CRUISE CONTROL: Tom Cruise surprised Oprah Winfrey on her show Monday by going backstage and bringing out his new girlfriend, Katie Holmes, after gushing about her for most of the show. “I’ve known Tom a long time and he has always been so private. I’ve never seen him like this before – he’s gone,” Winfrey said. “You are just out everywhere, kissin’ and huggin’. And I thought, ‘What has happened to you??” Cruise, who spent much of the interview pumping his fist, jumping onto Oprah’s couch and laughing with embarrassment when discussing Holmes, enthused: “I’m in love. And it’s one of these things, you wanna be cool. That’s not me. I admired her and I thought I wanted to meet her. And I called her. … She’s an extraordinary woman.”
‘IDOL’ CHOICE: It was absolute wonderment for Carrie Underwood in the moment that flashed after American Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced her as winner on the FOX talent show’s fourth-season finale on Wednesday night. “I thought, did he just call my name?” the blonde Oklahoman, 22, said in the press room after the show. “It took me a while to realize he actually did say my name, and then I thought, oh man, I gotta sing now. There were just so many emotions going through me. I was nervous, I was scared. It was just an amazing feeling.” As for her runner up, Alabama rocker Bo Bice, 29: “I love him,” said Carrie. “He said, ‘Congratulations, kid, you deserve it,’ and I said ‘I love you.’ He’s like my big brother. We’ve gotten so close, and I can’t think of a better person to be standing up there with me.”
LEGAL LENO: Tonight Show host Jay Leno testified Tuesday as a defense witness in the Michael Jackson child-molestation trial, where for about 25 minutes he described several phone messages from the singer’s young accuser. Leno, 55, explained that the voice on the other end of the phone sounded “overly effusive,” very grown-up and “a little scripted.” But he said the boy never asked for money. Leno began receiving calls from the accuser in 2000, he testified. The late-night host, who often makes calls to children who are ill, said the boy called Leno his hero – which he thought was strange. “I’m not Batman. It seemed a little unusual,” Leno said.
OVERHEATED HILTON: Paris Hilton‘s steamy Carl’s Jr.’s commercial is too hot for the airwaves, according to one activist group. “This commercial is basically soft-core porn,” said the Parents Television Council’s research director, Melissa Caldwell. “It’s inappropriate for television.” The watchdog group said it plans to mobilize its 1 million-plus members to protest the ad, and may ask the Federal Communications Commission to declare it indecent, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 30-second spot opens with Hilton in a skimpy black bathing suit as she slaps suds on her car and water hoses shoot suggestively. Biting into a sandwich bursting with barbecue sauce and jalapeno peppers, the spot ends with Hilton’s famous tagline, “That’s hot.”
BRIDE CHARGES: “Runaway bride” Jennifer Wilbanks faces one felony and one misdemeanor charge for making false statements to police after her April 26 disappearance, which was just days before her impending wedding. Georgia’s Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday morning, and said the next step in the case will be a bench warrant issued for her arrest. After that, Wilbanks will need to turn herself in. He said the lesson of the case was, “Never lie to the police.”