Star power ... Nicki Minaj.
With drama-charged wig-wearer Nicki Minaj headlining the ARIA Awards, organisers hope her appearance
alongside Grammy-winner Taylor Swift will draw an international audience.
Minaj will present an award at the ceremony.
Speaking exclusively to Fairfax, ARIA chief Dan Rosen says the likes of Minaj, who is involved in a headline-grabbing feud at the moment with fellow judge Mariah Carey on American Idol, and tours here at the end of November, will add to the global appeal of the ceremony, which is going back to its roots.
Deborra Lee-Furness ... "It's disappointing but I live in the moment."
At the hallowed music turf of the Sydney Entertainment Centre, local talents Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, Kimbra, the Jezebels, the Temper Trap and Missy Higgins will also headline at the November 29 ceremony, dominated by home-grown talent. It will air on Nine's digital channel, GO!
''It's predominantly about celebrating the Aussie music industry but bringing an international guest is great,'' Rosen says. ''They want to be here to help us celebrate - hopefully more people overseas will take note of the ARIAs and take note of our artists and take note of them overseas.''
Minaj is putting together her coming album reissue, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up, and has a huge Gaga-esque fanbase. Chart-topper Swift is flying in for the show.
Dream dates ... Ronan Keating hopes to rope in Daniel Craig, Chris Martin and Elton John for charity.
Rosen says rather than being the massive party it has become famous for in the past few years - who can forget 2010's disastrous ramshackle affair on the Opera House forecourt, and previous booze-filled bashes at Homebush - this year's event will go back to basics.
''It's been a challenging last decade for the music industry - I call it like a death and we have gone through the five stages of grieving,'' Rosen says.
''From anger and denial, and we are now coming out the other side and Aussies are really passionate about their music and their favourite artists.
''It's been a strong year from Aussie music and we've had more number ones than we've had in a long time, this is a reflection of that.''
Yothu Yindi will be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in a spine-tingling moment, with Paul Kelly presenting.
''It's super exciting,'' Rosen says. ''It was one of those great moments where they [Yothu Yindi] were a band that transcended music and became a symbol of something bigger than just their music, it's amazing to think it's been 20 years since Treaty won song of the year - and the band getting back together and being inducted … it's gonna be a magic moment.
''[Founder] Mandawuy [Yunupingu] has been quite ill on dialysis, so it has really lifted his spirits knowing the industry is behind him.''
But it won't be all envelopes and acceptance speeches. Rosen promises a huge after-party at The Star nightclub for punters and celebs.
Deb's kid crusade
For someone about to face homelessness, Deborra-Lee Furness is rather jovial.
The actor, mother, cook (she's whipping up lamb shanks for the in-laws as we chat) and activist wife of Hugh Jackman admitted to S hurricane Sandy had left the Oscar-winning actor and his family temporarily homeless, as their New York apartment was obliterated in the recent storm.
''In two weeks when we go back to New York we are homeless,'' she says. ''We'll have to find somewhere temporary with two kids and a dog in a hotel. The basement has no power, no electricity, heating, the elevator, everything! It will all have to be fixed … before we move back in. It's disappointing but I live in the moment.''
The couple's unconventional life means Furness, who launches National Adoption Awareness Week this week with the Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner-helmed flick The Odd Life of Timothy Green at the Entertainment Quarter on Monday, takes it in her stride.
''I saw the film in New York about a couple who want a child and thought it was perfect to kick off this year's Adoption Awareness Week,'' she said of the A-list event on Monday night, which has a stellar support group attending, including Sarah and Lachlan Murdoch, and Glenn and Sara Leonardi-McGrath- although not the PM.
''We're making progress - we got an RSVP 'no' from Julia Gillard this year - so at least … she acknowledged us for the first time!
''Heloise Pratt [Waislitz] has very generously backed us and will be giving us a contribution on the night and we have made huge strides in forming relationships - the more I speak to people the more I hear of injustices and frustrations, and the government is finally hearing us.''
Furness wants to publicise the low Australian adoption rates of children from overseas, and how difficult it is to adopt in Australia. She would also like to help alleviate the need for secrecy and the shame felt by some people who have been adopted, and parents who have put children up for adoption.
''The Ethiopia [adoption] program just got stopped after 20 years and some people have been waiting eight years for a child,'' she says. ''The injustice. We understand there needs to be accountability but surely there is a way to dot all the 'i's' and rectify the situation in the world where there is a huge global orphan crisis. It just makes me mad.''
Furness, whose two children are adopted, says she is upfront with them about it. ''Oscar asked me when he saw [the film] Stuart Little. They are conversations that need to be had,'' she says. ''There are so many different ways of creating a family.''
But for now, apart from rebuilding their home, Furness is already planning her next trip back to Australia in 2013 to work on a film about bullying based on the children's book by Susanne Gervay, I Am Jack.
Ronan sings out
Quick-talking Ronan Keating's Irish lilt suddenly stops. His blue eyes - albeit glassy after a boozy Derby Day trackside at Flemington - are contemplative: ''Yeah - it's f---ed up, isn't it?''
The X Factor judge is emotional. He's talking about his beloved ''ma'' and how sad he is that she never met her grandkids.
The dad of three, who just spent two weeks with his children, Jack, 14, Missy, 11, and Ali, 7, in Sydney, told S: ''No, she didn't get to meet Jack. He was born 1999 and ma passed away in '98 - yeah, it's f---ed up, isn't it? That's the hard part. It's horrible.''
Keating will launch the Emeralds & Ivy Ball in Sydney on Friday night. Now in its seventh year in London, it's a cause close to his heart. The singer, who says he would love to live here if it weren't for his kids, has been hitting the phones himself.
He instigated the initial call to the Cancer Council NSW and is now enlisting his celebrity pals to help raise money for the passion project in memory of his late ma, who died of breast cancer.
''I'm hoping to get in one big name - Elton and Chris Martin are in the city, so if I can get them to come in and sing a tune, that would be great. I haven't stopped calling people - it's embarrassing; you have to lose all your shame about that when asking, although it's amazing how many turn you down. Daniel Craig is here, too, so I'm hoping to get him along as well.''
And while Keating has found love again with one-time X Factor producer Storm Uechtritz after 13 years of marriage - and has a coming tour here in March as well as his film, Goddess, making its premiere - it's obvious his priorities lie with the kids.
''I would move here in a heartbeat. But it's so hard to be apart from my kids. It's tough - the kids are in Europe so I've gotta be near them. But I love it here. My ideal would be half and half.''
And his singing genes have been passed on. ''The kids and I sing in the car; there is this Irish singing family called the Kellys and we pretend we are them!''
Keating's daughter Missy has also been filming The Sea alongside Rufus Sewell. ''It's something she instigated, so we're supportive.''
But it's not all singalongs, red carpets and koalas. Even the Keating kids don't get holidays without school work thrown in: ''I made them have tutoring the second week they were here.''
Aussie gals fit to spill the juicy info
A car trip to Palm Springs and a quest for coconuts became the inspiration for a joint web enterprise between Aussie actors Teresa Palmer and Phoebe Tonkin.
The genetically blessed duo found themselves on a spontaneous road trip to the Coachella music festival when they discovered they shared a passion for healthy eating and living.
Tonkin, who swears she developed a taste for carob over chocolate and soy over dairy (really?), tells this month's InStyle magazine: ''At the festival, we were the weird ones walking around trying to find fresh coconuts! I knew I'd found a kindred spirit.''
The pair have since launched website yourzenlife.com, an interactive portal with a mix of advice and recipes. Sounds a little like Gwynnie's Goop - but even more annoying.
''We have access to great nutritionists and experts; we want to [pass on] the knowledge we have,'' Palmer, 26, says to the mag, on sale tomorrow.
Often found hiking, doing pilates or juicing awful-looking concoctions, both women look up to entrepeneur-slash-model-slash-sunburn victim Elle Macpherson: ''I love that Elle Macpherson can be in a boardroom meeting then go for a surf,'' Tonkin says. ''There's no reason you can't be a hippie at heart and a smart businesswoman, too!''
Guess it beats waiting tables for a living in between acting gigs.
Wearing a sunshine-yellow Diane von Furstenberg dress, Meredith McMaster hat and a quarter of a million dollars worth of Shiels yellow diamonds, Lisa Wilkinson stood out in the Lexus marquee on Cup day. And the person the Today host was excited to meet was Rose Byrne. ''Why would I stand next to her?'' she laughed when S mentioned we had a snap of the duo. ''She's the most exquisite actress and does the best red carpets in the world. She's absolutely delightful and I expected Hollywood but she's not at all - she's a real treat.''
Despite rumours he had signed with Jenny Craig, an incredibly slimmed-down Jack Thompson has revealed to S that his weight loss is through dropping carbs for three months and now eating more sensibly. He also hosed down whispers he was shaping up to pose for the 20th-anniversary issue of Cleo. His centrefold spread in the first issue of the magazine, documented in the ABC mini-series Paper Giants, is the stuff of legend. ''I don't think people will really want to see me pose nude on a lounge again, do you?'' he laughed when asked if he was shaping up to get his kit off. Maybe women would. Just for nostalgia's sake, Jack.
Move over, Charles and Camilla, there's a new royal in town. But protocol means his arrival hasn't been officially announced yet (we think that's so he doesn't steal their thunder). The heir to the Belgian throne, Prince Philippe, is arriving as part of a trade mission to Australia. An invitation to a reception by Belgium-owned children's film and television animation studio Flying Bark, with the prince in attendance, made its way to S's inbox last week. Philippe is the eldest child of King Albert II and Queen Paola. We're not sure if Philippe's wife, Princess Mathilde, will also be here.
The love affair with the lens still works between photographers and models. S hears New York-based Australian model Alexandra Agoston is loved up with celebrity photographer Chris Colls. Colls, who worked with Miranda Kerr on her book, recently split with his wife, Fearne. The couple listed their house for sale - Harry Seidler's Gissing House at Wahroonga - in September. They bought the stunning property from restaurateur Bill Granger in 2008.
Speaking of spring romances, S also hears glamorous nutritionist and the author of Losing the Last 5kg, Susie Burrell, is seeing 2GB wildcard Chris Smith. The Balmain residence of Smith and his former wife, Ally, is scheduled for auction on December 1. The couple split after a tumultuous few years. Smith made headlines after he sexually harassed four female staff members at a 2009 Christmas party.