R&B star Usher is none too happy about Jennifer Lopez's new record "Get Right" — as readers of this column will remember from last week.
That's because Usher already recorded "Get Right" as a single called "Ride" that wasn't included on his most recent album, "Confessions," but was available as a 12-inch club record and on the Internet last year.
Rich Harrison produced both "Ride" and "Get Right," putting the same horn track on each record as well as crafting the same vocal guidelines.
The only difference is that "Get Right" gets its title right from rapper Fabolous, who had a rap song of the same name that was grafted onto Lopez's record.
Usher is furious, according to my sources. When someone asked him about the contretemps last week, the younger and more original singer responded by saying, "I hate it. And I'd better get some of the publishing [rights]."
Usher co-wrote "Ride," but didn't put it on the multi-platinum "Confessions" because, he told friends, "I couldn't get it right."
His fans would disagree. "Ride" is a popular download, even if the horn solo is screechy and flat.
"Get Right" does not mark the first time Lopez has appropriated other people's material for her own use.
When she remade "I'm Real" with rapper Ja Rule, it was due to an inside tip from Tommy Mottola that Mariah Carey had done something similar with the same music sample. The "steal" upended Carey's plans for her ill-fated "Glitter" soundtrack.
In the meantime, J-Lo is struggling to make deadlines at Sony Music for her new album, "Rebirth," which is due in March and will contain "Get Right."
She recently rejected footage that was shot for a DVD promo video documentary after her new-ish manager, film producer Simon Fields, OK'd it without her permission.
My sources within Sony say that Lopez spent the better part of yesterday re-shooting the video to be more flattering and less revealing of her "limited" vocal range and disarming working style.
More importantly, the word from J-Lo's world is that new (and third) husband, Marc Anthony — that's third not counting ex-boyfriends Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Ben Affleck — is calling the shots in a big way.
Anthony, said to still be in the thrall of the couple's low-key but sudden wedding, is helping shape the sound of "Rebirth" with producer Cory Rooney.
The couple may have a duet on the album, and Anthony has written at least one of the songs. Unlike previous Lopez consorts, however, Anthony's influence has been welcomed by those around the famously caboosed singer.
And what of Lopez's fading movie career? I'm told that she, Jane Fonda and the rest of the cast of "Monster-in-Law," which is due for a May release from New Line, are returning imminently to fix a couple of scenes before the picture is "locked."
Lopez is said to be worlds better in this movie than in previous outings, mostly thanks to so many scenes with the legendary and acclaimed Fonda.
Sarah Ferguson, former princess but still-beloved member of the British royal family, has done all right for herself.
After public announcements that she was broke, Fergie went to work and made money hand over fist. She's been the successful spokesperson for Weight Watchers and has published children's books.
Now Fergie tells me that she's sold an unwritten novel to a book house and a movie company simultaneously.
"Hart Moor," a work of historical fiction, will be published by John Sargent at St. Martin's Press and then turned into a movie by Graham King and Rick Schwartz's IEG, the same company that made "The Aviator." Not bad, I say.
Fergie has just spent a week or so here in la-la land sewing up her deals and making new ones. Now she heads to New York for a charity ball on Feb. 1, which she will co-host with first lady Laura Bush.
And just in case you're still interested, Fergie tells me that she's sure what's happened to Prince Harry in the last couple of weeks will be a wake-up call of sorts, something to mature him into the kind of boy that would have made his mother proud. I agree, and certainly it can't get any worse, can it?
And as for Jamie Foxx? Some news on the probable Oscar winner tomorrow, involving career plans that should make him the star of 2005, 2006, etc.