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THE SMART LIST

Soon she'll be going by just Jennifer

September 28, 2008|Denise Martin

The moment has arrived to talk about: A Jennifer Hudson album. After the "American Idol" also-ran blew away audiences with her turn as powerhouse diva Effie White in the 2006 musical "Dreamgirls," (a performance that had Simon Cowell eating crow -- bonus!), Hudson's eponymous debut album finally graces us this week. Somewhere, Beyonce is getting anxious again. (Tuesday)

Bill Maher is reason enough to talk about: His documentary "Religulous." The "Real Time" host gets a hand from "Borat" director Larry Charles to mount an attack on organized religions, whether it's Scientology in the birthing room or Muslim riots over cartoons. New rule: Only Maher should attempt to infuriate and entertain at the same time. It's kind of his niche.

You could be talking about: "Dirty Sexy Money." It's true, the ABC show starring Peter Krause as the lawyer-turned-baby-sitter to the scandalous family Darling hasn't yet exploited its own potential. But there's reason to hope. Season 2 will see "dirtier, sexier" behavior, according to the series' producers, and William Baldwin -- who is doing his best work here as a politician juggling a transgendered mistress and pressure from his controlling father -- takes center stage in this week's first episode. (Wednesday)

It's been a while since we talked about: Ben Folds. Thankfully, that's about to change. It's been a long three years since "Songs for Silverman," but his new album, "Way to Normal," is on the way, and his bouncy duet with Regina Spektor, "You Don't Know Me," along with that kooky disc cover suggests "Normal" will be anything but. (Tuesday)

Great. Another reason to talk about: Michael Cera. We already have a problem, and Cera's latest, the teen-oriented romantic comedy "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," is just going to make things worse. In the film, co-starring foxy Kat Dennings, the 20-year-old plays the same kind of fragile yet lovable geek that won us over in "Arrested Development," "Superbad" and "Juno." He's even plays in a band this time around. (Friday)

-- Denise Martin

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