Slimmed-down jazz legend PATTI AUSTIN will be showing off her new look at the post-Oscars Governor's Ball.

The singer, who recently shed half her 300 pound (136 kilograms) bulk - thanks to stomach stapling surgery, will celebrate her new trim image by performing for Hollywood's elite on 5 March (06).

Austin admits she had to do something drastic about her weight after being told it would kill her. The final straw came when medics refused to operate on a torn tendon in her knee in 2004 because she was "morbidly obese".

She says, "I was devastated. Then I saw a doctor at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, who said I'd need a wheelchair if I didn't have my stomach stapled."

Austin underwent the $30,000 ($17,600) surgery in September, 2004 and now feels better than ever: "I even sing better because I can access my diaphragm and sustain notes with a fuller tone."