Maybe you read some articles on Friday or over the weekend suggesting Barbra Streisand is planning a tour this fall. No one confirmed it. But I will, right here. La Barbra has agreed to do the thing she likes least: appear in public, singing. And it's been confirmed that her opening act will be Simon Cowell's big discovery, Il Divo.
In February, Il Divo — a quartet of good-looking male faux opera singers who think Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" is an aria — debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. I believe it was P.T. Barnum, Simon's mentor, who coined the phrase "There’s a sucker born every minute." It doesn't hurt that Il Divo is on Columbia Records, Streisand's label.
But the search for an opening act wasn't easy. As Page Six reported, a number of them turned down the offer. The two Streisand wanted most were her famous duet partners — Barry Gibb or Neil Diamond.
But her album with Gibb, "Guilty Pleasures," was a disappointment, and that wiped out that plan. Diamond was approached, but I’m told no one could figure out how to bill him. Diamond is no one's opening act, and there was no way to show them as equals.
It's too bad for their fans. When Paul Simon and Bob Dylan toured together, they alternated the order of the show every night.
Streisand is not doing this tour for her art, no matter what anyone says. She's in it for the money — and there's nothing wrong with that. The top tickets will go for between $1,000 and $1,500. The lowest price will probably be $350 in the major cities, $250 in secondary markets.
Of course, everyone assumes Streisand is rich, rich, rich. But the truth is, artists were not paid in her heyday what they get now. Streisand did not write most of her hits, so she doesn’t have the publishing royalties. And her recent record sales have been very minor — not like her glory days with "Evergreen" and "The Way We Were."
To maintain her amazing lifestyle, support a son and husband, Streisand must look for ways to create income. Michael Jackson could learn a thing or two from her.
I'm also told Streisand will most likely hit Europe when she's finished in the United States, doing select dates that are the most prestigious and lucrative. Meanwhile, Il Divo is on tour until July 23, when they finish up six months on the road in the United Kingdom.
Don't shoot the messenger: I loved each of Warner Brothers' two current releases and said so when they were released. But this weekend, "V for Vendetta" and "16 Blocks" took the biggest hits from last weekend, falling more than 50 percent at the box office.
It's a head-scratcher. These are two films that got good reviews and should be no-brainers. But the box office is still anemic, and they are the victims.
On the other hand, Spike Lee had his all-time best opening weekend with "Inside Man." The heist thriller took in almost $29 million, and everyone seems to like it even if they can’t quite figure it all out.
Spike has made an incredibly stylish adventure, with strong performances by Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Christopher Plummer. Jodie Foster, looking sensational, is an added bonus.
Meanwhile, the two big Oscar contenders did nothing on the big screen. "Brokeback Mountain," ending its theatrical run with an April 4 DVD release, is coming to a close at $83 million. This is an outstanding feat considering the film cost $14 million, plus maybe $10 more in marketing. And it’s about gay cowboys!
I hear that all the sheep have been sent iPods from producer James Schamus, and the ranch house in Wyoming is now a converted $500-a-night bed and breakfast (just kidding!)
"Crash," which beat "Brokeback" and got the Oscar, has been out on DVD for months. This may account for nearly no one going to see its re-release to 152 screens. "Crash" grossed about $160,000 over the weekend. The moral of this story is a two-parter: a) "Walk the Line" got robbed; and b) it's time to let 2005 go.
Teddy Geiger is 17. He’s a good-looking teenager who sings like an adult rocker and can play lots of instruments. He was also featured on the short-lived sitcom "Love Monkey." I know, I hate him, too. What can you say?
Sony/Columbia gave him a launch show on Friday night at Coda on East 34th St. in Manhattan for his debut album, "Underage Thinking." The place was packed with pre-pubescent girls who knew all his lyrics and sang along with him.
Luckily, none of them, including the star, can drink yet or do anything else — legally — that could get them in trouble. It's an autograph crowd that is grooving on the album’s pun-ish title.
I would say the long line from Elvis and Fabian to Justin Timberlake and Nick Lachey is unbroken with Geiger, except for this: He's actually a musician. Grrr, as Mike Straka would say.
Teddy, I am told by everyone connected to him, has been writing songs since he was 6. They are all original, nothing borrowed or sampled. He’s a phenom, a prodigy and money in the bank and Elliott Smith’s cute, younger, peppier brother.
What about school? He’s already graduated, thanks. Parents? Didn’t meet them, but the father’s supposed to be a physicist.
Teddy is not emancipated, either. He’s still living with them and they’re collecting the money properly, etc. So far, no sign of drug abuse or mental illness. It’s enough to make you puke.
Teddy's first single is called "For You I Will (Confidence)," and it's an extremely — I hate to say it — confident anthem. What makes his often banal lyrics — I mean, he's 17 — work is that they're sung with his unusually graveled voice. He's no Shaun Cassidy. If no one told you, you'd think Geiger was 27 from his sound. Again, money in the bank.
The lyrics to "For You I Will" address his plans to "cannonball into the water" for the girl in the song. This must be a trend in pop music circa 2006. James Blunt's hit video culminates in his jumping into the sea over a girl. I think that’s why they're both instant hits and new romantic heartthrobs.
No chance of them emulating Elvis Costello when he started out at 21 and told Alison "sometimes I just wish I could stop you from talking." No one’s going to put out the big light with these guys.
'Sopranos': Calling Dr. Plepler
Episode 3 of the new "Sopranos" season was a winner. Highlights: two rare scenes between Edie Falco and Lorraine Bracco; the surprise return of Steve Buscemi, whose character is dead, in Tony's extended dream; and the paging of "Dr. Plepler." Richard Plepler is the popular senior VP of corporate PR at HBO, the man who makes it all happen. Nice.
Complaints: no Junior or Johnny Sack. And David Chase continues to bash the press, calling the reporters trying to cover Tony's illness all sorts of names (and the ones on the show are from A&E, not exactly the National Enquirer). David, we’ve always been so nice to you!
And why the name Kevin Finnerty for Tony's coma-state alter ego? Is he based on a real-life Minnesota prosecutor? A Forbes 500 executive? A 20-year-old who died in his sleep in 1982 in Atlantic Beach, Long Island? Who knows?
All I know is, last week no one mentioned it, but the Muzak playing when Tony goes to the phone is Badfinger's classic "Day After Day." The only part we heard was the first couple of lines. The song begins, "I remember/Finding out about you."