Lauren KellyBy Lauren Kelly

**Fergie is speaking out after receiving a huge backlash regarding her “jazz-inspired” National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 18.

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” she told Us Weekly in a statement on Monday, February 19.

She added: “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Mariah Carey does not want Fergie to listen to the haters after her jazz-inspired performance of the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game was criticized on social media. “Darling, nobody needs to listen to that,” Carey told TMZ.

In case you missed it, here you go.


**We picked up a few more Winter Olympic medals yesterday, here’s a quick recap of where we are:

1. Freestyle skier Maddie Bowman was NOT able to defend her title from 2014 in the women’s halfpipe, and didn’t even medal. She crashed on all three of her runs, and ended up in LAST place. But Brita Sigourney of the U.S. did snag Bronze.

2. Brother and sister Alex and Maia Shibutani took home a Bronze medal in ice dancing. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Canada were the favorites. They took Gold. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron from France took Silver. (She’s the one who had the wardrobe malfunction two nights ago.)

3. The U.S. men’s hockey team needed a win against Slovakia last night to keep their medal hopes alive . . . and they DID it. They won 5 to 1. That means we’ll play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

4. The U.S. WOMEN’S hockey team cruised through the early rounds, and they’re set to play Canada in the gold-medal game tomorrow night.



**We said goodbye to the hourglass Lucky Charms marshmallow, and now there’s a new one to replace it…

Lucky Charms has unveiled its first new marshmallow in 10 years – the magical unicorn!

According to Josh DeWitt, marketing manager of Lucky Charms, the unicorn marshmallow was selected by their youngest consumers – kids. “They spoke, and after hearing their love for the magical unicorn, we listened,” DeWitt said. The new unicorn charm, which features hues of bright purples and blues, is the first-ever marshmallow to be inspired and created by kids.

The new unicorn charms have already begun to appear in boxes of Original and Chocolate Lucky Charms cereals.



**Yesterday was the first day of the Astros full-squad practice at the spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Manager A.J. Hinch says the Astros are pumping up to try to repeat as World Series Champions. “I think it is refreshing having a self-motivated group and we can pick them up when needed,” Hinch said.

The Astros say their goal is simple, “Win another title, with a new team, in a new season.” The players have embraced the idea of working hard every day to improve on their exceptional 2017 season. “This team has the talent to do it, the personality to do it,” says George Springer. “There are a lot of teams that have that, that haven’t done it. But, I believe in our guys and I think this team can do it.”

The Astros first spring training game is set for Friday, Feb. 23.

Speaking of the ‘Stros…third baseman Alex Bregman adjusted his diet during the off-season, despite the way male sex appeal has been redefined.

“Dad bods are in,” Bregman said, “but I don’t know how many homers they got in them.”

Bregman replaced some unhealthful eating habits with meals of salmon, quinoa and kale. He was in great shape last season, but he is hoping to top his 19 home runs and .827 OPS by building more strength.


**Americans own a lot of pets, and we are very, very attached to them. Here are the results of a new survey in honor of “National Love Your Pet Day,” which is today:

1. Dogs are the most popular pet in America. They’re followed by cats . . . fish . . . birds . . . and then hamsters and gerbils.

2. 10% of people regularly say “I love you” to their pet.

3. 10% talk to their pet in a special voice.

4. 9% give their pet table scraps.

5. Only 4% admit that they probably post TOO MANY pictures of their pet on social media.



**An elevator malfunction could have ruined a Rhode Island bride’s big night, but she made it to her celebration — with the help of some firefighters.

Melissa Rodger’s dream wedding went all according to plan, until it came time for the reception.

“I jumped in the elevator and we started to go up,” Rodger said. “The elevator just kind of shuttered and we thought, ‘oh weird.’”

Stuck in the Providence Biltmore elevator four feet shy of the 18th floor, she and two wedding planners waited and waited.

“I was hoping that it would just take a minute. Two minutes. Five minutes went by and I thought, ‘OK, this is – something might be wrong,’” Rodger said.

Soon the fire department came and pried the doors open.

Rodger missed the cocktail hour as firefighters worked to determine how she could get out — without ruining her dress. However, that crisis was averted with a technician came and got the elevator working again.

“It was unfortunate but it’s a great memory,” Rodger said. “It’s going to be a great memory.”



**Get Ready For a William Shatner Country Album

Shatner signed a deal to record a country album. And if that surprises you, then you’re not a fan. He’s been recording albums since the ’60s. Sometimes it’s a spoken word thing and sometimes he “sings.”

He’s even tackled rock classics like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Iron Man”. His deal is with Heartland Records Nashville, and they say it’s “a very special project.” It’ll be released later this year.


**Word spread over social media yesterday that Sylvester Stallone had died of prostate cancer. It’s not true. The alleged cause of death was prostate cancer, which Stallone supposedly kept a secret until the end.

One guy even posted pictures of him looking “sickly,” with much of his hair having fallen out. (where do they find these things??)

Stallone shared that post to his Instagram, and said, quote, “Please ignore this stupidity . . . Alive and well and happy and healthy . . . Still punching!”

He didn’t explain the pictures, but they were probably from a movie. And it wouldn’t be surprising if it was “Creed 2”, since Rocky battled lymphoma in the first one.

Please ignore this stupidity… Alive and well and happy and healthy… Still punching!

A post shared by Sly Stallone (@officialslystallone) on

**Ryan Reynolds posted some pictures yesterday of kids with cancer visiting the set of “Deadpool 2”.

He called it, quote, “One of the best parts of playing the Big Red Jackass” . . . and added that it’s great for the kids AND their parents, who, quote, “just wanna see their kids smile.”

Of course, somebody online had to find the negative angle and said quote, “Guys ‘Deadpool’ is an R rated movie and those kids are watching it . . . I think something is wrong here.”

Not surprisingly, Ryan had a great response . . . quote, “Yup. ‘Deadpool’ is Rated R. If my kid went through a fraction of the [stuff] these kids deal with daily, I think they can watch whatever they like. That’s just my two cents.”



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