Tuesday, May 27, 2003

'Today' showcases 'Idol' banter

New York -- American Idol winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken took the "Today" show by storm on Monday, wowing a crowd of screaming fans who braved a downpour for a glimpse of their favorites.

"It's like a monsoon. Poor Clay is worried about his hair," Katie Couric joked as she tousled Aiken's slightly less spiky than usual 'do.

Aiken helped Couric introduce "Rooooooooooobin" Studdard, as the fans have come to call him, then beamed from the sidelines as his "Idol" pal crooned his renditions of "Flying Without Wings" and "Superstar." The two teamed for a patriotic Memorial Day duet, "God Bless the U.S.A."

Houston gets spiritual in Israel

Jerusalem -- Singer Whitney Houston is in Israel looking for inspiration for her upcoming Christmas album.

Houston arrived Sunday for her stay with the Black Hebrews, a group of nearly 2,000 black Americans who followed a Chicago bus driver to Israel decades ago and believe they are descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israelites.

Their religious customs include a vegan diet and polygamy. Houston is accompanied by a group of relatives, including her husband, singer Bobby Brown, and their daughter.

Arnold eyes governor's office

Radnor, Pa. -- Arnold Schwarzenegger says he may think about running for California governor after the summer release of his new movie, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," -- but his family will have a say in the matter.

"When I get to that point that I say, 'I want to run,' I will have that conversation with my family and with my close friends," Schwarzenegger told TV Guide for its May 31 issue. He said the advice of his wife, NBC correspondent Maria Shriver, a Kennedy cousin and a Democrat, would be especially significant.

"She has to give the green light and feel comfortable with it because she moved away from Washington to get away from all that kind of stuff," Schwarzenegger said.

Minnelli has bad break in Italy

Los Angeles -- Performer Liza Minnelli broke her right kneecap when she tripped over a step at a hotel in Bologna, Italy, but still plans to sing at a benefit concert with famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti, her publicist said.

Minnelli, 58, was taken to a hospital after the accident Sunday and will have to wear a full-leg cast for about four weeks, Warren Cowan said.

"Even though she won't be able to rehearse, she is going to perform (tonight) with Pavarotti, even wearing the cast," Cowan said.