episodes.

 

“I don’t ever think that that’ll ever happen because I love my girl. But at the same time…I’m in an emotional roller-coaster ride,” he explains.

 

Ray J says viewers can expect him to “turn up” on the series, but when cameras aren’t rolling, and despite his reputation, he’s a pretty regular guy. So what’s his normal routine? “[I] go to bed at 9 p.m., wake up at 6 a.m., go to the gym, chill at home with my girl. I got four Maltese and I just chill. I don’t do nothing. I might go to the dog park with the dogs or go to the movies,” he says. “I got an office where I just go and put together shows, you know.”

 

VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Hollywood — which also stars Soulja Boy, Omarion and former member of B2K Lil Fizz — returns Monday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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"The Maze Runner" Dominates Weekend Box Office

20th Century Fox(NEW YORK) — Three new releases held the top spots at this weekend’s box office, with sci-fi action thriller The Maze Runner dominating at number one.

The film, based off the 2009 young-adult novel with the same name, stars Teen Wolf actor Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Game of Thrones‘ Thomas Brodie-Sangster. In its weekend debut, the movie brought in $32.5 million.

A Walk Among the Tombstones, directed by Scott Frank, and comedy-drama This Is Where I Leave You, rounded out the top three during their first week, pushing last weekend’s leader, crime-thriller No Good Deed, down to number four.

Here are the top ten films of the weekend according to boxofficemojo.com:

1. The Maze Runner $32.5 million
2. A Walk Among the Tombstones $13.126 million
3. This Is Where I Leave You $11.86 million
4. No Good Deed $10.2 million
5. Dolphin Tale 2 $9.005 million
6. Guardians of the Galaxy $5.18 million
7. Let’s Be Cops $2.675 million
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $2.65 million
9. The Drop $2.05 million
10. If I Stay $1.835 million

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Miranda Cosgrove Talks NFL, Fashion and College Life at USC

Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) — Miranda Cosgrove is just your normal 21-year-old college student — except for the fact that she’s been starring in movies and TV for more than a decade on shows like iCarly and hit movies like School of Rock.

While Cosgrove is hard at work, trying to learn as much as she can at the University of Southern California, some of her classmates also happen to be fans.

She just got back to school and said being an actress has its ups and down.

“The weirdest part is after a day at school, I’ll go on Instagram or the Internet and there will be pictures of me from school that random people took and I didn’t know they took,” she told ABC News. “So, that can be kind of weird sometimes.”

The good? It helps her meet new people, she said.

“People come up to me and introduce themselves and it kind of opens the door, so that part of it’s nice,” she added. “I feel like I’m not the kind of person that would just go up to somebody and introduce myself, so it’s helped me in a lot of ways.”

Right before school, Cosgrove got her own place, but said she regrets it a little because she would love to live on campus and have the classic college experience.

“I might even try it for a semester at some point, because I do want that experience,” she said, adding she decided on majoring in film and is interested in screenwriting classes.

In fact, she looks up to the likes of Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig, and admires their ability to both act and write.

“College really does help you grow up and figure out who you are. So, it’s just helped me grow as a person, like even just getting to classes on time and figuring out where classes are,” she added, laughing.

Cosgrove spoke to ABC as part of her partnership with the NFL as the Tweens/Juniors Apparel brand ambassador. She’s a San Francisco 49ers fan and the love of the team comes from her father Tom.

“I’m personally a fan of Colin Kaepernick … Football also kind of brings everyone together and my dad loves football and loves sports,” she said. “For as long as I can remember I’ve watched football games with my family.”

Cosgrove has always been a fan of fashion and sports, making the collaboration ideal, she said.

“Even now that I’m back at school, I like to dress comfortable and I think the shirts [jerseys] are comfortable and cute,” she said.

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Gladys Knight Talks New Lifetime Movie & Unique "Dancing with the Stars" Concept

Courtesy: It Is Done CommunicationsFans of Lifetime Christmas movies can rejoice: Gladys Knight has just wrapped filming a brand new movie for the network, titled Seasons of Love.  And even though acting is nothing new for the 70-year old legend, she tells Billboard she found the love scenes a bit challenging.

“It was a stretch for me because of the onscreen kiss,” she laughed. “I felt like I was cheating on my real husband.”

In the film, Knight co-stars with actress Taraji P. Henson, who plays her sister. “It’s about young people figuring out how to get the special kind of love that my character and her husband have,” she says.

Knight is having a terrific month music-wise as well. Her new gospel album, Where My Heart Belongs, debuted at number 20  on this week’s Billboard’s R&B Albums chart.  Gospel isn’t new for Knight, who said she often included an inspirational song when recording with The Pips.

“We [Gladys Knight & the Pips] always had that [gospel] element in our lives, part of the village that raises you,” she said.

Meanwhile, the singer, who competed on the fourteenth season of Dancing With The Stars, said she has one wish for the ABC show.

“I’d like to see dancers like myself given our own category and give the younger ones their category,” she said. “Then we’re competing with people equal in the category and not [becoming] the joke of the show.”

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