Every once in awhile in the vast wasteland of television a show comes along which for some unfathomable reason becomes what is known as a hit. This is a look at one little aspect of such a show. The triumphant return to the Texas town of Burleson of the first winner of the first version of the Fox TV show called American Idol. The winner, Kelly Clarkson, was returning to her hometown for the World Premiere of a movie she made with the guy who didn't win, Justin Guarini, the mop-haired crooner wannabe who came in second. Their movie, described as a Frankie and Annette beach type movie, is called From Justin to Kelly, which would seem to indicate they play themselves in this film.

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Judging by parking spots offered at the exit from the freeway, locals had high hopes for a huge crowd on hand for this manufactured publicity stunt, evidenced by hapless souls who were trying to sell parking spots to American Idol fans. Trouble was, there weren't all that many fans and there was plenty of free parking in the Hollywood Theater parking lot providing a short walk to the small crowd awaiting the arrival of the 'stars'.

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It seems people had been told bringing signs might get you in to see the movie, which was promoted as a by invitation only type deal. The people with the invitations must have showed up later or were already safely secured inside. The size of the crowd seemed to indicate they could let everyone in to see the movie with no overflow problem

idol5.jpg (40486 bytes) There appeared to be about 1 security person for every 4 non-security persons. This pair of mounted police maintained crowd control from a distance. The task did not appear too daunting.

Below, we see the 3rd place person from the first American Idol. Her name is Nikki McKibbin and she lives in Grand Prairie. That's a town next to the town where Six Flags Over Texas is currently located. At the urging of an oversized female radio DJ , Nikki picked her favorite signs from the crowd and the lucky winners got tickets to see the movie. If they wanted to. Nikki was asked to sing, but she refused. Gossip was overheard alleging Nikki had been snubbed by American Idol and had not been asked to idol4.jpg (23850 bytes)appear on this year's even more popular version. The DJ Host seemed to try to goad her into saying something controversial, but was unsuccessful. The DJ could not even get Nikki to say anything bad about the infamous nasty/funny judge on the show, the acerbic Brit named Simon. Nikki asked who in the crowd thought the plus-sized loveable singer/contestant named Ruben should have won this year's American Idol. The crowd seemed to indicate with its loud cheering they felt this Ruben person was the legitimate winner. But then the crowd was asked who thought the transformed geeky nerd guy named Clay, who the nasty/funny Brit named Simon said the show had turned from ugly to handsome, should have won. There seemed to be louder cheering for the transformed geek, but on the show, the loveable plus-sized guy won the million bucks. Winners are picked by the number of people who call in. Fox TV calls it voting, but apparently a person can call in and 'vote' as often as the voter can successfully dial in. Sort of a corrupt third world nation concept of voting, or in a way, sort of like the last American presidential election. A little infosearching revealed that the process this year was highly suspect with the last two weeks of the show ending in virtual ties, first a three-way almost tie, and then an almost two-way tie for the final. Knowing that the phone lines were being overwhelmed, extra time was allotted for the pseudo 'voting' for the picking of the supposed winner. Fox TV has been asked to explain how the winner was determined....It was very entertaining listening to people gossip and complain.

idol7.jpg (27367 bytes) This event was pretty much what is known as a manufactured publicity stunt. The crowd was coached to yell for the cameras, to scream so the two incoming manufactured 'stars' would feel their love. The crowd was told they would be on National TV, on the E! Channel, Fox News, and Others. And to do themselves proud by 'acting' like crazed fans. The crazed fan act seemed to turn off and on very quickly.
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Little kids on shoulders trying to see what there was to see, but there was nothing to see. Except posters for the Justin to Kelly movie. Which most of them would not get to see. That night. Unless the powers that be, that night, decided to let the meager crowd in to view the likely meager movie.

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The last year runner up, a guy named Justin, looks like a character on the Simpsons named Side Show Bob. The guy you see in this photo is neither the guy named Justin or Side Show Bob. It is a guy in a Side Show Bob/Justin wig.

idol3.jpg (26966 bytes) A pair of women were overheard to say that this pair of women were classmates of the Burlesonite American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, who went to high school in Burleson.
idol6.jpg (28339 bytes) Which would explain why the Burleson cheerleaders did 'Kelly' cheers. This swivel-hipping dance/cheer was launched after the crowd was informed the limo carrying their celebrated passengers was only a couple minutes away. The cheerleaders were supposed to whip the crowd into a frenzy of enthusiasm. It seemed to have mixed results. Mostly detached amusement.
idol8.jpg (33884 bytes) And then the limo appeared. Little kids ran towards it.
idol9.jpg (27062 bytes) Here we see the aforementioned Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, the Side Show Bob look-alike, getting out of the limo. Kelly was in a rather slinky dress and wobbly high heels. She asked the crowd if they liked her dress, telling them she picked it out herself. She didn't say if she got it at the Burleson Super Wal-Mart which is just down the road a bit.
idol10.jpg (32332 bytes) The high-pitched coached and practiced screaming was quickly annoying, even though it did die down quickly. Kelly and Justin stood on the stage and answered inane questions from the Big Lady who was running the show, that being the aforementioned local radio DJ, didn't catch her name, won't forget her stature. She did say she used to be a cheerleader. But was too big to toss up in the air. Earlier she'd asked the crowd if anyone was as troubled as she was at reports that Kelly and Justin have extensive kissing scenes in the movie. The radio DJ lady verbalized her opinion that the pair seemed like brother and sister, not a romancing pair.
idol14.jpg (37105 bytes) It seems signing autographs is a very important part of the American Idol job. Up close Kelly looked as much like a cartoon character as her co-star, with rather garishly painted eyes, sort of like a brown version of that charcoal-like stuff football players smear under their eyes on a sunny day.

And that ends our look at last year's American Idols, with an autograph or two.





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