JACKSON STAYS BUCKLED

Madonna's recent comments about Michael Jackson needing a make-over "have gotten a little out of hand," says a source close to Jackson.

If you missed what Madonna has been saying about her new pal Michael, here's this from the May 7 issue of the national gay and lesbian biweekly The Advocate: "I keep telling Michael Jackson, 'I'd love to turn Jose and Luis [two dancers from her Blond Ambition tour] on you for a week. They'd pull you out of the shoe box you're in.' " La Ciccone also said, "I would like to completely redo [his] whole image, give him a Caesar—you know, that really short haircut—and I want to get him out of those buckly boots and all that stuff."

"She's not going to turn anybody loose on Michael, because she doesn't have that kind of influence on him," says the source. "Nobody controls Michael Jackson. Not Madonna, nor anyone else. He is in total control of himself."

Asked if there were any chance Jackson might want to respond himself, the source says, "Madonna is the talker. Michael prefers not to. And besides, he doesn't want to make a fool out of her by commenting."

Meanwhile, a duet Madonna and Michael recently recorded is expected to be on Jackson's next album, Dangerous.

ROMANCE WATCH

So there was rock star Billy Idol seated with several attractive blonds at a VIP table at Roxbury, a Hollywood night spot. That is, until actress Justine Bateman approached. Then, according to a source who was there, "Billy immediately had everyone at his table leave so Bateman could sit down."

The source reports that the pair spent the next two hours alone at the table. "When it came time to leave," says the source, "Billy had one of his friends drive his motorcycle home, and he left in Bateman's car."

Where did Idol and Bateman go, and what is the state of their relationship? Bateman's assistant says, as far as she knows, her boss is solo these days. Idol's rep didn't return calls.

YO, WANT A POLO RANCH?

Polo enthusiast Sylvester Stallone has put his White Eagle Ranch, a 23-acre spread in Hidden Valley, Calif., up for sale. The property includes a regulation polo field, 25 horse stalls and a newly built 7,500-square-foot main house. If that's not enough to lure potential buyers, Sly's neighbors include Tom Selleck, Sophia Loren and Robert Wagner.

The asking price? A mere $6.75 million, according to Realtor Mike Silverman.

So why does Sly, who told Cosmopolitan a year ago, "[Polo is] now my sport, and I can objectively say that I'm good at it," want to dump the place? According to Sly's spokesman, "Sly has given up competing in polo, but he'll continue to play on a limited basis." He will also keep raising polo ponies. Sly keeps 30 of them at his even bigger ranch in Poolesville, Md., where his 72-year-old father, Frank, now resides.