Forget Paris. The Hilton heirhead and her new BFF, Britney Spears, may have ditched hosting duties at Monday night’s Billboard Music Awards, but the event went on rocking without them. The lady of the hour was hip-hop soul queen Mary J. Blige, who snagged nine awards, including R&B/hip-hop artist, album ("The Breakthrough") and song ("Be Without You") of the year. "I’ve never received this many awards at any time in my career, ever," the diva exulted backstage.
But two newbies denied Mary the night’s biggest artist awards. Chris Brown scored Artist of the Year (as well as New Artist of the Year), while Rihanna took home Female Artist of the Year. The singer’s reaction to her accolade? "I really can’t feel my legs!"
It was a good night for newcomers overall. Country singer Carrie Underwood, the latest artist to emerge from the shadow of "American Idol" and prove herself as a star in her own right, received Album of the Year honors for her first CD, "Some Hearts."
Rapper T.I. owned the hip-hop category, taking home five awards. Nickelback earned three, including rock artist and album ("All the Right Reasons") of the year. Stevie Wonder presented vocal legend Tony Bennett with the 2006 Century Award.
Blige also performed at the event, along with opener Janet Jackson, Fergie, Ludacris and Nickelback with Kid Rock. And Paris wasn’tcompletely forgotten, with presenter Chris Kattan invoking her catchphrase, "That’s hot."
Beyoncé Knowles wants the world to know she’s not bitter that "American Idol" alum Jennifer Hudson is getting mad Oscar buzz for "Dreamgirls." Though the flick was supposed to be B’s breakout role, word is that Jennifer’s amazing performance upstages hers — along with huge stars such as Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy.
But the Destiny’s Child lamented to reporters that "it’s really unfortunate that everyone is saying I’m jealous of Jennifer. It hurts my heart because it’s so clichéd.
"Because I’m a star they just automatically assume that I’m not humble enough to sit down and take a back seat, which I am," she complained.
The incredibly humble artist pointed out that in contrast with the untried Hudson, "I’m already a star. I already have nine Grammys. Everyone knows I can sing ... I did this because I wanted people to know that I can act and I can play someone so different from myself."
At least there’s one consolation prize for Beyoncé: boyfriend Jay-Z. The megastar rapper’s 37th birthday getaway in St. Barts is rumored to be a surprise wedding celebration for the couple of four years, reports the New York Post. Hey, B, a gold ring from your man is almost as good as a little gold man, right?
More dirt on the cast of "Dreamgirls": Eddie Murphy, no stranger to scandal, is now dating Babyface ex Tracy Edmonds. So what’s the drama? Well, only recently Eddie was linked with Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown. And oh yeah, Mel’s pregnant.
As recently as September, Eddie had gushed that he was "madly in love" with Mel B, who has a daughter from a previous marriage, Phoenix Chi. But now the comic icon is denying he’s her baby’s father. "We’re not together anymore," Murphy told aEuropean interviewer. "And I don’t know whose child that is, until it comes out and has a blood test."
Fast-rebounding Eddie hit the red carpet at the "Dreamgirls" NYC premiere with Tracy, who ended her marriage to producer Babyface a little more than a year ago. The couple has been dating "for about a month and a half," Tracy told People at the premiere. "We’re having fun."
Move over, Kevin Federline: There’s a new nominee for Hollywood’s Most Heartless Baby-Daddy.
Kitty Raymond is an entertainment writer who has a celebrity astrology blog at www.celebastroblogy.com.