Backstreet’s Carter busted

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Mere seconds after we looked heavenward to thank The Universe for bringing the Backstreet Boys back together, we got this bit of bad news: Nick Carter, perhaps the most celebrated of the lads, was cited for driving under the influence.

According to syndicated celeb muckfest “Celebrity Justice,” the warbler was stopped as he was leaving a restaurant in Huntington Beach, Calif., Saturday night.

Carter, 25, was behind the wheel of a vehicle observed committing a traffic violation when police stopped him, police Lt. Dave Bunetta said.

“The officer that stopped him noticed some traffic violation was occurring,” Bunetta said. “When he was contacted by the officers they conducted an investigation which would include field sobriety tests and they formed the opinion he was under the influence.”

Carter was arrested and booked for investigation of drunken driving and his vehicle was impounded, Bunetta said. The type of vehicle wasn’t disclosed.

It wasn’t known how long Carter was in jail. Motorists arrested for drunken driving in Huntington Beach are typically held for a minimum of four hours then, after evaluation, are released with a citation ordering them to appear in court within 45 days, Bunetta said.

“Nick Carter deeply regrets the current situation. He is on doctor-prescribed medication and was unaware of its interaction possibilities,” Carter publicist Juliette Harris said in a statement Monday.

But back to those magic words “back together.” The boys, who’ve made it totally cool to be nothing but a pretty boy, are not only working on their first original album since 2000’s “Black and Blue,” they’re planning a super-intimate club tour.

– From wire reports

Renee’s got a new rocker

Renee Zellweger, fresh off a split from White Stripes rocker Jack White last September, is now romancing Irish singer Damien Rice, reports

The Oscar-winning beauty has been on a string of dates with Rice and is believed to be house-hunting in his native Ireland, sparking speculation she wanted to move closer to the folksy singer.

“Renee and Damien have been seeing each other for awhile,” said a source. “They share a mutual love of music, and both are pretty deep and intense people. They’re a perfect match.”

Last month, Zellweger said she’s still struggling to come to terms with her break-up with White. “When someone special comes into your life and then leaves, there’s still an imprint,” she said.

– Knight Ridder Newspaper

A day at ‘General Hospital’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – A local teen who has had four heart surgeries spent the day recently at a hospital of a different kind.

Kassie Crose, 19, of Green Bay, had a walk-on role on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital” in an episode that was to air Monday. Plus, she got to meet actor Maurice Benard.

The Florida-based organization, Kids Wish Network, fulfilled Crose’s wish application last year based on the teen’s long battle with complex cyanotic congenital heart disease.

“I knew what wish I wanted for a while, if I ever got the chance, so it wasn’t too hard to decide,” she said.

Her wish was to fly to Los Angeles with her family – parents Margaret and Dale Clark, and sisters Anna, 12, and Lexie, 10 – and spend the day on the set of her favorite soap. That day finally came on Feb. 11.

Toward the end of the episode, Crose, standing behind an information desk in a teal shirt, says: “I’m sorry. I’m not allowed to give out that information.”

Crose also wanted to meet Benard, who plays mobster Sonny Corinthos. Crose said he was “a lot cuter in person.”

“We talked to him for about 10 minutes. He’s a lot nicer than his character.”

Crose will probably need a new heart within the next two years.

McMahon okay after spill

Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s former sidekick, was hospitalized after a fall in his Beverly Hills home left him with a mild concussion and a gash in his head that required stitches, reports The Associated Press.

“Mr. McMahon’s prognosis is excellent, and he is expected to be released from the hospital in the next few days,” spokeswoman Susan DuBow said. The name of the Los Angeles area hospital wasn’t disclosed.

McMahon, who turned 82 on Sunday, tripped and fell Friday afternoon, DuBow said.

He was taken to a hospital where he received several stitches in his forehead, she said, adding that he had suffered a mild concussion.

McMahon is best known as Carson’s sidekick on “The Tonight Show.” Carson, who retired in 1992, died Jan. 23 of emphysema at age 79.

McMahon was also co-host with Dick Clark of the “Bloopers” shows and appeared year after year on Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day telethon.

– Knight Ridder Newspaper

N’Dour takes Grammy out

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – Youssou N’Dour made a triumphal tour through Senegal’s capital, holding his new Grammy Award aloft to cheers from thousands of fans.

N’Dour won the Grammy for best contemporary world music album for “Egypt,” released after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to show the gentler side of Islam as practiced in his west African homeland.

His prize was delivered last week.

On Saturday, fans cheered as N’Dour’s motorcade slowly rolled through the streets of the impoverished Medina neighborhood where he was born.

A superstar across Africa, he rose to prominence in the United States and Europe in the 1980s with his country’s homegrown popular music, mbalax. The music is a mix of the traditional drumming of Senegal’s Wolof ethnic group, African-rooted Cuban sounds and American soul and rock.

Combining the sounds of Cairo’s Fathy Salama Orchestra with a small group of Senegalese musicians and singers, “Egypt” – unusually religious for N’Dour – is a homage to saints and sages of Senegal’s mystical and moderate Sufi take on Islam.

While “Egypt” had been ready for years, it wasn’t released until after the Sept. 11 attacks that N’dour says have unfairly sullied Islam’s image in the West.

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