IS ELMO INNOCENT, OR WAS ACCUSER PAID OFF???!!!: Good news, fans of Sesame Street's Elmo; the man who accused Elmo puppeteer KEVIN CLASH of having sex with him when he was underage has taken it back. He now says he and Clash were involved, but it was an "adult consensual relationship." His recantation did not include an apology to Clash.

It's great that Elmo isn't a statutory rapist after all, but did the guy recant his story because he was paid off? TMZ is making that insinuation, claiming attorneys for Clash met with the accuser’s attorney about an hour before the statement was made public, and that a 6-figure settlement offer was on the table at one point. We may never know since a statement from the man’s lawyer says "[The accuser] will have no further comment,” and Clash himself vows he "will not discuss it further."

Speaking of TMZ ... yesterday they released information pertaining to personal emails Clash sent his accuser from his Children's Workshop account. The site reports that in 2010, Clash sent his accuser an email in which he apologized for constantly talking about sex. In one email, sent when the accuser was already at least 18, Clash writes, “I’m sorry that I keep talking about sex with you, it’s driving me insane. I want you to know that I love you and I will never hurt you. I’m here to protect you and make sure your dreams come true.”

AND THE WORLD'S SEXIEST MAN IS...: The worst-kept secret in Hollywood is now official; People magazine named CHANNING TATUM their "Sexiest Man Alive" this morning

WHAT DID MILEY CYRUS HAVE TO DO WITH THE SELENA GOMEZ/JUSTIN BIEBER BREAKUP?!: Okay, by now we've all heard SELENA GOMEZ pulled the plug on her relationship with JUSTIN BIEBER, right? But apparently this is not the first time they’ve split up.

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Sources tell Radaronline they’ve broken up several times before, and once MILEY CYRUS was to blame. According to the gossip site, Selena was furious when Justin shot an episode of the MTV show Punk’d with Miley because, quote, “Selena is repulsed by Miley.” When Selena told Justin she was concerned about them working together, “Justin did the show anyway, which didn’t sit very well with Selena.”

On a related note ... TMZ reports that Justin and Selena met in New York Sunday night to talk about their problems, but nothing was resolved and they did not get back together.

WATCH - MADONNA FLAUNTS HER WEATHERED BEHIND FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS: MADONNA has been "stripping" for hurricane relief at recent gigs and encouraging concert-goers to throw money onstage. (PHOTO)

Meanwhile... Madonna showed up at Rockaway Beach on Monday to survey the damage left behind by Hurricane Sandy -- in a gorilla hat! (PHOTO)

END OF THE WORLD CELEBRITY SEX - WHO WOULD IT BE WITH?: If you believe the Mayan calendar, and thus were going to have sex one last time before the end of the world next month, which celebrity would you hit and quit it with?

According to a recent survey, JENNIFER ANISTON was the men's top choice. MEGAN FOX was second, and SCARLETT JOHANSSON third.  Women would let GEORGE CLOONEY get all smoove up in them, followed by CHANNING TATUM and RYAN GOSLING in third.

'DANCING' UPDATE - DOUBLE ELIMINATION NIGHT: KIRSTIE ALLEY and GILLES MARINI were both eliminated from "Dancing With the Stars" last night.


QUOTE/UNQUOTE: "I don't mind exposing my [breasts] because they're so small, people really aren't that interested." -- KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, in the new issue of "Allure" magazine.