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Mariah Calls, Whitney Falls

Mariah & Whitney | Denzel Washington | Paul McCartney 

Mariah Calls, Whitney Falls

The new album charts were finished yesterday and the results are not so good for Whitney Houston. Her new album, Just Whitney sold just 177,407 copies according to Hitsdailydouble.com. That put Houston at  No. 15 for the week, well behind several other well-known acts like Shania Twain and the late Aaliyah, who finished at nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

On the other hand, there was some good news in Diva Land as Mariah Carey's Charmbracelet sold a healthy 170,000 copies in its second week. That brings Carey to around 420,000 copies in two weeks. At that rate, she should "scan" a million copies by the end of the year.

Carey called me yesterday from her promo tour as she was getting ready to board a plane for Providence, Rhode Island.

Providence?

"There's a station there that's been very loyal to me," she said, "so I want to go see them. I don't mind at all. And then we head for L.A. to try and complete a video. First we have to pick a new single from the album."

That, Carey says, should be the upbeat "Oh Boy." She said that Christian and gospel stations have already started playing my personal favorite from the album, "My Saving Grace," which will likely be a single eventually. "But right now, I want something upbeat," she said, "because that's really me. We've had enough of 'Through the Rain'," she said, referring to her current single. "Now we want to have some fun!"

I asked Mariah what advice she might have for Whitney Houston. "I don't want to sound condescending," Carey said, choosing her words carefully. "It's not like she needs advice from me. She's been a big influence on me and I consider her a friend. I want her to be happy."

Carey said once she finishes her video she will take a bunch of friends to Aspen for Christmas. She told me that she just wants to relax in Aspen, as opposed to last Christmas when the tabloids reported Luis Miguel, her ex-boyfriend, dropped in on her. "That was so not true. He wasn't there," she said, "it never happened."

Then she's looking for a warm vacation spot for New Year's Eve, perhaps renting a yacht to float around the Caribbean. "It's the only time off for me," she said, "so I want it to be right. I've got to go someplace warm and where there's no paparazzi."

Maybe she should try a retirement village in Arizona.

Mariah also told me about guest hosting The View on ABC, which she did live yesterday. "People always tell me I should have my own talk show," she said. "But that would be too much work right now." She had a lot of fun with Star Jones and Joy Behar who, she said, reminded her of Bette Midler.

So that wraps up Mariah for 2002. Her comeback is complete. As for Whitney, her abysmal sales are no laughing matter. It's obvious her Prime Time Live interview did more damage than good. I only hope she can see what's happening here, and do something decisive to help herself.

Denzel's Butterflies Are Real

Denzel Washington missed his premiere last night of the terrific Antwone Fisher.

"He has a terrible stomach flu," his wife, Pauletta, told me. "I mean, he is really sick. I think he's been so worked up taking care of the actors and working on the movie that it finally caught up with him."

Denzel's doctors ordered bed rest, 7-Up and Mylanta immediately. But just in case that didn't work, famed chef Jean-Georges Vongrichten made some soup for Pauletta to take back to the hotel with her. This was convenient, since InStyle and Fox Searchlight held a little reception for the film at Jean-Georges' new restaurant, a chic Chinese palace called 66, which will open next month in Tribeca.

So if Denzel doesn't make the live broadcast of The View this morning, you'll know why.

But that didn't stop actors Derek Luke, Joy BryantViola Davis and Novella Nelson from making the premiere. Each of them gives a powerful performance in Antwone Fisher, but certainly the scenes between Luke and Davis are the ones that have been making screening audiences snuffle through boxes of Kleenex. For one thing, Derek Luke is very likely the break-out star of the year, a 30-year-old African American with a dazzling smile and the kind of charm a lot of established actors his age would be hard pressed to muster.

Then there's Davis. A Tony winner, she's had lots of small roles and has done a bunch of TV guest spots on Law and Order, etc. But this fall she's been in three important movies — Antwone, Solaris and Far From Heaven. She is an absolutely remarkable find. In Antwone, she plays the main character's long-lost mother, a crack addict who is pretty far-gone when Antwone (Luke) catches up with her.

"I have experience with that," the very pretty and articulate Davis told me. "I've had siblings with drug problems and children taken away from them, so I had no problem relating to that."

The Antwone Fisher gang heads to L.A. next for a Thursday premiere. And then, I predict they will get many Golden Globe nominations. As well they should.

More McCartney Credit Flap

I see the Paul McCartney songwriting credit thing is starting to take on a life of its own. As I explained on Tuesday, McCartney is mad because — due to John Lennon's death — Yoko Ono is making more money than him from his Beatles songs. Lennon's death means that Ono receives the portion of royalties that would have gone to Michael Jackson and Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

Do you know how much McCartney hates Jackson and the Sony/ATV sale at this point? On his new live album he credits the Beatles tracks to "Northern Songs" with no mention of Sony/ATV, even though the latter is the actual owner and the former doesn't really exist anymore.

Beatle fans are not happy with Paul reversing that Lennon/McCartney byline on the Beatles songs. It doesn't matter that he's been doing it since 1976. They've suddenly seized on it, feel that it's sacrosanct, and don't want it tampered with. Even though McCartney loathes Ono, he'd be well advised at this point to reconsider and recant. And fast.

PS: If you haven't heard McCartney's live album, I am happy to report that it's pretty good. Despite the bad feelings for him, he can still write a damn good melody. "Your Loving Flame" and "Driving Rain," two recent songs, really come off very well next to the Beatles songs.

But I'm still waiting to hear "Another Day" in concert.