Whitney Houston sang live (to a a track) last night on “Dancing with The Stars,” which is a pretty big deal for any artist these days. Good for her! If there’s one thing to be thankful for this week in the Celeb World, it’s Whitney’s comeback. She also got a surprise: cousin Dionne Warwick was waiting for her at the side of the stage as Whitney finished “Million Dollar Bill.” Whitney is working hard out there at age 46, showing girls half her age how it’s done. And she looks great…Now all she needs are some Grammy nominations…

James Franco’s “General Hospital” experiment is one weird ride. On yesterday’s episode he uttered what had to have been the funniest bit of dialogue in the show’s history. After using the word “dialectic” in a speech about art, he then told the girl he was trying to seduce about a lost love. This was the gist of it: “She was murdered by a man she didn’t even know. He used a number 4 steak knife,’ and then was so despondent that he ran to an overpass and threw himself off.’ Pieces of his body were scattered all over. To this day, I can’t eat meat.”

What is really going on here? For one thing, later someone said the word “visceral” in another speech. “Dialectic” and “visceral” are words that have never been spoken on a soap opera. So, who knows? All of it has to do with a real life artist named (John) Carter with whom Franco has collaborated on a number of projects. Carter, as he’s known, is into detached body parts and prosthetics.’

James is playing his real life friend as a murderous one-named artist called Franco who is part Carter and part Banksy, the real life mysterious British graffiti artist. It’s all very “meta” and very, very unlike a show in which the central character is a mobster doing a bad Michael Corleone imitation. (You can’t make these things up.) Will this trend catch on? If so, soon we’ll have Leonardo Di Caprio playing an environmentalist on “As the World Turns” and Angelina Jolie as an adoption expert on “One Life to Live.” Crazier things have happened…

…By the way: the song used in the “Precious” commercials is not in the movie. But it works well in the trailer. “Happy” is an old fashioned hot single, taken from Leona Lewis’s new album, “Echo,” which was just released. J Records’ Larry Jackson has put together a strong collection of potential hits for Lewis, and she sings the heck out of them.’Lewis, of course, is part of Clive Davis’s fourth quarter attack on the charts that includes Whitney, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, and Alicia Keys. Really, Clive started Arista Records thirty five years ago. Unbelievable…

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