November 30, 2005 06:00 AM

He may be a rocker, but Constantine Maroulis felt more like he’d joined a boy band when he arrived in the Philippines for a recent concert tour. “I got off the plane and they were waiting for me in the airport with signs,” says the American Idol singer. “A whole fan group is over there. It’s unreal. And the shows were a sea of thousands of people. I felt like I was a Backstreet Boy.”

What was it like to be mobbed by admirers? “It can be sort of overwhelming, but I am a New Yorker – I have a pretty good sense about me,” he told us at a recent DVD signing for The Best & Worst of American Idol at the Opus theater in West Nyack, N.Y. “Some girls are more enthusiastic than others, but I’m just flattered.”

Now back in the States, Maroulis will have his first two U.S. solo shows on Dec. 21 at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, N.J., and on Dec. 22 at Atlantic City’s House of Blues. Then it’s a quiet Christmas with his “humongous” family in New Jersey, before heading to Los Angeles to shoot a pilot for his Kelsey Grammer-produced sitcom for ABC, based on the singer’s Greek family and his “crazy rock ‘n’ roll life.” And he doesn’t have plans to slow down anytime soon. “I’m a workaholic, I’ve been doing this a long time,” he says. “I’m just blessed to have these opportunities.”

Spitting Image
It was a moment of mistaken identity: When Renée Zellweger recently whipped out a credit card – bearing only the name “Zellweger” – at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, the gift shop cashier asked her, “Are you Renee’s sister? You look just like her.” With a cheeky smile, the Oscar winner, who bought almost $350 worth of Beatrix Potter books, mugs and a calendar, responded, “Actually, I’m a closer relation than that.”

The sales clerk’s confusion was understandable: Zellweger – set to play the Peter Rabbit author and illustrator in the movie Miss Potter – “looked not at all like a film star,” says a source about the actress, who wore glasses, little makeup and her hair swept into a ponytail.

Caught in the Act
Lindsay Lohan, Wilmer Valderrama, Jesse Metcalfe and Tara Reid, partying at a soiree thrown by private traveling members-only club Xenii at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood. Everyone mingled and hung out in the same area except for Reid, who had her own table. Earlier in the evening, the celebs hung out separately at L.A. club Privilege.

Jeremy Piven, dining at Japanese eatery Sushi Roku in Las Vegas. Along with a group of eight friends, the Entourage star ate from a special multi-course menu.


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