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'Idol' not really an untrained melody

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 31, 2007


Star magazine says that American Idol winner Jordin Sparks didn't exactly tell the truth when she filled out her show bio with a "no" when asked if she had had formal training. Voice teacher Melissa Black tells the mag that Sparks studied with her in 2004, when she was 14. "Her mom, Jodi Sparks, and her grandmother, Pam Wiedmann - who acts as her manager - found me on the Internet. We were together for nine months of intense vocal work, with Jordin taking one 30-minute class a week at $25 per class. . . . I knew she wouldn't take long to perfect her craft because she was so good, " Black says. On her Web site, www.geocities.com/missyjblack/MusicbyMelissa.html, Black has written, "Congratulations to one of Melissa's former students JORDIN SPARKS!!! Jordin is the newest American Idol for 2007! Jordin was a voice/piano student in this studio in 2004, and we all knew she would make it to the top!!! It was an honor and priviledge (sic) to have had her in my studio."

Lawsuits fly over Brandy's crash

As if Brandy's freeway crash wasn't complicated enough, the singer is now trading lawsuits with a man hurt in the accident. The Associated Press reports that Brandy and Mallory Ham of Simi Valley, Calif., are accusing each other of negligence in the Dec. 30 crash. Ham's suit, filed Friday, says Brandy was driving recklessly and seeks unspecified damages, while Brandy's suit, filed Wednesday, alleges Ham caused the crash. The crash killed 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj, whose husband has sued Brandy and Ham for reckless driving. Aboudihaj's parents and her two children also have separate lawsuits pending against Brandy.

Birkhead lawyer wants payment

Debra Opri, former attorney for former Anna Nicole Smith paramour Larry Birkhead, has sued him claiming he didn't pay the legal bills he racked up trying to prove he was the father of Smith's infant daughter, AP says. The suit doesn't specify a dollar amount, but calls for arbitration to determine how much Birkhead owes Opri for her work, which was "extensive, entailed hundreds of hours of work" and required her to travel to multiple states and outside the country. Opri withdrew from the case for some unknown reason in the thick of the battle, and Birkhead told celebrity news Web site TMZ.com there were very good reasons she had to go.