`Esquire' names Biel sexiest woman alive

PEOPLE AND PLACES

People In The News

October 08, 2005

Jessica Biel has been proclaimed "the sexiest woman alive" by Esquire magazine. The actress dons the cover of Esquire's November issue, following last year's honoree, Angelina Jolie.

The 23-year-old Biel, who began as a teenager on the family TV series 7th Heaven, plays a supporting role in the coming Elizabethtown and starred this year in Stealth.

"It seemed like it would be great -- having named Angelina Jolie sexiest woman of the year last year -- to try to come up with somebody who was on everyone's radar screen, but who was also fresh," said Esquire editor in chief David Granger. "It just seemed like Jessica Biel's moment."

The magazine also picks a woman for three older age brackets: the Chinese actress Gong Li, 39; 47-year-old Sharon Stone; and Rene Russo, 51.

Be very, very quiet

Scientology couple John Travolta and Kelly Preston are urging Katie Holmes to have a "silent birth" when she delivers fiance Tom Cruise's baby next year and follow the church's strict doctrines.

Scientologists believe children should be brought into the world without any fuss and be allowed to quietly get used to their surroundings. That means no music, no chatting and no expressions of pain from the mother.

Preston explains, "It's just because everything in moments of pain is really recorded and you want to have [the birth] peaceful and clear of sort of suggestions or different words that can then affect [babies] in their future."

Red, White Stripes, blue

The blue versus red political quips of The Daily Show is getting a peppermint infusion. The White Stripes will be the first band to perform on the Comedy Central show. On Dec. 1, Jack and Meg White -- the red and white clad duo that make up the Stripes -- will perform and chat with host Jon Stewart.

"We've never had a musical performance on the show before -- not because we haven't wanted one -- but because we were holding out for a reunited Spandau Ballet," Stewart joked in a statement. "This will have to suffice."

So you think you can sing?

Joe Pantoliano, Morgan Fairchild, Kim Alexis and Carmine Gotti are among the celebrities who will compete in the new VH1 series But Can They Sing? The six-week competition will premiere Oct. 30.

The winner will receive a cash donation to his or her favorite charity. Each week, contestants will undergo training with two vocal coaches and a movement-dance instructor to prepare for their performance in front of a live studio audience. Viewers will cast their votes online, by text messaging or by a toll-free number to decide who stays and who goes home.

The other competitors are Antonio Sabato Jr., Larry Holmes, Bai Ling, Michael Copon and Myrka Dellanos.

INXS is `Switched On'

INXS will introduce its new lead singer, J.D. Fortune, on the North American leg of its Switched On tour. Fortune was the winner on the CBS reality show Rock Star: INXS.

The band held the competition to find a replacement for its former lead singer, Michael Hutchence, who committed suicide in 1997.

The tour, which will visit 22 cities, is scheduled to begin Jan. 18 in Vancouver, British Columbia. INXS is working on its Epic Records debut titled Switch, which is due in stores Nov. 29.

She's our `Idol'

The judges for American Idol say their favorite winner is Fantasia Barrino, the North Carolina native who won Season 3 of the Fox show. Kelly Clarkson was the first winner and Ruben Studdard was the Season 2 champion.

Judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, who were in North Carolina for auditions Thursday, said Barrino was their favorite. "If we had to choose one American Idol to go out to dinner with, it would be Fantasia," Cowell said. "There are no airs and graces about her. ... I like her."

TODAY'S BIRTHDAY'S

Actor Paul Hogan, 66 -- Rev. Jesse Jackson, 64 -- Comedian Chevy Chase, 62 (above) -- Actress Sigourney Weaver, 56 -- Singer CeCe Winans, 41 -- Actress Emily Procter, 37 -- Actor Nick Cannon, 25 --

Toni Collette Said It

"I expected her to be a little more airy-fairy, but she's not. She's really grounded."

Toni Collette, on In Her Shoes co-star Shirley MacLaine.

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