Wednesday, Sep 17th

Last update11:47:15 AM GMT


Paint store clerk is Idol winner

DeWyze's victory was based on votes cast after Tuesday's performance show

Lee DeWyze, a paint store clerk who overcame his shyness to impress American Idol judges and viewers with his spirit and soulful voice, triumphed over bluesy musician Crystal Bowersox in the contest's ninth season.

When asked by host Ryan Seacrest how he felt, an emotional DeWyze said, "I don't know. It's amazing, thank you, guys, so much ... I love you. Crystal, I love you."

The finalists had closely matched fan bases, with just a 2% voting gap between them coming into the finale, Seacrest said.

DeWyze's victory was based on votes cast after Tuesday's performance show, which drew more judges' compliments for Bowersox, 24, of Ohio, than for DeWyze, also 24, of Illinois.

The total number of votes cast in the finale wasn't announced by Seacrest. That's a departure from most years past: Last season, for example, the high-profile contest between Kris Allen and Adam Lambert drew 100 million phone and text message votes.

Fox didn't comment on the omission. But Idol, although still TV's top-rated show, has seen audience erosion this season that could have affected the tally. The talented but low-key Bowersox and DeWyze might also have provoked less interest.

The finale made the most of Simon Cowell's last appearance as a judge. A film package recounting highlights from the Cowell years was shown and comedian Dane Cook came on stage to sing "Simon Says," made up of the Briton's barbed comments, and to crack a few jokes.

The walk down memory lane continued with ex-judge Paula Abdul, who often played Cowell's sparring partner during the seasons the shared. "I've loved all the fun we've had together," Abdul told Cowell. "'American Idol's' not gonna be the same without you. But as only I can you, it will go on."

The finale, as usual, was stuffed with humour, including the return of Larry "Pants on the Ground" Platt and William Hung, return appearances by former contestants and music stars.

Kris Allen, last year's winner, sang "The Truth," with Carrie Underwood, Michael McDonald, Christina Aguilera, Hall & Oates, Robin and Barry Gibb, Janet Jackson and Joe Cocker were among those whose performances were scattered throughout the two-hour show.

By The Press Association

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Leona Lewis US tour plans shelved

Chart-topping star Leona Lewis's plans to tour the US were shelved after headliner Christina Aguilera pulled out.

Leona was due to support Aguilera on a 20-city series of dates starting in July.

But Aguilera has now postponed the shows until 2011 after saying she needs more time to prepare.

She said she was busy with her debut film, Burlesque and her new album Bionic and would not have time to rehearse.

By The Press Association

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Davina slammed for 'retard' comment

She has been criticised over a comment made on live TV

Davina McCall has been criticised by media watchdog Ofcom for using the word "retard" on spin-off show Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth.

The incident occurred in January, on the same night as the finale of the last ever series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Evicted housemate Vinnie Jones first used the word when he talked about Davina entering the house in a chicken outfit.

Asked how he knew that the person in the disguise was Davina and not Nicola Tappenden, he demonstrated walking with difficulty and told Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth: "She was walking like a retard, she was walking like this and our Nicky walks lovely."

Davina responded: "I do not walk like a retard."

Ofcom received eight complaints about the Hollywood actor's comment, with seven viewers also offended by Davina's response.

Some said the Big Brother presenter did not reprimand the movie hardman.

Ofcom originally did not uphold the complaints and received letters of protest about its decision. Later, it decided to hold a review by referring the case to its Broadcasting Review Committee.

On Monday it stated: "It was the Committee's view that his (Vinnie's) use of the word 'retard' was capable of being understood not as merely a passing reference directed towards Ms McCall but also as ridiculing those with a physical or learning difficulty, emphasised by his attempt at imitation."

Channel 4 said the comments had been allowed to go unchecked "in the heat of the moment during a live programme" at the end of a final eviction day.

By The Press Association

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Brittany Murphy husband found dead

The report comes five months after the death of his wife

The husband of late actress Brittany Murphy has been found dead, a US newspaper reported.

Sergeant Louie Lozano, of the Los Angeles Police Department, told the Los Angeles Times that the body of screenwriter Simon Monjack was discovered at his home in the Hollywood Hills last night.

Sgt Lozano said the cause of death was not yet known and investigating officers were still at the scene.

The report comes five months after the death of his wife.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office ruled that Murphy died of pneumonia complicated by an iron deficiency, anaemia and multiple drug intoxication.

Coroner's officials said the actress had gone into sudden cardiac arrest because of "drug intake" and her death on December 20 was classified as an accident.

By The Press Association

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Thai film wins top honour at Cannes

Binoche won best actress for the cryptic love story Certified Copy

The hypnotic Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the top honour at the Cannes Film Festival, while Academy Award winners Juliette Binoche and Javier Bardem earned acting honours.

Uncle Boonmee, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, traces the dreamlike final days of a man dying of kidney failure as the ghost of his dead wife returns to tend him and his long-lost son comes home in the form of a furry jungle spirit.

"I would like to thank my mother and my father, who 30 years ago, they took me to a little cinema in our little town, and I was so young and didn't know what it was on the screen," Weerasethakul said.

"I didn't know the concept of cinema. With this award, I think I know a little more what cinema is, but it still remains a mystery. I think this mystery keeps us coming back here and to share our world."

Binoche, an Oscar winner for The English Patient, won best actress for the cryptic love story Certified Copy, directed by past Palme d'Or winner Abbas Kiarostami.

During her speech, Binoche pleaded for the release of Kiarostami's countryman, detained Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi - who had been asked to be on this year's jury.

"I hope he will be here himself next year," Binoche said, as she clutched a nameplate emblazoned with the director's name. "It's hard to be an artist and an intellectual, and the country needs you."

Bardem, an Oscar winner for No Country for Old Men, shared the Cannes best actor prize, earning his honour for Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful, a grim portrait of a dying father. Also playing a father in crisis, Elio Germano shared the best-actor award for Italian filmmaker Daniele Luchetti's Our Life, a drama about a widower with three sons.

The second-place grand prize went to French director Xavier Beauvois' solemn drama Of Gods and Men, based on the true story of seven French monks beheaded during Algeria's civil war in 1996.

Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's stark film A Screaming Man received the third-place jury prize. The film chronicles the tragic consequences for a father after he loses his cherished job as a swimming pool attendant to his son amid his country's civil war.

By The Press Association

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