February 9, 2006

Kelly Clarkson Gets Grammy, Omits Idol Thanks

By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES -- Kelly Clarkson beat out singers including Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow and Paul McCartney to become the first contestant from "American Idol" to win a Grammy on Wednesday but she failed to thank the wildly popular reality TV show that made her famous.

Clarkson thanked Jesus, God, the radio, her fans and her mother when she picked up Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album and for Best Female Pop Vocal performance, but in two speeches she omitted any mention of "American Idol," which aired on Fox against the 48th annual Grammy Awards (CBS) for part of the night.

An overwhelmed Clarkson, who could not hold back tears during her first acceptance speech, could not believe her good fortune in winning the second.

"I don't know what is going on but thank you Jesus and God and everyone else who supported my career," she said in what might have been an extremely oblique reference to "American Idol."

Clarkson picked up the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal performance for her hit, "Since U Been Gone," and also performed her single "Because of You" on the telecast.

Some television analysts have speculated that one of the more intriguing competitions of the evening will be the ratings contest between the two shows for the hour in which they both aired at the same time.

A CBS spokesman said "She's absolutely free to say whatever she wants up there," when asked if the singer had been asked to avoid referring to the competing program.

A few weeks ago, "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell slammed Clarkson for refusing to let the TV talent contest that launched her career use her hits, while a spokesman for the pop star denied there was ever a dispute over song rights.

He said Clarkson, by far the biggest "Idol" success story, was happy to hear her song, "Since U Been Gone," on "American Idol" the previous night. A contestant on the premiere of the show's fifth season warbled Clarkson's massive hit in the first few minutes of the program.

Cowell, speaking to a gathering of TV critics earlier that day, said 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.