'Jackass' star Ryan Dunn killed in car wreck
June 20th, 2011
10:56 AM ET

'Jackass' star Ryan Dunn killed in car wreck

Ryan Dunn, one of the stars of MTV's "Jackass" films and TV series, was killed in a fiery car crash on a Pennsylvania highway early Monday, police said.

A passenger in Dunn's 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 was also killed, but investigators have not positively identified the body, according to the police report sent to CNN.

The red-bearded Dunn, 34, was famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts on the show, which evolved into a successful film franchise.

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April 16th, 2010
04:24 PM ET

'Idol' cast-offs say judges' advice was 'confusing'

The "American Idol" ride came to a screeching halt for Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens this week, as the singers were the latest contestants voted off the popular show.

Garcia was a favorite earlier in the season, but Tuesday, the judges panned his rendition of the King's "Hound Dog."  Kara DioGuardi said she wanted more "swagger" from the 24-year-old performer, and Simon Cowell told him that "all the coolness has been sucked out of you."

"They were extra confusing this year," Garcia tells CNN.  "They tell you one thing, like 'I don't know about the swag...' and I was like 'What? I was doing my thing!'"

Stevens agrees.  She also had issues with some of the judges' feedback.

"'Katie, you should be R&B. Katie, you should be rock.  Katie, you should be country,'" said Stevens, recalling what judges had told her. "Yeah, definitely got confusing comments.  So I think it's ultimately important in this competition to be true to yourself and to what you want."

In fairness, both say they found the "American Idol" experience very rewarding... and are excited about the upcoming Top 10 American Idol tour this summer.

What do you think? Has the judges' advice been confusing?

April 2nd, 2010
04:23 PM ET

Didi Benami opens up about the future, Cowell

Getting the boot from "American Idol" must be tough for any aspiring singer.  One day you're pursuing your dream, singing in front of millions on television's highest rated show (well, not the last few weeks... "Dancing With The Stars" has tangoed its way past "Idol" in the ratings) - and then it's over, done, kaput,  at least for a majority of "Idol" hopefuls.  Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry are doing well these days.

It's too early to tell what the future may hold for 23-year-old singer Didi Benami, the lastest contestant to be voted off the singing competition.  In an interview with CNN on Friday, she said she was expecting to be eliminated but "it's still kind of tough."

"I had a feeling. I knew it wasn't my best performance, so I was ready just in case," Benami said.  "I didn't really expect to go so early in the whole scheme of things." FULL POST

March 26th, 2010
06:57 PM ET

An ailing Dennis Hopper honored in Hollywood

During my time at CNN, I've covered dozens and dozens of Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies, but I can't remember one surrounded with as much anticipation as Friday's event – when actor Dennis Hopper's star was unveiled on the famous boulevard.

The "Easy Rider" star has been in headlines recently because of his health (he's dying of prostate cancer) and a messy divorce that, his doctor says, is hampering his cancer treatment.

The dedication ceremony had been on the books for months, but many in Hollywood and the press wondered if the ill actor would even be able to make an appearance.
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March 25th, 2010
08:10 PM ET

Did Paige Miles get a raw deal?

It's safe to say that former "American Idol" contestant Paige Miles had a tough run on the reality competition.  The judges said that the 24-year-old had a strong lift-off early in the season, but pretty much crash-landed Tuesday night during a much-panned performance of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds."

Randy: "That was honestly terrible."
Ellen: "I'm going to hand the music critique off to Kara and Simon."
Kara: "Somewhere along the line I think you stopped competing."
Simon: "I think you're going to be in serious, serious trouble tonight, sweetheart."
FULL POST

November 17th, 2009
03:01 AM ET

"Twi-hards" howl for the premiere of "New Moon"

On Monday night, I covered the Los Angeles premiere of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" at the Mann Village Theater near UCLA... and before arriving, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect: screaming fans, posters of a shirtless Taylor Lautner; homemade signs with Robert Pattinson's name in glitter; tight security; etc. But when my photojournalist Chris Audick and I arrived, we were still amazed. Thousands of dedicated "Twi-hards" flooded the streets of Westwood, and they would not stop screaming. Even hours before any of the cast members arrived, loud shrieks, reminiscent of those black and white films of Beatles performances, could be heard from pretty much anywhere.

I had heard reports from local media of adoring fans camping out DAYS before the actual premiere – not to get tickets for the movie, but instead to hopefully get a glimpse of "Bella," "Jacob," or even "Edward."

It turns out those reports were right.

"I love all of this," said Tria Simpson, who came all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota and had camped out since Friday. "You just feel all the excitement... and the craziness in the air. I'm sucking it all up."

Simpson says she and her friends played "Twilight" trivia games to keep themselves busy while anticipating Monday's festivities.

Another woman from Paso Robles, California, says she made sure her kids were safely home from school last Friday, then hopped in the car for a four-hour drive to Los Angeles. She even got a front row position at the premiere, where she could show off a drawing her five-year-old daughter made of "Edward" and "Bella."

"I think it's a great love story, it's amazing, I think everybody wants it – I'm married and I try to incorporate it into my marriage," she said.

Witnessing all of this was exciting... but it was nothing new for me. After all, I did cover the "Twilight" premiere last fall. As it turns out, I wasn't alone.

Dawn Sirtack of Los Angeles, who was wearing a large button of a steely-eyed "Edward" on her chest, says she was also at last year's premiere, and could hardly control herself this time around.

"We've been out since about Thursday morning... and we've got the best seat in the house."

Check out iReport video of the pandemonium at the premiere.

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