Madonna to earn US$500m this year

Plus: Howard Stern slams Britney Spears, Cannes attacked for all-male line-up, Cancer patients Clarkson video goes viral and Gray/Grey confusion.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 01: Singer Kelly Clarkson poses backstage at the 47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ACM/AFP
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Material Girl, indeed - Women's Wear Daily estimates Madonna is poised to pocket US$500million (Dh1.8b) this year: $300m from her MDNA World Tour, $75m from tour merchandise, $60m from a new perfume, $10m from endorsement deals and $5m from her clothing lines. Speaking of her tour, her June 3 Abu Dhabi show has long been sold out, but a quick check at Think Flash's website reveals tickets are still available for her June 4 show.

Howard Stern slams Britney Spears

The newly appointed America's Got Talent judge Howard Stern criticised Britney Spears and her new gig as judge on rival talent show The X Factor USA. "Well, I think it's a wonderful decision. Britney still thinks the earth is flat," Stern told reporters on Thursday, promoting the premiere of his show. "I don't anticipate great opinions from her. I'll tune in to see what kind of a train wreck she is, absolutely. I think Britney's going to stand there and eat a lollipop."

Cannes attacked for all-male line-up

French feminists have criticised the Cannes film festival for failing to include a single woman among the 22 directors competing for the Palme d'Or. "All 22 films in the official selection were written, happy coincidence, by 22 men," the feminist group La Barbe (The Beard) wrote in an op-ed for Le Monde. * AFP

Cancer patients Clarkson video goes viral

A video featuring cancer-struck children, their nurses, doctors and parents lip-synching and dancing to the Kelly Clarkson song Stronger has become an online sensation. Clarkson, in her own video message to the kids at Seattle Children's Hospital, said it was "amazing". The video went online on May 6 and as of Sunday morning had received close to 1.5 million views. * AP

Gray/Grey confusion

The author of a book called Shades of Gray says her work is being confused with a chart-topping novel. Susanne Jacoby Hale says she has received emails, Facebook messages and phone calls from people thinking she wrote Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E L James, which has sold millions of copies and become popular among readers drawn to the romance between a college student and a wealthy entrepreneur. Hale's book is about a dropout prevention teacher. * AP

Comeback crooner carrying Britain's Eurovision hopes

Britain's hopes of ending its dismal run at the Eurovision Song Contest rest with 76-year-old Engelbert Humperdinck, whose last hit was in the 1970s - but the choice could prove to be an inspired one.

Despite Britain's rich popular music heritage, in recent years it has developed an unenviable habit of scoring "null points" from Eurovision voters and usually places towards the lower reaches of the final scoreboard.

So selectors hope that the ageing crooner, one of a handful of septuagenarians participating in this year's contest to be held on May 22 to 26 in Baku, Azerbaijan, will claim the crown for Britain for the first time since Katrina and the Waves triumphed in 1997.

He'll perform a number called Love Will Set You Free, written by Swedish producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello Awards winner Sacha Skarbek.

Humperdinck, who scored his last hit in 1972 with Too Beautiful To Last, has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide.

"With my experience and the number of countries I visited in Europe, I can bring this home," Humperdinck said in an interview with The Sun.

"I play these countries frequently and I hope I have scored some points with them."

Britain is not the only country to opt for experience over fresh talent. A folk group of six grandmothers, four of whom are in their seventies, will represent Russia and are expected to perform in traditional costume. - AFP