Scoop: Jackson: “I'll Die on the Stage If I Have to”

Also in the scoop: MJ said "I'd die on the stage if I have to"

Associates of Michael Jackson continue to come forward with information about the late singer's requests for prescription drugs. While law enforcement officials are trying to figure out how those medications might have contributed to his death, business associates are attempting to figure how the pop star's usage played into his life.

But even if Jackson was using drugs as heavily as some reports would indicate (official toxicology reports are due any day), it didn’t mean the singer didn't have a strong will to live.

Sources close to the singer say he was enthusiastic about life as well as the 50 concerts he had scheduled at London’s O2 arena.

“He was excited about the concerts, and he was constantly coming up with ideas, said one person involved with the “This Is It” tour from its inception. “He even said to me on several occasions, ‘I am going to give everything I have,’” said the source. “He even said, I’ll die on the stage if I have to. It gives me the chills thinking about it now.”

Abdul isn’t ruling out ‘Idol’ return
Although “American Idol” is moving ahead with plans to replace Paula Abdul, Abdul herself is not totally sold on turning her back on the show entirely.

“She didn’t want to leave — she hoped the show would give her the salary she wanted if she said she was walking,” said a source close to Abdul. “Although she’s getting other offers, she knows that ‘Idol’ is the best place for her to be. If the show can come up with a little more money, there’s a good chance she’ll return.”

Whitney Houston staging return
During last week’s live chat (read the archived transcript here), someone asked what Whitney Houston was up to these days — I had no clue.

Now I can report it sounds like she’s in fantastic vocal shape: several people who’ve heard her latest tracks confirm that she sounds as good as she ever has.

As far as performances go, she’s been approached to take over some of Michael Jackson’s dates at London’s O2 arena, but they’re not confirmed. She’s also a soft “yes” for the World Music Awards, which tape Oct. 22 in Monaco (they don’t air until later in 2009).

“It all depends on how ready she feels she is to perform,” said one of the organizers.

Weekend box office
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” was the clear winner at the box office with its $56.2 million take. Good, but that’s still a long way from recouping the film’s reported $175 million budget.

Which is all the more reason props need to go to the number-two movie of the weekend, “Julie and Julia.” Although there’s always a lot to be said for counterprogramming, the Meryl Streep-Amy Adams film took in $20.1 million, which is impressive for a film about cooking.

And when you consider “G.I. Joe” opened in roughly 4,000 theaters, and “Julie and Julia” opened in only about 2,300, “Julie and Julia” really hung in there.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.

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