The Beatles: Live on Tape

Heavyweight hit-makers set to perform at next Sunday's American Music Awards should be shaking in their boots -- combat, Ugg or otherwise. Today's music icons such as Avril Lavigne, John Mayer and Usher are about to face some tough competition on stage: the Beatles.

The Fab Four will grace the awards show with a 21/2-minute performance taped during a 1964 TV appearance in England. "We've got a wonderful old . . . tape that's been lost for 40 years that nobody's seen since it first aired featuring the Beatles singing 'She Loves You' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' " AMA producer Dick Clark told the Associated Press this week.

Perhaps Clark saw the awards show as an opportune moment to school the music industry's youngsters on what live performances used to mean in the old days. He told the AP that performers such as Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys will be "live, or live to musical track" during the broadcast from Los Angeles.

Not that he's pointing any fingers. "Ashlee [Simpson], by the way, is to be host of our 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' show," he said. "So I gotta treat her very gently." Hopefully, her "acid reflux" will do the same.

Eminem Uses His Political Voice

Precious few would say rapper Eminem is shy about voicing his opinion, but the 32-year-old Michigan resident has finally made it official. Marshall Mathers voted for the first time via absentee ballot in Tuesday's presidential election, said Clinton Township clerk Dennis Tomlinson.

Eminem joined up with hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons this election season to help encourage the nation's youth to vote. The controversial musician, who is currently causing a stir with his anti-Bush song "Mosh," told Rolling Stone magazine in a recent interview that he would vote, but had not settled on a candidate.

Simpson's Had Her Fill of Sweets

Jessica Simpson's had enough dessert. The reality TV diva was named in a lawsuit by Cosmojet, which manufactures the "Dessert" beauty line of edible boudoir products endorsed by Simpson. The California cosmetics company's lawsuit, filed on Oct. 21 in Los Angeles, claims that Dessert Beauty Inc. and Simpson, among others, still owe nearly $200,000 for the products.

Simpson, who agreed only to pout, pose and promote for the company, is hopping mad that she was named in the suit. A spokesperson for the star told the syndicated television show "Celebrity Justice" that she planned to "take legal action against Cosmojet for involving her in this matter."

Sorry, Nick. Looks like your days of "deliciously kissable belly button fragrance" are numbered.

Noted . . .

Actor Hank Azaria is not looking for a friend in actress Anne Heche, obviously. Azaria, whose latest role is playing a psychiatrist in the Showtime series "Huff," was asked by the New York Daily News whom he'd choose as a celebrity shrink if he had to have one. He bluntly responded: "I wouldn't want Anne Heche. She'd be a bad choice, because she's crazy." In the end, it was a tossup between Heche's famous ex-girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres and "no-nonsense" Gene Hackman . . . On Wednesday, actress Mira Sorvino, 37, gave birth to a baby girl at a Los Angeles hospital. Sorvino and husband, actor Chris Backus, 23, haven't released the name.

. . . And Quoted

"He would fit right in."

-- British children's fantasy writer Philip Pullman on George W. Bush's ability to play a villain in his epic trilogy "His Dark Materials," which may soon hit the silver screen in the tradition of "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter."

-- Compiled by Laura Thomas

from staff and wire reports

From left: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1964.