CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS

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Christina Aguilera said a season away from “The Voice” was the break that she needed to get reinvigorated — for herself, the show and the contestants.

Aguilera and CeeLo took time off from the show last season, and were replaced by Usher and Shakira. But they were scheduled to be back in their signature red chairs on Monday night when the hit talent competition premiered on NBC.

Speaking to a small group of reporters last week at the tony Soho House, Aguilera said the show, now in its fifth season, was taking a bit of a toll on her — coupled with her demanding life outside of it — including being a mother to 5-year-old son Max.

“As artists we need to feel like we’re appreciated and we’re understood and we’re given the breathing room, because we’re constantly in front of the camera giving, giving, giving, giving. And then I’m a mother on top of that, and it’s giving, giving, giving at home. And it’s like, when do I get something back?” she said, eliciting laughter. “You know, and I’m giving, giving to my team. And it’s just like, you know, I just — you just, you know, need to take a moment.”

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Ellen Pompeo wasn’t a fan of this year’s Emmy Awards show.

The 43-year-old actress says she “was really disappointed” by Sunday’s telecast.

“I didn’t see any diversity in the Emmys at all. The Emmys felt so dated to me,” she said in an interview Monday. “… That dance number was embarrassing. Did you see one person of color in that dance number?” “Grey’s Anatomy” is one of the more diverse shows on television, which Pompeo says is one of her favorite things about the series.

“I’m extremely proud of our very, very diverse cast which represents the world that I walk around in every day,” she said. “Grey’s Anatomy” is now in its 10th season on ABC. The new season will premiere Thursday.

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One of the imprisoned members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot declared a hunger strike on Monday to protest what she described as inhumane working conditions and threats to her life at a women’s penal colony.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is serving a two-year sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” She and two other group members were arrested in early 2012 after Pussy Riot burst into Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral and tried to perform a “punk prayer” denouncing Vladimir Putin.

In a passionate five-page letter published on the group’s blog, Tolokonnikova said inmates in her penal colony are forced to work up to 17 hours a day in a shop that makes police uniforms in order to fulfill the quotas. Brigades that fail to meet the quotas are punished by being denied food, prevented from using the bathroom or made to stand outside in the cold, she wrote.

Associated Press

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS

Actress Sheila MacRae is 92. Singer Sonny Turner of The Platters is 74. Singer Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers is 71. News anchor Lou Dobbs is 68. Actor Gordon Clapp (“NYPD Blue”) is 65. Actor Kevin Sorbo is 55. Singer Cedric Dent of Take 6 is 51. Actress-writer Nia Vardalos is 51. Drummer Marty Mitchell (Ricochet) is 44. Singer-guitarist Marty Cintron of No Mercy is 42. Guitarist Juan DeVevo of Casting Crowns is 38. Actor Kyle Sullivan (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 25.

associated press

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