HITS Daily Double
It still feels like Dreamgirls has the lead in the Academy Award race, with The Queen and Babel nipping at its heels, while the Dixie Chicks promise to bring a political edge to this year’s Grammy competition.


Dreamgirls Rules, CES Gets Underway, Stiller Tops Box Office and News From All Over
Wake up, folks. It’s a new year with the same old story lines. My J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets self-destructed and now I’m left to count down the days until M-E-T-S Mets Mets Mets pitchers and catchers report for spring training in about five weeks. Awards season hits full-blast, with the Golden Globes handed out next Monday (1/15), the Oscar nominations due Jan. 23, and the Grammys Feb. 11. It still feels like Dreamgirls has the lead in the Academy Award race, with The Queen and Babel nipping at its heels, while the Dixie Chicks promise to bring a political edge to this year’s Grammy competition.

Look for Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax Dreamgirls album to top the HITS chart this week, especially since we combine the results of the regular CD with the special edition, unlike our competition. And that should remain the case until at least next week, when Disney’s Jump In soundtrack, with High School Musical heartthrob Corbin Bleu, will hit the chart. The year’s first big releases don’t arrive until Jan. 30, when Blue Note’s Norah Jones, RCA/RMG’s Katharine McPhee, Capitol’s highly touted U.K. newcomer Lily Allen and Columbia’s Harry Connick Jr. arrive, with Island’s Fall Out Boy hitting the streets the following week (2/6).

The Consumer Electronics Show got underway in Las Vegas last night with Microsoft’s Bill Gates delivering the keynote address for the 11th consecutive year to further promote the Zune portable media player. Meanwhile, executives are preparing their all-important party itineraries, which include bashes from Disney, Intel, AMG, Microsoft/Verizon V Cast and Sony, among many others. 3 Doors Down are helping showcase a number of audio systems and manufacturers with a pair of performances tomorrow in the Grand Lobby of the Convention Center, on the ESPN stage. Gibson, the iconic guitar manufacturer, is hosting performances from Cirque de Soleil "Love," Sweet Juice, Arthur Hanlon, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Brian Wilson. Also in the mix is a series of Digital Hollywood sessions, covering topics like DRM, file-sharing and a variety of emerging digital music sales models. Meanwhile, heavy rumblings will also be coming out the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, potentially the stage for a freshly unveiled iPod phone.

Ben Stiller’s A Night at the Museum once again topped the movie box office with $24 million, followed by Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happyness ($13m), Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men ($10.3m), Hilary Swank’s Freedom Writers ($9.7m), Dreamgirls ($8.8m), the animated Shrek spinoff Happily N’Ever After ($6.8m), Charlotte’s Web ($6.6m), Robert DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd ($6.5m), surprise hit Rocky Balboa ($6.3m) and We Are Marshall ($5.1m). Hollywood got off to a good start in 2007, with overall grosses of $273 million for the week, up 10% from the previous year.

For a N.Y. Times story on former Orleans member John Hall’s successful run for a Congressional seat, go here.

For the Times story on L.A. musical phenomenon The Beastly Bombings, a Gilbert & Sullivan-styled show about terrorists, go here.

The N.Y. TimesKelefa Sanneh raves about the U.S. debut of the latest English export, a group from tiny Dundee, Scotland named The View, whose stateside debut comes out on Columbia later this year here.

The Times weighs in on I’m from Rolling Stone, the new MTV reality show about six reporters vying for a gig at the counterculture bible here.

Geoff Boucher remembers James Brown’s famed MC Danny Ray and some other songs which pay tribute to the Godfather in the L.A. Times here.

L.A Times’ Brit correspondent Phil Sutcliffe weighs in with his latest crop of touts from across the pond, including Lily Allen, Bellowhead, David Ford, Unkle Bob and Klashnekoff here.

In 1966: ABC aired the last ever episode of pop music program Shindig! The Kinks and The Who were the final acts.

In 1973: Yoko Ono released Approximately Infinite Universe, a double album whose highlights included songs like "I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window."

In 1974: Kiss drummed up some press by performing a “dress rehearsal” shortly after signing to Casablanca Records.

In 1975: Tickets for three Led Zeppelin concerts at Madison Square Garden went on sale. The box office had to call on other ticket outlets to help cope with demand and sold out their 60,000 tickets in four hours.

In 1979: The Canadian government declared Rush the country’s official “Ambassadors of Music.”

In 1979: Sara Carter, of the famed Carter Family of country singers, died at age 79.

In 1991: Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark, an original member of the band, died in London after an overdose from drugs and alcohol. His fiancée blamed herself for his death because she went to bed in a huff when he came home drunk the night before.

In 2000: A photographer was arrested on charges of stalking Barbra Streisand and James Brolin.

In 2004: Sheryl Crow, U2's The Edge, Alicia Keys and Ben Affleck appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to speak out against digital piracy.

In 2004: On what would have been Elvis Presley's 69th birthday, it was announced that he was the biggest-selling solo artist in American history. His label RCA said Presley had sold 117.5 million albums as of that date.

In 2004: Former Spice Girl Mel C said she would release CDs through her own label after being dropped by Virgin Records.

In 2005: Rapper Nas married R&B singer Kelis in Atlanta.

In 2006: During a visit to Venezuela, calypso star/actor Harry Belafonte told the press that President Bush is "the greatest terrorist in the world."