February 9, 2006

Kelly Clarkson gets Grammy, omits “Idol” thanks

By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kelly Clarkson beat a few
superstars -- Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow and Paul McCartney --
to become the first contestant from "American Idol" to win
Grammy awards on Wednesday, but she forgot to thank the wildly
popular TV talent 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 CBS broadcast of the 48th annual Grammy Awards 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.

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.

When asked backstage why she didn't mention "American Idol"
in her acceptance speeches, she said she had in fact thanked
the show indirectly by thanking her fans. She said she also
forgot to thank a lot of important people in her life.

"I forgot to thank my dad and the rest of my family. I did
thank the fans and that's 'American Idol,"' she said, noting
that her omission had nothing to do with sharp recent criticism
of her by "Idol" judge Simon Cowell.

A CBS spokesman said Clarkson was never restricted from
mentioning the rival network's talent show, which ranks as the
most-watched series on U.S. television.

"She's absolutely free to say whatever she wants up there,"
he said.

A few weeks ago, "American Idol" judge Cowell slammed
Clarkson, saying she refused to let the show that launched her
career use her hits on the program. But a spokesman for the pop
star denied there was ever a dispute over song rights.

The spokesman said then that Clarkson, the biggest "Idol"
success story, had been 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.

The first "Idol" champion, Clarkson has gone on to sell
nearly 7 million U.S. copies of her first two albums combined,
"Thankful" and "Breakaway."

Cowell had 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.

As for Clarkson, she said there was no problem and she
thought maybe "American Idol" was seeking publicity.