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It’s easy to see why Simon Cowell was eager to add Britney Spears to his panel of “The X Factor” judges.
The “Toxic” singer, 30, officially announced her participation in the show during the FOX Upfront event in New York on Monday. Spears slipped into a body-hugging, white minidress and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes to join Cowell, 52, L.A. Reid, 55, and new judge Demi Lovato, 19, on stage.
“I am so excited about this whole experience. It’s going to be so much fun and so different from anything I’ve ever done,” Spears told the crowd. “I’m ready to find the true star.”
Spears — engaged to Jason Trawick, 40, since December — changed into another sexy number backstage, opting for a purple Alexander Wang minidress. “I couldn’t be more excited to join The ‘X Factor’ judging panel. I’m a huge fan of the show and now I get to be a part of the action,” she told Us Weekly in a statement Monday. “Simon and L.A. better watch out!”
Also on display: Spears’ 3-carat Neil Lane engagement ring, worth an estimated $90,000!
Lovato, who recently dyed her hair blond, turned heads in a colorful design by Falguni & Shane Peacock. “I am totally stoked to be here,” she exclaimed. “I’m excited to represent my generation.”
Spears and Lovato have replaced former judges Paula Abdul, 49, and Nicole Scherzinger, 33, who were fired from “The X Factor” in January. Ex-host Steve Jones’ replacement has yet to be announced.
It’s no accident that John Mayer has been avoiding the press for the past two years.
Following two explosive interviews with Playboy and Rolling Stone in 2010, where he likened his chemistry with Jessica Simpson to “sexual napalm” and blamed his split with Jennifer Aniston on his frequent tweeting, Mayer felt the need to escape.
“It was a very strange time and it sort of rocketed me into adulthood. It was a violent crash into being an adult,” Mayer, 34, said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday. “For a couple of years it was just figuring it all out, and I’m glad I actually stayed out of the spotlight. Because I think back then I would of said, ‘Give me two weeks or let me get out and do Ellen and let me explain myself.’ It was like, ‘No, idiot. Go away and be 33 and 34 instead of 28 for the fourth year.”
Mayer said he “had to go home for a minute” to heal from the backlash in 2010. “The plan that originally gets you out of high school and your hometown, in front of people, that plan was over. I had done it. I just sort of lost my head for a little while.”
The “Shadow Days” singer — whose new album, “Born and Raised,” will be released May 22 — was forced to cancel his 21-city tour in March in order to remove a granuloma just above his vocal cord. (He first had surgery to remove the enlarged nodule in October 2011.)
“It’s not a health concern whatsoever, but it has taken me out of singing,” Mayer told host Ellen DeGeneres, 54. “I tried to beat it the first time and couldn’t.”
Angelina Jolie isn’t one to miss a history-making moment.
The actress, director and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, 36, arrived in Amsterdam on Tuesday with daughters Zahara, 7, and Shiloh, 5, for a visit that had nothing to do with a splashy film premiere.
Instead, Jolie sat in the public gallery Wednesday morning for the first-ever verdict at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, 10 years after it opened.
After 200 days in court, vicious Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga was finally convicted of kidnapping and recruiting young children — forcing them to become child soldiers to fight for Congolese rebel sources.
“This is their day,” Jolie said in a statement. “Where these children will feel there is no impunity for what happened to them, for what they suffered.”
“Angelina was very low key,” an onlooker at The Hague tells Us Weekly. “She came in almost unnoticed to watch the verdict and left right afterwards.”
The case of 51-year-old Lubanga could set a precedent for Uganda guerilla warlord Joseph Kony, currently the subject of a giant, celeb-supported viral campaign aimed at bringing him to justice.
Over the weekend, Jolie was by Brad Pitt’s side in New Orleans for his Make It Right Foundation’s huge, star-studded bash.
It wasn’t a very happy birthday for Bobbi Kristina Brown on Sunday. The only child of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown turned 19 on March 4, just two weeks after the shocking death of her pop singer mom at age 48.
At her mom’s side in Los Angeles during her final days, the young woman was rushed to the hospital hours after her mother’s lifeless body was discovered in the bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11. And on the day of an emotional three-and-a-half-hour funeral service for her mom Feb. 19 in Newark, N.J., Bobbi, who idolized her Grammy-winning mom, went missing.
“Bobbi is now with the family and going through the grieving process just with them,” a source explained to Us Weekly.
Another family insider adds that she and her maternal grandmother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, “have been getting along a bit better.”
Explains the second insider, “She really needs her own space right now to heal, and Cissy knows that.”
After many years apart, Bobbi and her grandmother are getting to know each other, the source says. “Cissy has a team of people helping her through this … right now. the goal is to make her feel special and loved.”
The 31-year-old actress was on the same flight as Yankees player Alex Rodriguez, 36, two weeks ago — but Bell didn’t realize he was a fellow passenger until his pet Chihuahuas escaped from their cages.
Around 1:45 a.m., “Everyone else on the plane was dead asleep and the lights were down. I crawled up and I opened my eyes and I saw a dog running down the aisle of the plane, like a free range dog,” Bell said on “Chelsea Lately” Thursday.
“So then I’m playing with this dog,” Bell continued, “and five seconds later, another dog! I look at this guy, Daniel, who I’ve been sitting next to and talking to for the past two hours, and I’m like, ‘Are we in the ‘Twilight Zone’? Why do I have two dogs in my hands?’”
The “House of Lies” actress “spent the next 20 minutes cuddling” with the two canines. “They couldn’t make an announcement because everyone on the plane was asleep, so the stewardess and I were trying to ‘Veronica Mars’ our way out of this, and I realized I did clock two dog carriers. I definitely saw these two Chihuahuas coming out of A-Rod’s dog carrier.”
“I wanted desperately to walk over and shake him and say, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Rod? I think I found your dogs,’” Bell told host Chelsea Handler, 36. “But the stewardess wouldn’t let me do it, so I had to shove them back in his case.”
Upon further reflection, Bell — currently engaged to her “When in Rome” costar Dax Shepard — realized Rodriguez might be using his dogs to bait her into having a conversation.
“I thought, ‘Is this Svengalian Don Juan actually planting these dogs for us to have an interaction?’ Cause you know he’s got a way with the ladies,” Bell reasoned. “Did he just curl up and open the dog case and be like, ‘See ya later, KB?’ Was I being tricked into having an interaction? That’s what you think of when you see somebody like that.”
Her theory about Rodriguez aside, Bell admitted it’s not the first time she’s encountered lost puppies: “I’m a dog magnet — that’s kind of how I’m known in my friend circle,” the “Big Miracle” actress said. “I keep a leash and treats in my car because I’m always running into stray dogs.”
“We just separated,” DeFer told Us while celebrating Gossip Girl’s 100th episode at Skylight Studios in NYC Thursday. “It’s OK. It really is.”
DeFer, who plays con artist Ivy Dickens on the CW soap, added: “I was engaged for a long time and this is me being single. I’m totally OK with it, so I’m spreading my love now.”
Despite their recent breakup, there are no hard feelings between DeFer and Pereira.
“I think sometimes you just realize it’s time to move on,” the 25-year-old actress explained. “It’s fine. Really.”
The Arizona native added that she won’t be spending Valentine’s Day solo, either.
“I’m going to sit down with a group of friends and make a bunch of old school Valentines like you did back in the day. We’ll send them out to all of these people from your past, present and people you want to get to know,” DeFer told Us. “Because who doesn’t want to have a Valentine on Valentine’s Day?”
The 100th episode of “Gossip Girl” airs Monday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
“I’m involved in my products every step of the way. My fragrances are doing really well at the moment,” Hilton tells FHM UK’s January issue. “They’ve produced more than $1.3 billion in revenue since 2005.”
“I have 35 stores and 17 product lines. And then there’s my racing team, my 14 fragrances and my new project, the Paris Hilton Beach Club chain. The first one is opening in the Philippines soon. It’s going to have nightclubs, restaurants, bars, gyms. Everything really.”
Hilton, who’s currently dating Dutch DJ and music producer Afrojack, also plans to release a follow-up to her 2006 debut album, despite dismal record sales.
“I have a huge passion for house music,” Hilton tells FHM UK. “I just haven’t been able to focus on it, because I have been doing reality TV for so long now. I’ve been working on the album with lots of other top DJs for a while now and I think people will be really surprised. It’s very modern and very catchy; perfect party music.”
“There are just so many great DJs right now,” Hilton adds. “And I should know — I’ve been to over 100 raves in the past year, so I’ve heard every type of music.”
On Monday, they were spotted shopping at a toy store and picking up some cupcakes in Vancouver. A source tells Us Weekly that the couple went out to dinner that night with Reynolds’ mom and brother to Tojos restaurant. (Reynolds is a native Canadian and his family still lives there.)
The following day, the duo grabbed lunch at Benny’s Bagels. A source tells Us that Lively, 24, and Reynolds, 35, were “really friendly” but kept to themselves.
During their New York weekend earlier this month, Reynolds spent some quality time with the sister and brother-in-law of the “Gossip Girl” star. The foursome shared a breakfast of donuts, egg tacos, bacon, egg and cheese biscuits and muffins. According to a source, Lively and Reynolds were “poking each other, giggling, and even seen leaning on each other in the booth.”
At a Sunday press conference for the film (co-starring Tom Hanks and directed by Stephen Daldry) in New York, Bullock, 47, admitted to reporters that she waited carefully before returning to her day job after adopting baby Louis in January 2010; just two months later, in late March, her six-year marriage to Jesse James imploded following his alleged affairs with multiple women.
One reporter asked the star if she considered leaving the acting profession altogether after becoming a single mom. “I wasn’t thinking about any of that,” Bullock replied. “I was just so happy being a mom. I’m still very happy being a mom. That just shifted and became my full priority.”
Bullock, who has remained single since she and James, 42, finalized their divorce in summer 2010 despite a close friendship with pal Ryan Reynolds, has spent time with her adorable little boy in their homes in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Austin, Tex.
But “Extremely Loud’s” director Daldry finally compelled the star to get back in front of the cameras — thanks not only to a moving 9/11 story based on author Jonathan Safran Foer’s acclaimed novel, but a willingness to accommodate Bullock’s schedule as a mother.
“Whatever next opportunity that I was given had to be an amazing opportunity for myself and for my son. So we had a great time,” Bullock explained. “It was no longer being a selfish actress having a moment. I wanted to have an amazing time with [Louis] and myself, and fortunately, Mr. Daldry presented that. In every possible way, it was the best!”
An insider tells Us Weekly: “The wedding is set to take place in six months with major celebrity guest like the Jonas Brothers.”
Looks like all is well in paradise for former child actor, 25, and his now fiancee, despite having gone through a rough patch back in February, when he allegedly held a loaded gun to his head and later punched Turnbow, according to a Phoenix, Ariz. police report obtained by TMZ.
A rep for the couple later told Us in a statement that “a gun played no part in the argument and was voluntarily given to the police for safekeeping. There were no bruises and neither left the residence. He was not suicidal. She was not assaulted. They have been together since the incident; are still together and are moving forward with their lives and with their relationship.”
Once called “one of Hollywood’s most bankable teens,” Muniz put his acting career on hold in 2008 to become a race car driver; he’s also a drummer in the band You Hang Up. He did voiceover work in the 2010 animated film “The Legend of Secret Pass.”