Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 13 News List

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Boy George, with a sunburn and blistered fingers, ended his court-ordered community service -- sweeping the streets for New York City's Department of Sanitation.

Though the experience got off to a bumpy start -- he yelled at the media hounding him on his first day on the job last Monday -- the former Culture Club frontman had only good things to say about his bosses when he finished his five-day stint Friday.

"They treated us with kindness, and they treated us with respect," he said, adding that he was considering a concert to benefit the city's street cleaners.

The 45-year-old singer, born George O'Dowd, was ordered to work for the department after pleading guilty in March to falsely reporting a burglary at his lower Manhattan apartment. Responding officers found cocaine instead.

After five days pushing a broom, Boy George said it was time for a taste of the good life.

"I'm going to go off and have a glass of champagne," he said.

Justin Timberlake also talked trash last week, although he later backtracked from criticism of American Idol winner Taylor Hicks after telling Fashion Rocks magazine that the 29-year-old soul singer "can't carry a tune in a bucket."

"I have a strange relationship with that show," Timberlake tells the magazine in an interview. "I despise it, and yet I'm completely fascinated."

"The guy who won -- people think he looks so normal, and he's so sweet, and he's so earnest, but he can't carry a tune in a bucket. Do you realize how much pressure it is to put on somebody all of a sudden?"

Timberlake, a member of boy band 'N Sync who is now pursuing a solo career, also said: "If he has any skeletons whatsoever; if, God forbid, he's gay, and all these people in Mississippi who voted for him are like, `Oh, my God, I voted for a queer!' It's just too much pressure."

A representative for Hicks' record label, RCA, declined to comment. Ken Sunshine, Timberlake's representative, said the 25-year-old singer's comments "were taken completely out of context."

"He has tremendous affection for Taylor Hicks' success," Sunshine said. "He would never say anything that personal about somebody he's never met. He only wishes him the best."

Timberlake's second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, is set for release Sept. 12.

Sexyback, his first single from the CD, began playing on US radio outlets last month.

"I wanted (the album) to look to like a time when everything was really sexy," he says. "Maybe everybody was coked up, but who cares? It was hot. It was all about sex."

Meanwhile, singer and songwriter Barry Manilow has canceled three Las Vegas shows due to a worsening hip injury and will undergo surgery soon after a scheduled television performance later this month.

"My intent was to continue to do the show that I love at the Las Vegas Hilton right up until the surgery. Unfortunately, my body has decided otherwise," Manilow said in a statement released last week.

Manilow, 63, announced about two weeks ago that he would undergo arthroscopic surgery for torn cartilage in both hips following his run of Manilow: Music and Passion at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel and his performance on Aug. 27 at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, which are US television's top honors.

However, at his Las Vegas show last week, he told the audience his pain had worsened, and he was foregoing three remaining shows on the advice of friends and doctors. He will perform at the Emmys, then have outpatient surgery and a undergo an eight-week recovery and rehabilitation.

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