January 18, 2006

Kelly Clarkson spokesman dismisses “Idol” flap

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One day after "American Idol" judge
Simon Cowell slammed Kelly Clarkson for refusing to let the TV
talent contest that launched her career use her hits, a
spokesman for the pop star denied there was ever a dispute over
song rights.

"Kelly Clarkson was happy to hear her song, 'Since U Been
Gone,' on American Idol last night and as far as she's
concerned there is no conflict between her and the TV show,"
her publicist, Roger Widynowski, said.

"She intended all along to license additional material to
the show and will do so when asked and within reason," he said
of Clarkson, now a pop superstar in her own right and by far
the biggest "Idol" success story.

A contestant on the hit show's season premiere warbled
Clarkson's massive hit "Since U Been Gone" in the first few
minutes of the program.

Cowell, speaking to a gathering of TV critics on Tuesday,
said that Clarkson would be making a "big mistake" if she
barred "Idol" from using her songs after the show catapulted
her to stardom.

"No matter how talented Kelly Clarkson is, she would not be
in the position she's in now without winning this show," he
said. "It's the public who bothered to pick up the phone and
vote for her. If she refuses to give songs to be used on the
show, it's like saying to every person who voted for you, 'You
know what? Thank you. I'm not interested in you anymore."'

"Idol" must get permission from the owners of song
licenses, Clarkson included, before broadcasting the material.
Some artists, including the Beatles, have been notoriously
reluctant to grant permission.

Clarkson's representatives say they were in standard
negotiations over those rights and that Cowell's remarks took
them by surprise. "Kelly is fine with her songs being used on
the show. There was never an issue," Widynowski said.

A spokesman for "Idol" agreed that negotiations were in
progress and said it was not clear if Clarkson was ever
personally involved in those talks.

The first "Idol" champion, Clarkson has gone on to earn a
Grammy nomination and sell nearly 7 million U.S. copies of her
first two albums, "Thankful" and "Breakaway," becoming one of
pop music's biggest stars.