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When Oprah Winfrey laid her magic hands upon the supple shoulders of Corinne Bailey Rae, it was a done deal. Bailey Rae made an appearance on the January 16th episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the affable British chanteuse clearly won over Ms. Winfrey and her audience. And have a look-see at the Billboard 200: Bailey Rae’s self-titled album has leapt 28 places to No. 4 on this week’s chart. Oprah says that she became a fan of Corinne at her best friend Gayle King‘s request. From Oprah’s website:

If you’re looking for a new artist to add to your iPod playlist, look no further than Corinne Bailey Rae. She’s a soulful British songbird whose debut album received three Grammy nominations. Oprah says Gayle asked her for months to add Corinne to her iPod, and now she knows why. “After you hear her today, you’re going to be [downloading] it, too,” Oprah says.

Certainly, Oprah has a viewership of affluent women who take her recommendations very seriously, so this is a huge endorsement that could solidify Corinne’s American career. And her mellow, Norah Jones-like sound is safe, respectful, and soothing–perfect for people who appreciate aural wallpaper while they order their tall caramel macchiatos at Starbucks. How do we sneak some Amy Winehouse on Gayle’s iPod?

You most definitely won’t see Ms. Bailey Rae engaging in sex acts with Colin Farrell in some grimy viral video. Mr. Farrell has another British songbird in mind. The Mirror reports that Farrell has hooked up with Nicola Ward, the former Girls Aloud hopeful who infamously walked out on the UK talent search, Popstars, when she refused to sign a long-term contract. The 3 am girls spoke to Ward about her new relationship:

Nicola, 24, tells us: “I’ve been out with Colin a couple of times, but it’s early days so I don’t want to say too much. We met randomly in Kilburn when he was filming and he took my number. I didn’t think in a million years he’d get in touch, so I was really surprised when he called. I enjoy his company and, yes, he’s a real gent.”

I suppose Farrell is a nice consolation prize for someone who missed the boat on one of the biggest girl bands in the world.

In other news:

  • Could Jade Goody actually be blocked from traveling to India, or is The Sun full of feces?

  • Has Jade lost a book deal because of all of this?(Daily Mail)
  • A British Indian woman speaks out about Jade–and wonders if the situation in the house was manipulated. Channel 4’s head of programming, Kevin Lygo, adds fuel to the fire for cynics. Quoted in Broadcast magazine, he says, “Let’s put this in perspective. This was in danger of being the most boring BB that we’d had in many years – maybe ever – and we were thinking ‘oh dear – what can we do?’ And then suddenly, from the cooking of a chicken going wrong, this argument erupted which was taken on by the media and erupted into this extraordinary story.”
  • Sir Derek Jacobi will join Doctor Who for its third series.(BBC)
  • One of John Lennon‘s favorite travel destinations – Durness, Scotland – has become a tourist enclave.(BBC)
  • Guillemots talk about a few everyday objects (baked beans, Sun Ra, Kasabian) in a Guardian video interview.
  • Björk is doing Glastonbury! It’s not like I’m going or anything, but it’s exciting nonetheless.(Guardian)
  • Armond White of the New York Press says filmgoers should rediscover Becket, the 1964 film starring Sir Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole as Thomas à Becket and King Henry II. “Reseeing Becket (Film Forum [a NYC cinema] presents its first theatrical engagement in almost 40 years) in light of the recent so-called breakthrough for gay film subjects makes one realize how advanced mainstream filmmaking used to be. O’Toole’s Henry and Burton’s Becket profess their regard for each other with bold openness and extravagant anguish. Precisely because this affection remains Becket‘s subtext, it is never treated as a self-congratulatory end in itself. O’Toole and Burton are artistically free to fully vent their characters’ emotions.”
  • Telegraph columnist and former 3 am girl, Bryony Gordon, admits a crush on Mr. O’Toole and other assorted mature men.
  • When Natasha met Mika: The Mirror and The Sun both have coverage of this year’s first pop-star meet-cute.
  • UK’s second-in-command, Gordon Brown, is No. 98 among the “Sexiest Men in the World.” Here’s the list in full. The boys of Take That are No. 1.
  • Gordon Ramsay‘s Michelin rating has risen to 10 stars, making him the second most-honored chef in the world behind Alain Ducasse.
  • Alan Davies, the curly-haired star of Jonathan Creek and Bob & Rose, reveals his “suburban shame.” (Daily Mail)
  • If last year’s brilliant anti-Madonna rant wasn’t enough, check out what Lily Allen is saying now about old Madge.(Gigwise)
  • Amy Winehouse and Jamie Cullum‘s impromptu performance got them kicked out of a swanky London hotel ballroom.(The Sun)
  • While shooting Dancing on Ice, Dog Eat Dog hostUlrika Jonsson injured her spine after attempting a back flip.(The Sun)
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.