NEW YORK (AP) – Destiny’s Child will perform together for the first time in nearly two years as part of the Pepsi “Play for a Billion” TV game show on ABC this fall.

They will sing new songs from their upcoming album before a live audience in Los Angeles this September. One song will air on “Play for a Billion” on Sept. 12, the Pepsi-Cola Co. announced Thursday.

“We are really looking forward to getting back on stage and performing together as a group,” Beyonce, lead singer of Destiny’s Child, said in a statement.

Their next album is scheduled for release this November.

“Play for a Billion,” with Damon Wayans as host, will offer a $1 billion grand prize but also guarantees that one finalist will win $1 million even if the grand prize isn’t awarded.

Madonna in holy places

JERUSALEM (AP) – Pop star Madonna plans to tour holy places in Israel in October with a group of more than 100 students studying cabala, or Jewish mysticism, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Thursday.

Madonna recently said she’s chosen the Hebrew name Esther for herself as a follower of cabala. The 45-year-old singer wears a red thread on her wrist that’s a symbol of Jewish mysticism.

She canceled three Israeli stops on her Re-Invention tour because of violence in the region. “It’s not a good idea to go there and do concerts,” she told syndicated entertainment TV show “Access Hollywood” in an interview last month.

Her trip is planned to coincide with the Jewish New Year, Maariv reported. Madonna will stay in an out-of-the-way guesthouse and avoid fans and TV cameras so that she’ll be able to focus on her cabala studies, the newspaper reported.

Linkin loves Singapore

SINGAPORE (AP) – Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington said performing in conservative Singapore was like “being at grandma’s.”

“It’s a little like being at grandma’s for dinner. You can’t cuss,” Bennington said in an interview in Thursday’s editions of the Strait Times. “Usually, I cuss a lot on stage. And I spit to clear my throat.”

Singapore is famous for its censorship laws, and people caught spitting in public in the city-state are fined $175.

Some 15,000 fans attended the band’s outdoor concert on Tuesday. The Strait Times said not one swear word escaped Bennington’s lips.

“I don’t think it takes away from the performance,” the 28-year-old said. “Our songs don’t have vulgarities in them anyway.”

Camilla’s letters released

LONDON (AP) – In love letters to Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles told how she yearned for him and urged her lover to withstand “the onslaughts of that ridiculous creature,” his wife, Diana, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Daily Mail published details of letters it said had been shown by the princess to her biographer, Andrew Morton.

Diana had found them when she searched her husband’s briefcase looking for evidence of his affair with Parker Bowles, the newspaper said.

According to the Daily Mail, Parker Bowles urged Charles not to feel guilty about their liaison and promised to be his “forever.”

She describes how her “heart and body aches” to be with him. “I yearn to be with you day and night, to hug, comfort and love you,” she writes to the man she calls “my most precious darling.”

Morton met Diana in 1991 while researching his biography, “Diana: Her True Story,” which revealed the princess’ bulimia, loneliness and distress at her husband’s unfaithfulness.

In a now-famous 1995 TV interview given two years before her death at age 36 in a Paris car crash, Diana said there had always been three people in her marriage – a reference to Parker Bowles. Diana and Charles divorced in 1996 after 15 years of marriage.



NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A concert promoter and Democratic activist is gathering signatures in an effort to draft Bruce Springsteen for a benefit concert to oppose President Bush’s re-election bid.

Promoter Andrew Rasiej wants to hold the event at Giants Stadium on Sept. 1, during the Republican National Convention in New York. He said it’s contingent on Springsteen’s agreeing to be there, which he hopes would lead other artists to join in.

A Springsteen spokeswoman, however, said he will not play.

“Bruce Springsteen will not be performing at any events tied to the Republican or Democratic conventions,” Marilyn Laverty said.

Rasiej, 46, founded the Irving Plaza concert hall in Manhattan. He has served as technology adviser to former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean.

He has created a Web site, www.draftbruce.com, with a petition seeking electronic signatures from Springsteen fans or Bush foes imploring The Boss to oppose the president. On Wednesday afternoon, the site stated it had collected nearly 11,000 signatures over the previous 24 hours.

“It’s really not so much about Bruce,” said Rasiej. “I’m viewing this effort as a barometer of public sentiment.”

Springsteen has been openly critical of the Bush administration.



NEW YORK (AP) – Given the celebrity trend of unusual baby names such as Apple and Coco, how did “Crossing Jordan” star Jill Hennessy and her husband, actor Paolo Mastropietro, come up with the name Marco for their son?

“I’m sorry, it was the only name that came to us,” the 34-year-old actress told People magazine. “He needed an Italian name to go with (Mastropietro). But it’s very phonetic. No one’s going to mess it up.”

Hennessy and Mastropietro were married in October 2000. Marco was born in September 2003.

Hennessy plays medical examiner Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh on NBC’s “Crossing Jordan.” She starred in NBC’s “Law & Order” from 1993-96.



On the Net:

http://www.nbc.com/Crossing-Jordan/index.html



LONDON (AP) – Elton John performed some of the songs he’s written for “Billy Elliot: The Musical” during a preview in London.

The musical, directed by Stephen Daldry, will open at the Victoria Palace Theatre on March 11, 2005, according to the musical’s Web site.

John said he was deeply moved when he saw Daldry’s film about a young boy in a mining town who bucks tradition to study ballet.

“I was sobbing in my seat and had to be carted out by three people,” said the 57-year-old pop star, who previewed his songs Tuesday.

Daldry received an Oscar nomination for the 2000 film on which the musical is based.



On the Net:

http://www.eltonjohn.com/flash-index.asp

http://www.billyelliotthemusical.com



NEW YORK (AP) – Ashley Judd, star of the upcoming film “De-Lovely,” has been signed as spokeswoman for American Beauty, BeautyBank’s new skin-care and cosmetics brand.

Judd, 36, co-stars with Kevin Kline in the new Irwin Winkler movie on the life of Cole Porter. The film is scheduled for limited release on July 2.

“Ashley Judd embodies all of the qualities that define our new brand, American Beauty,” William Lauder, chief operating officer of The Estee Lauder Companies, said in a statement Wednesday. BeautyBank is a division of The Estee Lauder Companies.

“Ms. Judd is glamorous, elegant, intelligent while being warm and accessible and we’re confident that women will connect with her,” Lauder said.

American Beauty will be in selected stores in October, and will be available nationwide next fall, the company said.



On the Net:

http://www.americanbeautycosmetics.com/

AP-ES-06-24-04 1505EDT


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