Royal portrait criticized

LONDON - The Duchess of Cambridge seems to like her first official portrait, which is lucky for the artist. Many critics don't.

Paul Emsley's portrait of the former Kate Middleton shows the 31-year-old royal against a dark background, her lips pursed into a wry smile, with an ethereal light against her face and hair. Her pale complexion brings out the fine lines under the eyes, and the light adds a hint of silver to her rich brown hair.

Shortly after the portrait was unveiled Friday at the National Portrait Gallery in London, critics began grousing.

"It's a great, great opportunity missed," British Art Journal editor Robin Simon said. "The best thing you can say about it is that she doesn't actually look like that."

Simon said Kate's nose was too large and the painting drained the duchess of her sparkle. Kate "transmits a sense of joie-de-vivre," he said. "This is dead, dead, dead."

Guardian arts writer Charlotte Higgins picked up on that theme, saying the portrait had a "sepulchral gloom" about it.

Spears, X Factor split

LOS ANGELES - Britney Spears says she has made the "difficult decision" to leave Fox's "The X Factor" after one season.

The pop singer said she had an incredible time working on the singing contest but it is time to get back into the studio to record.

It was widely reported Thursday that Spears and "X Factor" were parting ways after a season in which the show's ratings fell and Spears received lackluster reviews.

Fellow panelist Antonio "L.A." Reid previously announced he was leaving, Demi Lovato is expected to rejoin the show.

Evan Rachel Wood pregnant

NEW YORK - Evan Rachel Wood, below, is going to be a mom.

Wood's publicist, Amanda Silverman, said Friday the 25-year-old actress and her husband, Jamie Bell, are expecting their first child later this year. She said Wood and Bell are "thrilled." The couple married last year.

Wood's breakout role was in 2003's gritty film "Thirteen." In 2011, she co-starred with Kate Winslet in the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce." Both roles earned her Golden Globe nominations.

Bell, 26, is best known for his starring role in "Billy Elliott." His film credits also include "King Kong" and "The Adventures of Tintin."

Italian actress Melato dies

ROME - Italian actress Mariangela Melato, below, has died in a Rome hospital at age 71. The Antea hospital said she died Friday. The LaPresse news agency said she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

One of the actress' most acclaimed film roles was the role of a spoiled socialite stranded with a sailor she had tormented in the 1974 comedy film "Swept Away." Her role was played by Madonna in a 2002 remake.

Melato had less success in Hollywood roles, which included a supporting part in "Flash Gordon" in 1980.

'Hayride' presenter dies

The man who helped introduce Elvis Presley to worldwide audiences through his work with the Louisiana Hayride - the state's version of the heralded Grand Ole Opry - has died.

Veteran radio broadcaster Frank Page died late Wednesday after a severe respiratory infection at WK Pierremont Health Center in Shreveport. He was 87.

Page retired from Shreveport's KWKH Radio in 2005 after 65 years. Presley sang "That's Alright Mama" on the Hayride in October 1954. A biography on the Graceland website says the 19-year-old Presley had a few weeks earlier recorded a song.

Travis DUI confirmed

SHERMAN, Texas - Blood alcohol results show country star Randy Travis was legally drunk when he was arrested naked following a Texas traffic accident.

Travis was arrested for DWI after the Aug. 7 single-vehicle accident. Defense attorney Larry Friedman says Travis has a great deal of respect for law enforcement and has stopped drinking alcohol.

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