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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 06/26/2007

Celebritology Clip n' Save: A Little Help for Kelly Clarkson

By Liz Kelly

(Sony BMG)

Back in 2002, Kelly Clarkson was the first in a new breed of pop stars -- a bona fide minted-by-us "American Idol." Six seasons later, the "Idol" market is awash with wannabe singers foisted on a public saturated with Hudsons and Picklers and Aikens, oh my. You know it's tough when "soul patroller" Taylor Hicks is headlining bars in Dewey Beach, Del.

Kelly Clarkson was different, though. She actually caught fire. Her name worked its way into household ubiquity and was given the pop culture stamp of approval when it was screamed as an epithet by "The 40-Year-Old Virgin's" Steve Carrell. She won Grammy awards and Billboard Awards and People's Choice Awards and even Radio Disney's coveted "Best Sleepover Song" award for "Since U Been Gone." And, most importantly, clawed her way into the U.S. pop charts with seven top 10 hits, making her a bankable investment for the recording industry.

Today, as Clarkson releases her latest album, the singer finds herself facing harsh reviews, an unsupportive record label and an indifferent public. What's an Idol to do?

Luckily, armchair celebrity adviser Lisa Todorovich and I are on hand to guide this surprisingly likeable popster back to the top of the charts.

1. You've been down before. Remember "From Justin to Kelly?" You know how to transcend the corporate image-making machine and career missteps. Surprise us.

2. In the end "American Idol" is little more than a tarted up "Star Search." Take a lesson from one-time "Star Search" contestants like Christina Aguilera, Drew Carey, Jessica Simpson, LeAnn Rimes, Justin Timberlake and Dave Chappelle who would rather we didn't know they were ever within 100 feet of Ed McMahon. Bottom line: Do not join this summer's "Idol" tour. You want to be sharing a stage with Sanjaya?

3. Fighting with Clive Davis is not generally considered a wise career move in the music industry. Sure, you want creative control, but dude, you're just not Springsteen.

4. Pick yourself up. If Whitney Houston can contemplate a comeback from being a cracked-out harpy, you can weather a few harsh reviews.

5. Things are looking dire and it's the perfect time for reality show vultures to start circling (think: "Being Kelly Clarkson: My Life at the Bottom of the Billboard 100"). Three words: Just say no.

6. Motivate your fan-base. According to some intrepid journo who braved some Internet fan forums, your core audience is loving your new album. Go viral on them. Podcast, blog, myspace (yes, we're using it as a verb) like a pro! Take a lesson from Wilco, who released Yankee Hotel Foxtrot online when the record company balked.

7. So you admitted you have some weight issues. Who doesn't, sister? Stay strong. We think you're hot and girls need a realistically shaped role model.

8. Still, you might want to invest in a stylist. The Fug girls make a clear case for your chronic abuse of clothing. Just make sure it's not Rachel Zoe.

9. Figure out who you are. Are you a pop star? A rocker? An R&B diva? Maybe you can be all of the above, eventually. But first, make an indelible mark on one genre.

10. Concentrate on the positive: You're not in jail or rehab, you wear underwear and, as far as we know, have never even met Kevin Federline.

This is one in a series of self-help articles aimed at mentoring wayward celebrities.

By Liz Kelly  | June 26, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Clip N' Saves  
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kelly clarkson IS likeable! i can't help wanting to see her succeed, esp. since hearing her take on clive davis and how they wanted her to promote herself on "idol gives back". she called them "souless". ha!! glad she learned that lesson so early!

anyway, i'm buying the album. i'm not saying i'm going to listen to it, but i'll buy it.

Posted by: wats | June 26, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

11)Get Clive on your side:

Don't kid yourself, you need Clive. Just ask someone who is not Clive Davis's Blackberry: Bobby Brown.

12)Don't change your image, improve your self:

Don't follow Ashlee Simpson. The poor girl lost her identity after a career misstep. Now, she looks like a bad copy of her sister and dates a guy who wears more mascara than she does and dissed her in Rolling Stone Magazine.

13)No Rebound Romance:

Female popstars have a terrible habit of dating the wrong men when they are depress; Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson are clear example of that. At this moment, just take care of yourself and hang out friends and family, but a serious romance is off limits right now

Posted by: Lisa1 | June 26, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

#6 is big one this day & age.

Hell if Hanson can still be around, alive & kicking so can Kelly.

Even though she says:
"I'm just not comfortable doing things that don't feel like me."

Sorry, honey, you were the first AI winner so you've already blown that excuse. Suck it up, apologize to Clive, myspace/blog/internet in general the hell outta your album & move on.

Posted by: Bored @ work | June 26, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Lia and Lisa--

Excellent advice for another (potentially) misguided celeb. Kelly has one important thing going for her: she can really sing! Love her!

Posted by: miss jaunty | June 26, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't really get the media pile-on of Kelly lately.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Piling on Kelly because Paris was in the joint.

But now...

"Wednesday night on CNN might be unkindly described as the battle of wits, between Larry King and Paris Hilton." - Bill Booth, hosting a chat here:

Posted by: byoolin | June 26, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

WOW - Great advice! Wish she would actually read it!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Kelly Clarkson's album is currently #1 on iTunes as top downloaded album. This doesn't count the number of people who may have purchased single songs off the record. I know iTunes does not = Billboard exactly, but it's a pretty good indicator that we shouldn't feel too bad for her. She's doing fine.

Posted by: seattle | June 26, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Poor Kelly got fugged again...

Posted by: boston liz | June 26, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

my friend and i just listened to her new album...HORRIBLE! she needs to stick with what works, and stop trying to be creative. just call avril and have her write another nice song!

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