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THE X FACTOR: The person with the most thankless job in entertainment is no longer Ben Affleck's publicist.

It's Kevin Spirtas, the standby for Hugh Jackman in Broadway's The Boy From Oz.

If Jackman ever gets laryngitis, is hit by a taxi or stuck in a security sweep the next time J.Lo and Ben visit the mayor's office, Spirtas will step in.

"If that ever happens, people will groan and head to the box office for a refund," Spirtas tells TV Guide.

Under normal circumstances, Spirtas' job would be difficult: Actor whose biggest credit is six-plus years playing scheming Dr. Craig Wesley on the soap opera Days of Our Lives gets paid to replace world-famous studmuffin movie star.

But the difficulty tripled the day the reviews came out for Oz, a musical about flamboyant singer-songwriter Peter Allen, who died of AIDS in 1992. The major East Coast critics universally declared Jackman the next great Broadway musical superstar. They also almost universally declared, "The show stinks."

Spirtas, portrayed during his soap time as a level-headed, down-to-earth sort, sounds like he has the right attitude for any eventual substitution: "All I can do is play the show for the true theatergoers, the ones who want to see the standby come through and win 'em over. I'm up for the challenge."

THIS ONE'S NOT FOR THE GIRLS: Male nominees outnumbered women 5-to-1 at Wednesday's Country Music Association awards. Male artists have been dominating the country charts for months. So we're not surprised that country station WYUU-FM 92.5 is now proudly declaring itself the home of "kick-a_ country," no doubt an effort to reduce its number of female listeners to those blinded by their obsession with Kenny Chesney's Keith-Partridge-puka- shell-necklace-heartthrob persona.

BORED WITH THE ITEMS IN THE NEIMAN MARCUS CHRISTMAS CATALOG? And really, who needs a luxury ice-fishing house when you can have the Spam Museum? A miniature Spam Museum, but a Spam Museum nonetheless.

For holiday gift-giving, the Spam people have introduced a mini ceramic copy of the 2-year-old museum, which is in Austin, Minn., the home of Spammaker Hormel.

"The Spam Museum pays homage to the 66-year history and unprecedented excitement Spam has inspired for generations of people worldwide," a Hormel news release says.

You can feel the unprecedented excitement by ordering a Spam Museum at www.spamgift.com or by calling toll-free 1-800-588-7726 and pressing 4.

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