WILLIE NELSON had better hope country radio treats old guys better than chicks. When Dixie Chicks front woman Natalie Maines maligned President Bush at a London concert last year, stations boycotted the trio and told fans to trash its CDs. Now country's beloved braided grandpappy has penned a ballad criticizing the war in Iraq, called What Ever Happened to Peace on Earth. With lyrics like "How much oil is one human life worth?" and "How much is a liar's word worth?," the tune is only Nelson's second protest song the first was about Vietnam. Asked by the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman if he thinks the charged new melody will draw a backlash from conservative country fans, Nelson said, "I sure hope so. I don't care if people say, 'Who the hell does he think he is?' I know who I am." Yeah, the dude dodging Toby Keith in the men's room.
Feud Of The Week
Christina ("Lock Up Your Sons") Aguilera
OCCUPATION: Singing Beautiful, while making us all feel a tad Dirrty
BEST PUNCH: Told Blender magazine that while rehearsing for last fall's MTV Video Music Awards kiss with Madonna, Spears "seemed very distant ... like a lost little girl, someone who desperately needs guidance."
Britney ("Lock Up Your Lips") Spears
OCCUPATION: Perpetually proving she's Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman
BEST PUNCH: Responded that after she hadn't seen Aguilera for two years, she "comes up to me in a club and tries to put her tongue down my throat! A lost girl? I think it's probably the other way around."
Winner: Spears because she French-kisses other women only to sell more albums. That's classy
A Has-Been Hero
Even superheroes have midlife crises. In The Incredibles, due in November from Pixar, over-the-hill Hercules MR. INCREDIBLE (Craig T. Nelson) struggles to adapt to life as a suburban family man and insurance-claims adjuster. The film, which also stars Holly Hunter as Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible's wife, and Samuel L. Jackson as his friend Frozone, follows a powers-packed family at a time when "superheroes are considered cumbersome," says writer-director Brad Bird, who helmed 1999's The Iron Giant. "There are legal problems. They're put into the equivalent of a witness-relocation program." And we thought the Hulk had problems.
The winner of last week's World Idol competition, gap-toothed Norwegian KURT NILSEN, proved that international fans will forgive a mediocre mug. "You have the voice of an angel and the face of a Hobbit," the Australian judge told Nilsen. "If they had Middle-earth Idol, you'd be it." Still, Nilsen beat out American Idol's Kelly Clarkson and nine others. We assume American Idol washout Justin Guarini and the potent Scandinavian voting bloc hit the phone lines hard.