News for 1/30/2007

Diana Ross to mentor on 'American Idol'

NEW YORK (AP) Diana Ross says she's a busy woman these days. So busy, in fact, that she hasn't had time to see the hit film Dreamgirls, which is loosely based on her life as a Motown starlet.

The 62-year-old singer told CBS Late Show host David Letterman on Tuesday that she is going to be a mentor on Fox's American Idol and is planning a world tour in March to promote her new album, I Love You.

Ross said she didn't see the musical version of Dreamgirls, either.

When Letterman asked her whether she was curious about the film, Ross joked: "Yes, I've heard a lot about it. I'm going to see it with my lawyers."

The film, which won a Golden Globe on Monday for best musical or comedy, tells the story of a Motown trio similar to the Supremes and their rise to fame. Eddie Murphy also won for best supporting actor, and newcomer Jennifer Hudson, a former American Idol contestant, won for best supporting actress.

Ross went on to say that she's heard there is a lot of her image and likeness in the movie. Beyonce Knowles' character, Deena Jones, looks like Ross during her early solo days.

"What I would like to do is to be able to see it," Ross said. "I like to inspire the talent that it is out there today."

Diana Ross Talks About 'Dreamgirls,' Secrets to Staying Power

Legendary Singer-Actress Says She's Happy She Influenced 'Dreamgirls' Actors

First with the Supremes and then as a solo artist, Diana Ross is one of those rare entertainers who has shaped American pop culture.

With her string of No. 1 hits, confidence and cutting-edge fashion sense, Diana Ross and the Supremes became the biggest and most successful American female group of the 1960s.

Ross then stepped into the limelight on her own with a string of smash solo hits, not to mention her triumphs on the silver screen. With her searing portrayal of Billie Holiday in "Lady Sings the Blues," Ross garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

'Excited' for 'Dreamgirls' Cast

Now Ross is back in the headlines, though indirectly, thanks to the hit movie "Dreamgirls," which has been called a thinly veiled history of the Supremes.

One of the film's stars, Beyonce, acknowledged she had a shrine to Ross in her trailer, and watched her movies to prepare for the role. Ross said to ABC News' Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America" that she has not seen the movie yet.

"Maybe I should go see it with my lawyer," she joked.

Ross has refused to comment on the movie, but today she said she was "happy" for the cast.

"I've only heard what everybody else says, that it's very much my image and likeness," she said. "So if I've had an opportunity to influence any of these beautiful, talented young people, then I'm excited about it."

Secrets to Longevity in Show Business

"I Love You," Ross's first studio album in seven years, comes out today. The album is a collection of classic love songs, including "Lovely Day," "More Today Than Yesterday" and "The Look of Love."

Pointing out that many of her songs have been about love, Ross said, "I think now, especially now, it's time to say, 'I love you.'"

The 62-year-old also joked about being "the aging diva," saying that some of her makeup tricks have changed over the years.

Judging from the audience reaction during her "Good Morning America" concert, the singer's star power hasn't dimmed a bit.

Looking back on her career, Ross said she was thankful for the mentors she had who helped her along the way. She said young artists should look beyond image-making and focus on longevity.

"Well, I just think it's really important that this industry, and especially for the females, but all of us -- it's show business," Ross said. "There's a business here, and it's not just about the image. It's about what goes on inside of you. It's the interior as well as the exterior."