Sideshow: Singing sensation: Obama

Is President Obama poised to become the next American Idol-packaged musical sensation? Obama proved his warbling prowess when he surprised guests at a New York fund-raiser on Jan. 19 by breaking into a rendition of Al Green's classic "Let's Stay Together."

Obama has inspired a nation to take another listen: Billboard says sales of the 1971 tune increased 490 percent last week with 16,000 downloads, while a YouTube clip of Obama's performance has drawn more than 4 mil hits. The president's aides have been quick to capitalize on the news: You can download an Obama/Al Green ringtone from the Obama campaign website. And USAToday.com says a cadre of congressional Democrats have pressed a CD of their own versions, which they gave their leader on Friday.

Now American Idol czar Nigel Lythgoe wants a piece.

Nigel on Monday tweeted an invite, asking Obama "on to American Idol this Season for a duet with Al Green."

The Demi Moore files

Demi Moore, 49, has left the hospital where she was treated last week for a mysterious ailment allegedly caused by smoking some stuff. But the G.I. Jane star ain't back home. E! News says she's entered "spiritual counseling" while her ex, Bruce Willis, takes care of their kids, Tallulah and Rumer.

Rude Music: Newt Gingrich a thief

Has GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich done a bad, bad thing by rocking out at his campaign stops to the '82 single "Eye of the Tiger," which was used to such moving effect in Sylvester Stallone's Rocky III?

TMZ says Rude Music Inc., which owns the rights to Survivor's stirring American rock anthem, filed a lawsuit Monday against Gingrich, claiming the politician never secured rights to the song.

Gingrich has yet to comment.

Parenting classes for Halle, Gabriel

Halle Berry and ex-beau Gabriel Aubrey were due in court Monday in their never-ending custody battle over their 3-year-old daughter, Nahla. Halle is trying to strip Gabriel of visitation rights after Nahla's nanny claimed Gabriel pushed her in anger while Nahla was in her arms. The judge's decision has yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, RadarOnline says Children and Family Services in Los Angeles has recommended that both parents take parenting classes, while TMZ says the org also want Nahla to be put into counseling.

Miss Piggy: Fox News Is Not News

America's premier sex kitten, Miss Piggy, and her sometime boy-toy, philosopher and International Male model Kermit the Frog, have taken exception to Fox Business Channel's critique of their sizzling romantic drama/conspiracy thriller, The Muppets.

Follow the Money host Eric Bolling attacked the film in a segment titled "Are Liberals Trying to Brainwash Your Kids Against Capitalism?"

Kermit responded at a London news conference. "They were concerned about us having some prejudice against oil companies," he said. "If we had a problem with oil companies, why would we have spent the entire film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls-Royce?"

Miss Piggy added, "It's almost as laughable as accusing Fox News as, you know, being news." A number of film pundits expressed concern on Monday that Kermit's and Piggy's comments will hurt The Muppets' earnings.

SAG smiles on Tony Luke

A whoa! moment for cheesesteak-seller-cum-thespian Tony Luke.

During Sunday's telecast of the SAG Awards, Luke got a shout-out in a video segment about local-hire actors in films. (The point being, you don't have to be in New York or Hollywood to do good work.)

Luke's film credits include 10th and Wolf, Hack, and The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone, but they all pale in comparison to his quick turn as a loony, green-caped aspiring Eagles player in 2006's Invincible, the story of Vince Papale's Eagles triumph.

Even Sports Illustrated took time out to praise Luke: "Invincible is the most fun during its open-tryout sequence. The scene is stolen by a fat guy in a green cape - he is both completely ridiculous and, at the same time, a strangely plausible representation of a mid-1970s Eagles fan.

"He flies around the practice field like a superhero who doesn't know he doesn't have any superpowers. He's a complete goof. He never has any shot at making the team, but he has more fun in that one scene than [Mark] Wahlberg appears to in his entire climb up the ladder."

"It's kind of cool," said Luke, whose Twitter timeline blew up around 8:25 p.m. Sunday with well-wishes. He says he had no idea it was coming.

- Michael Klein

Today in EntBiz news

Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast of PBS's Downton Abbey for its third season as Elizabeth McGovern's ma.

Eagles rocker Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr checked out a show by a fledgling singer Sunday at the Viper Room in Lalaland, says TMZ. The young chanteur? Paul McCartney's 34-year-old boy, James McCartney.

White Stripes wunderkind Jack White will release his first solo album, Blunderbuss, on April 24.

London's The Mirror says Oprah and Barbara Walters are in a bidding war to get a TV sit-down with Pippa Middleton, 27, who is coming to America on a tour to promote her book of party-throwing tips. Pippa has been getting offers of as much as $472,000 per chat.

Live chat with 'The Avengers'

Fans of Marvel's The Avengers from sci-fi god Joss Whedon can chat! live! by! Twitter! with Whedon and cast members Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Clark Gregg (agent Phil Coulson) Tuesday from 2 to 2:30 p.m. To submit a question, check out the film's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/avengers

Child actors wanted for Princeton play

The McCarter Theatre in Princeton is looking for one boy and one girl actor between the ages of 7 and 13 for John Guare's Are You There, McPhee? which runs May 4 through June 3. Auditions will be held Feb. 13 from 4 to 8 p.m. Call 609-258-6505, or e-mail casting@mccarter.org. for an appointment.


This article contains information from Inquirer wire services. Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.