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ISSUE 116 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/27/2002

TV series highlights newfound talent

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 27, 2002

It was only a few months ago that a cocktail waitress from Texas and a door-to-door salesman from Pennsylvania were virtually unknown to the public eye. Now, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini are basically household names, and one of them has a million-dollar contract. This is definitely a step up from $2.13 per hour plus tips! How did these everyday Americans transform from struggling artists to pop icons? None other than "American Idol," Foxs reality show that aired from May to September. In short, 10,000 young adults auditioned before three judges. 10,000 people were then narrowed down to 10 by the judges. The ten chosen contestants performed on the show, where the American public determined who was "voted off" by phoning in. The three judges became cornerstones of the show. Paula Abdul, 80s diva, was known for her positive feedback and encouragement, while label powerhouse Simon Cowell became infamous for his sharp criticism and rude remarks. Music industry expert Randy Jackson served as a happy medium for the two; he usually provided more objective comments and helpful advice for the contestants. Some of the 10,000 hopefuls faced brutal rejection. Cowell went as far to tell some of them to sue their singing coaches or never, ever sing again. Unfortunately for the singers, several of these terrible auditions were aired to the public during the first and final episodes of "American Idol." A countdown of the Top 5 Bad Auditions was even aired, surely leading to embarrassment for some. "American Idol" may seem like a show marketing to an audience of adolescent girls, but the numbers of voters alone suggest that people of all ages enjoyed the series. According to the magazine "US, over 100 million people called toll-free to vote for their favorite on the final night. Fans ranged from young children to senior citizens and the Kodak Theatre was packed every night of the show with fans who came from all over the United States to see the contestants close-up. Fans also came from all over the United States to see the contestants close-up; guests from Hollywood included celebrities Tori Spelling and Ray Romano. The final show may have been held on Sept. 4, but the shows success is far from over. A whole line of "American Idol" merchandise is available for purchase (including keychains, t-shirts, CD cases, visors, and more), and the show will be converted to DVD and video form soon. As far as music is concerned, Clarksons album, a group album, and concert tours are in line for this fall. Clarksons single, "A Moment Like This" was released on Sept. 17. Already it is climbing the charts and is topping radio requests. "Its refreshing to see someone win who isnt another Britney Spears," explained senior Allison Westrum. Clarkson, who was forced to postpone college due to lack of financial resources, was voted most talented in her high school yearbook and known by her friends as down to earth. A full album by Clarkson, untitled as of yet, will be released Nov. 26. Not a Kelly fan? If you spent your time speed-dialing for Guarini or Tamyra Gray instead, youre still in luck. The top ten finalists are releasing a composite album on Oct. 1 that is already available for presale online. Also, the finalists will be performing on the "Idols Live!" tour, which comes to the Xcel Energy Center Nov. 10. Will "American Idol" lead to success for more than just Clarkson? Although the finalists are unable to record under another label for a few months, by contract, some sources say that Gray has already signed under Simon Cowells record label. It was apparent that throughout the shows unfoldings, Gray, whose voice has been compared to the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, quickly became a favorite of Cowells. With the increasing popularity of the show, it comes as no surprise that plans for "American Idol 2" are already in the mix. Interested in auditioning? Check out in the near future to find the audition location nearest you.

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