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Apr 23 04 8:45 PM
Quote:Clarkson is just fine, but Aiken shines at `Idol' show
By Sandra Gonzales
Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken shared a concert stage Tuesday night, but it was Aiken who shone like the true pop star.
Just the mere glimpse of Aiken -- who's co-headlining a national concert tour with first-season ``American Idol'' winner Clarkson -- sent the audience into a frenzy at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
With dramatic rock-star flair, Aiken, who played second, opened his set by coming through the crowd singing Mr. Mister's 1986 hit ``Kyrie.''
``Idol'' judge Simon Cowell once said he simply didn't ``get'' Aiken's popularity or see him as a star. But America's favorite runner-up put those doubts to rest Tuesday as the diverse crowd, ranging in all ages, seemed to get it plenty.
Many of those on the arena floor stayed standing during his hourlong set that included most of the songs from his triple-platinum debut album, ``Measure of a Man.'' He sang several covers, from James Taylor to, surprisingly, Prince's ``When Doves Cry,'' a crowd favorite as Aiken gyrated with a backup singer.
While the HP Pavilion was not sold out, it was fairly full except for the top tier, half of which was cordoned off.
And, true to ``Idol'' form, concertgoers brought signs, lots of them, showing their ``Idol'' love -- gestures both singers acknowledged to the squeals of their fans.
Musically, Clarkson proved to be a powerful belter, particularly with her huge radio hit, ``Miss Independent,'' which really brought the audience alive, and, finally, to its feet.
Making certain she didn't forget her ``Idol'' roots, Clarkson sang, ``A Moment Like This,'' a tune she made popular during the end of her ``Idol'' run two years ago.
Clarkson, who performed first, was exceptional with a cover of Reba McEntire's ``Why Haven't I Heard From You.'' And the crowd cheered her loudly as she rejoined Aiken for a closing duet of Journey's ``Open Arms.''
Still, Clarkson never quite established the rapport with the audience that Aiken did. And, in the end, the show was all about Aiken.
Apr 23 04 8:47 PM
Quote:A runner-up proves his princely worth
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic                 Thursday, April 8, 2004
Clay Aiken bounces when he walks. He has a foxy smile and tiny features that make him look slightly cross-eyed from certain angles. The "American Idol" runner-up also has a glorious set of pipes and among the worst taste of any singer this side of Engelbert Humperdinck, although that jacket with the stripes across the back was so bad, somebody else must have told him to wear it. Nobody would choose to put on something like that.
Teen idols like Aiken get a bad rap. Sure they're callow, dumb and marketable for reasons that have nothing to do with talent, imagination, vision or wisdom (theirs, anyway). But that's no reason to loathe them. Everyone likes a catchy tune now and again or can enjoy the kind of overwrought, show-offy singing that amateur contests like the worldwide hit TV show inevitably encourages. These "Idols" are just the willing puppets.
But behind the scenes, "Idol" entrepreneur Simon Fuller is truly an evil genius. The man who invented the Spice Girls knows something about the pop process. With "American Idol," he has turned dreams of stardom into a television spectator sport. The television show, in turn, creates a constituency for these acts (all, of course, signed to his management company) before they are even handed over to the record business. Families that agonized over Clay's ordeal for all those months on TV shifted the scene Tuesday from their living rooms to the HP Pavilion in San Jose, where the newly anointed pop prince took a victory lap with a sold-out concert co- starring last year's winner, Kelly Clarkson.
Fuller's diabolical scheme is working. The debut album by first season "Idol" Clarkson has sold more than 2 million copies, with Aiken's album (released in October) not far behind. Second-place winner on this season's show, Aiken came under the ministrations of veteran hitmaker and chairman of his record label Clive Davis, who personally produced the young Southerner's album, full of songs from teams of professional songwriters, little committees assigned to develop the perfect pop gem for the maestro's new protege.
First-place winner Ruben Studdard also has an album and a tour, but neither is selling in the same league as Aiken's.
The San Jose audience was a testament to TV's ability to slash through demographic groups. Two moms with their teenage daughters in the row behind me reminisced about seeing Journey in a "Day on the Green" concert. In a rare cross-generational cultural accord, young girls and their mothers alike screamed their approval as the squeaky-clean kid with the haystack hair made his way through the arena singing the 1985 Mr. Mister hit, "Kyrie."
Fans brought hand-painted signs and took thousands of snapshots, along with all the other typical signs of teen mania. They liked Clarkson fine -- she and Aiken have been switching off closing the show over the course of the tour -- but they loved Clay.
Perky Clarkson puts her husky voice equally to overblown ballads, generic dance pop and insincere acoustic folk. Aiken sticks with middle-of-the-road pop. He can go up to frothy and down to solemn, but that's pretty much the emotional range of his material at this point. He seemed only slightly less desperate than Clarkson to be showered with the audience's abundant affection.
Neither was truly contemptible. They did their prefabricated, well- rehearsed parts to perfection, almost too eager to please, too humble and grateful for all the blessings that TV has bestowed upon them. But they were only playing the part. They aren't real musicians. They're TV stars, and they're doing a fine job.
Simon Fuller, on the other hand, apparently has nothing less than world domination in mind. He has "Idol" shows in 20 countries as far-flung as Norway and Poland, Australia and South Africa. There may come a time when all the world's pop stars are selected this way.
E-mail Joel Selvin at [email protected]
Apr 23 04 8:52 PM
Quote:Idol' stars Clarkson, Aiken light up KeyArena
By GENE STOUT
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER POP MUSIC CRITIC
Hearts were achin' for Clay Aiken Thursday night at KeyArena.
CLAY AIKEN AND KELLY CLARKSON
WHAT: Pop concert
WHEN: Thursday night at KeyArena
Fans sporting "Claymates" T-shirts and holding handmade signs gave the "American Idol" runner-up a big Seattle welcome during his co-headlining concert with fellow "Idol" Kelly Clarkson, who drew her own contigent of enthusiastic, supportive fans.
Aiken and Clarkson have been alternating sets on their cross-country tour. In Seattle, Clarkson performed the closing set in a three-act concert that opened with vocal-pop quartet the Beu Sisters, who performed songs from their debut album "Decisions."
This wasn't a show for couch potatoes. Fans rose to their feet and cheered as soon as Aiken, surrounded by security guards, strolled through the crowd and up to the stage for a 70-minute set that opened with "Kyrie," the 1980s Mr. Mister hit.
Wearing a fedora, striped shirt with tails untucked, matching tie, baggy trousers and sneakers, the singing star explained the hat was a handy prop on a "bad-hair day."
Grant M. Haller / P-I
Kelly Clarkson performs at KeyArena. View a photo gallery of Clarkson and Clay Aiken's show Thursday night.
Aiken was charming and animated during a set that included such favorites as "I Will Carry You," "Measure of a Man" and "The Way." Though he doesn't push the creative envelope of popular music, the 25-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., is a natural talent with a powerful voice and a flair for engaging his fans.
His second song, the powerful, hook-filled "Perfect Day," was performed against a watercolor-sky backdrop. Backing him were a five-piece band and three vocalists in white outfits. The simple, two-level stage featured a staircase, balcony, extended platform and stainless steel paneling.
Aiken's voice soared during "I Will Carry You" and "Love, All About Love." During the latter, Aiken harmonized beautifully with his three backup vocalists on the upper balcony.
Aiken often performed on the extended stage that jutted into the audience. When a fan held up a cell phone, Aiken took it from her, hoping to surprise the person on the other end of the line. "I think she passed out," he quipped when he discovered no one was there.
After a stirring version of "I Survived You," Aiken, his backup singers and several musicians settled into a row of chairs at the center of the stage for a trio of songs -- "Measure of a Man," "When I Need Love" and a beautiful version of James Taylor's sentimental classic "Carolina On My Mind."
Aiken and a female backup singer sang a spirited duet of Prince's "When Doves Cry" while the two danced in a tight, awkward embrace. Though not as funky as the original, Aiken brought his own sense of style to the "lite" version of the classic.
For Clarkson, the stage was reconfigured to include several clusters of artificial candles and five cloth panels illuminated with colored spotlights. Wearing a fashionably tight, tattered pair of jeans and a black Aerosmith T-shirt, Clarkson opened with "Low" while accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Backing her was a five-piece band and a trio of backup singers dressed in black.
Though animated, Clarkson failed to establish a strong rapport with the audience. And much of her banter seemed forced. But her voice was often powerful and engaging.
Her new single, "The Trouble With Love Is" -- from the British romantic comedy "Love Actually" -- featured a throbbing beat. But a new, stripped-down version of the somber "Beautiful Disaster" was more satisfying. Especially fun was the powerful, big band-style tune, "Stuff Like That There," from "American Idol."
Clarkson's barefoot version of the Reba McEntire song "Why Haven't I Heard From You" fell flat, but "Bounce (the Luv)" from her movie with "Idol"-mate Justin Guarini at least got the crowd on its feet.
The sentimental "Thankful" was accompanied by snapshots of friends and family, a bit of self-indulgence that added little to the set. Clarkson continued with "A Moment Like This," her signature song from "American Idol," and her big hit, "Miss Independent."
The concert ended on a high note when Aiken joined Clarkson for the closing song, a crowd-pleasing duet of the Journey song "Open Arms."
P-I pop music critic Gene Stout can be reached at 206-448-8383 or [email protected]
Apr 23 04 8:56 PM
Quote:'Idol' duo gets crowd's vote at KeyArena
Judging by album and concert sales, the success of "American Idol" stars Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken is no fluke.
Though both pop stars were sculpted and refined in front of a captivated TV audience of millions on "American Idol" Clarkson was the show's first crowned pop princess and Aiken was last year's runner-up they are a study in contrasts when it comes to their music and performance style. Clarkson's a little bit rock 'n' roll with a shot of soul and some spunk. Aiken's powerhouse pipes get a real workout in ballads and standard pop fare.
Without question, Aiken seemed to be the one most came to see Thursday night at KeyArena. His fans are notoriously loyal, known in some circles as "Claymates," and reflect a true cross-section of America: from children to tweens and teens, parents and grandparents, students and professionals. Every turn of his lanky body and every honey-glazed note was met with cries of "We love you, Clay," sing-alongs and signs like "Shakin' For Aiken's Bacon."
The boyish singer, sporting a sophisticated fedora-style hat (he said it was because of a "bad hair day" ) and a 5 o'clock shadow, crooned his way through an hourlong set that showed off his powerful voice and genial stage presence.
Backed by a live band and a trio of back-up singers, Aiken was smooth and polished on stage, his voice clean and loud as he sang of unrequited love, friendship, heartbreak and hope, subjects pervasive on his hit debut album, "Measure of a Man." Especially good was "Perfect Day," the heartfelt and snappy "No More Sad Songs," the dance-friendly "Invisible," which had the arena rocking, and "I Will Carry You."
A few surprises were built into Aiken's set namely, his dancing and a believable cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry," which had the Aiken doing a little bumping and grinding with a back-up singer.
Equally impressive live was Clarkson, who added intensity and a rock 'n' roll bite to the night. Sporting an Aerosmith T-shirt and ripped jeans, sans shoes, to start the show, the pop singer's bluesy voice was spiked with an edginess that came across best when she slowed things down, as she did on the heartbreaking "Beautiful Disaster," accompanied only by a piano. On "Trouble With Love Is," Clarkson mixed up the song's original arrangement and made it into a dance club-style track, as she did with "Miss Independent."
For the night's finale, it was the best of both worlds as Aiken joined Clarkson on stage for a duet of Stephen Perry's (Journey) "Open Arms." Though the chemistry wasn't exactly white hot, the crowd was clearly feeling it.
Tina Potterf: 206-464-8214 or [email protected]
Apr 23 04 8:58 PM
Quote:Kelly, Clay delight Arena crowd
CONCERT REVIEW Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken Spokane Arena, Friday evening
During Kelly Clarkson's set at the Spokane Arena on Friday night, 14-year-old Natalie Petersen was on her feet the entire time, singing every lyric to every song.
It was Petersen's second time seeing the "Independent Tour" with "American Idol" stars Clarkson and Clay Aiken, and she was no less impressed.
She also attended the concert in Seattle on Thursday.
"It was amazing, exactly what I was expecting, just like in Seattle. Kelly has great range and stage presence and she'
s really sweet. I'm a huge fan of both artists but I like Clay more because he has great looks," said Petersen, who was sporting jeans with the names Kelly and Clay written in marker down each leg.
Judging from the response of Clarkson's and Aiken's fans, mainly middle-aged moms and their pre-teen daughters, the show was an undeniable hit.
With the energy of a superconductor, Clarkson took the starlit stage wearing a black tank top, ripped jeans, a spiked belt and bare feet. Sure, she looked plenty punk rock, but her demeanor was playful and friendly. She even posed for pictures and signed autographs while singing songs that had as much range as her vocals.
"Trouble With Love Is" started out bluesy enough, but suddenly ripped into a techno-lite beat reminiscent of Cher's "Believe." "What's Up Lonely" found Clarkson in the comfortable R&B setting that suits her voice as well as power ballads such as "Low."
Clarkson made a quick change into an all-black outfit with sparkling accessories for her performance of the sassy song that made her an "American Idol" favorite, "Stuff Like That There." This was the liveliest song of the night, next to her cover of Patsy Cline's "Why Haven't I Heard From You," which Clarkson growled and hollered through with tenacity and spunk.
Like Clarkson, there is no doubt that Aiken has the pipes, but he still needs to work on expanding his repertoire, not that anyone at the Arena seemed to notice.
From the moment Aiken entered the stage, fans were roaring.
Aiken looked as goofy as ever -- his hair was typically messy and he wore a tacky gray sport coat with mint-green horizontal stripes on the back while he sang his brand of chicken-soup-for-the-soul music.
There is nothing wrong with love songs, but after Clay's performance you can't help but wonder if that's all he's capable of, along with doing cover songs of hits from the 1980s, such as his opening number, Mr. Mister's "Kyrie."
The worst example was when Aiken sucked all the cool out of Prince's "When Doves Cry" by singing it as an acoustic ballad before the band joined in. That was just plain bad.
One area where Aiken has grown since his "American Idol" days is in his showmanship. While Aiken has a corny appeal that only he seems able to pull off (a mix of equal parts Barry Manilow, Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and "Footloose"-era Kevin Bacon) he seemed more comfortable than ever in his own skin.
Even with an apparent broken foot from tripping during his show in Seattle, Aiken limped around the stage, charming the crowd between songs.
Yes, a lot of Aiken songs are filled with cliche lyrics and generic melodies, sounding like Disney soundtracks, but with gifted voices like Clarkson's and Aiken's, you can get away with glorified karaoke.
Just ask Petersen: "Aiken was the best ever, he was hot and awesome."
Apr 23 04 9:00 PM
Quote:Live singing at concert? Who would have thunk it
By Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News
April 14, 2004
Want more evidence the world has gone mad?
The supposedly professional pop singers (Britney Spears, Janet Jackson) don't really sing when you go see them. They pretend.
The so-called amateur pop singers (Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson) actually do sing.
The professionals have your cameras seized when you enter the concert and instead make you buy mass-produced prints that cost them pennies. The amateurs encouraged fans to bring their own cameras and snap away.
The pros charge ticket prices in the triple digits, while the amateurs' tickets topped out at $45. Heck, they even acted genuinely grateful that the fans came out.
There was this weird feeling of dj vu at the Aiken-Clarkson concert Tuesday night, and then it struck you - oh yeah, this is what concerts used to be like.
Live singing, performers interacting with the fans. And just as important, a sense of audience identification with the artist. Undoubtedly thousands of the fans in the Pepsi Center had dutifully cast their American Idol votes for winner Clarkson and runner-up Aiken, which is what ultimately brought everyone together Tuesday night.
Or as Aiken put it, "All of my success is your success."
You can argue about the slick pop music they performed - some of it pretty good, some of it really quite bad - but you can't say that the fans weren't given a show.
The pair are switching off between who opens and closes the show, and you can't help but feel Clarkson draws the short straw every time she has to follow Aiken. He's got an affable stage charm that the audience ate up.
His acoustic set in the middle of his show was both a highlight (Sting's Fields of Gold, James Taylor's Carolina in My Mind) and a low (Leo Sayer's When I Need You, coupled with a criminally abusive intro to Prince's When Doves Cry). The crowd was most taken (and sang along with) the cuts from his solo CD, Measure of a Man, particularly on Invisible and Perfect Day.
Clarkson was able to rouse the crowd not nearly as much, though hits such as Miss Independent were huge audience pleasers.
Again, you can attack the premise of American Idol as much as you like. But the result was a good give-and-take concert, filling the Pepsi Center with people who don't get to concerts much these days. No harm, no foul.
The Beu Sisters opened the show - four siblings ages 16 to 28 who can, again, actually sing. The a cappella work was a bit shrill in the not-full arena, but the sisters' talent is unde
Apr 23 04 9:02 PM
Quote:        Posted on Fri, Apr. 16, 2004
Review: Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken
By ROBERT EISELE
Special to The Star
The pungent aroma of peanut butter and cotton candy hung heavy in the air at Kemper Arena Thursday night, providing a portent of the empty musical calories to come in the evening's Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken concert.
The singing duo represent one winner and one also-ran from the hit television series American Idol, the participatory nationwide talent contest that is currently inching toward the end of its third season. Clarkson, the winner from the show's inaugural outing in 2002, was first out of the gate at Thursday's show.
Dressed in a black halter top over torn blue jeans, the singer demonstrated little stage presence in a 45-minute set that included a number of tunes from her debut Thankful disk.
What's Up Lonely offered a funky, hip-hop beat, backed up by a toothy lead guitar solo from the hard-working, five-piece band that accompanied both singers.
While young fans hurled a flurry of stuffed animals at her feet, Clarkson plopped herself atop a piano for a stripped-down arrangement of Beautiful Disaster, an emotionally charged love song that seemed well beyond the emotional reference points of most of her audience.
Why Haven't I Heard from You was a sassy, attitude-filled cover of the Reba McEntire original that provided a welcome change-of-pace from such hopelessly sappy ballads as Timeless, which was performed as a duet with one of her backup singers.
But Clarkson was back firmly at center stage in the solo spotlight for her signature power ballad A Moment Like This, which she performed while signing autographs for audience members at the edge of the stage.
Aiken took the headliner's slot, emerging at the back of the arena and making his way through the crowd (with the help of a phalanx of security guards) while performing an infectiously percussive arrangement of Mr. Mister's Kyrie.
The singer, who could be the gawky lovechild of Barry Manilow and Anne Murray, has a pleasant if unremarkable voice. Sporting an eggbeater hairstyle and a few day's growth of stubble, Aiken was earnest and eager to please throughout a sunny set of ballads, syrupy love songs and bubblegum pop.
Prowling the stage and a runway built out into the audience, the singer offered up a steady stream of bland, connect-the-dots melodies that included Perfect Day, Invisible, and Measure of a Man.
He fared somewhat better on a medley of cover songs delivered with his musicians and backup vocalists clustered around him in a tight circle. Included in the brief acoustic set were Sting's Fields of Gold, James Taylor's Carolina in my Mind and Prince's When Doves Cry, the latter marred by Aiken's tiresome interruptions to trade quips with his backup singers.
The ostensibly sincere performer thanked his fans for their support, and dedicated the love song The Way to the loyal crowd sporting the Clay Mates t-shirts all around him.
Clarkson reappeared for the finale of Open Arms decked out in a Tina Turner fright wig, spiked heels and black mini-dress, which apparently was as much of a surprise for Aiken as it was for the crowd. Her curtain call getup was about the only unpredictable element in a largely forgettable evening.
Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken
Reviewed: April 15 at Kemper Arena
Attendance: 8,000 (approx.)
Apr 23 04 9:04 PM
Quote:Concert review: Aiken's star quality shines in St. Paul
Jon Bream, Star Tribune
April 17, 2004
"American Idol" is about that one shining moment when a singer has to prove if he or she has it -- whatever it is.
A concert is about that hour or so when a singer has to prove if he or she has the voice, the repertoire, the moves, the presence, the presentation and the indelible personality that will bring concertgoers to their feet and compel them to stand in line to buy a T-shirt, CD and a ticket for another concert.
"American Idol" stars Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken are new at this concert business. And their Independent Tour Friday at the Xcel Energy Center suggested that, despite their obvious talents, both still have a ways to go.
Aiken has it -- that undefinable star quality. He commanded the stage in front of 11,783 screaming fans. There was a bounce in his step, attitude in the tilt of his fedora, drama in his gestures and a twinkle in his eyes.
A natural performer who used to be a special-ed teacher, the North Carolinian, 25, manifested a special way of reaching out and touching people. He just didn't sing into a fan's cellphone but rather carried on a conversation with a surprised woman. He had a sense of where he was, mentioning that St. Paul had been the site of his first-ever concert last year with the American Idol II Tour, and now it was the site of his final show on his second tour.
However, Aiken was clueless when it came to the visuals. His blue-and-gray outfit was as drab as his stage set, and his lighting was as bland as his band's all-white outfits.
Musically, the strong-voiced Aiken showed a sense of style, walking down the middle-of-the-road with big, sentimental pop ballads. He delivered the songs with more dynamics and drama than they have on his best-selling album, "Measure of a Man," but, frankly, his material is unremarkable beyond his hits, the catchy "Invisible" and the schmaltzy "The Way." His choice in covers was hit - and-miss, with James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind" being as prudent but his interpretation of Prince's "When Doves Cry" was as misguided -- as his dance during the song with Clarkson was awkward and stiff.
During her set, the very casual Clarkson showed a better sense of visuals, her stage decorated with large ersatz candles and colorfully lit sheets of fabric. And halfway through her set, the Texan, 21, changed out of her T-shirt and jeans and brought some much-needed sparkle to the stage with some rhinestone jewelry.
Her powerhouse voice was showy, too, and that's her style, as she jumped from R&B to cabaret to country to pop. Especially impressive was a new, unrecorded ballad, the snarling and spirited "Don't." It could join "Miss Independent,"Low" and "A Moment Like This" in her hit parade. But it was clear that Clarkson, who had an anonymous personality, is more about hits than about it.
Jon Bream is at [email protected]
Apr 23 04 9:07 PM
Quote:Posted on Sat, Apr. 17, 2004
Clay finding way; Kelly may go another
BY ROB HUBBARD
You could call "American Idol" a triumph of democracy. After a presidential election that went to the Supreme Court, America turned on the radio and found tiresome predictability, with large media companies dictating playlists in every metropolis and small town nationwide.
But the "American Idol" TV show allows music lovers to throw off the bonds of the music industry. Instead of just accepting the flavor of the month pop radio serves up, they have the opportunity to choose their own stars by popular vote, with not an electoral college to be found.
On Friday night, St. Paul hosted a celebration of this relatively newfound form of musical democracy as the first-season winner, Kelly Clarkson, shared a bill with last year's runner-up, Clay Aiken. And what 11,783 fans at Xcel Energy Center found were two talented singers who may be headed in opposite directions.
The elfin Aiken embraces the role of star yet seems uncertain how to fulfill its duties. Clarkson knows the expectations, has plenty of star power and stage presence, but seems to have the confidence to change career directions from the pop queen persona designed for her.
Even Clarkson knows that in the year since she released her debut album, Aiken has eclipsed her in popularity. His first single broke the all-time first-week sales record (previously held by Elton John), and his debut album opened at No. 1. The special education teacher from Raleigh, N.C., has an astoundingly faithful following for a new artist, and the power-pop ballads he leans on play to his strengths.
On Friday, Aiken did everything in his power to come off as a man of the people just another awkward guy who happens to have a great voice. Hence, he made his entrance from the back of the Xcel floor, running through a string of songs from his album and selected covers while dressed in Converse All-Stars and a dangling dress shirt.
He seemed out of place amid the flashy pop professionals backing him, but tried to prove his mettle by holding notes longer than his backup singers and engaging in a series of ultimately irritating last-night-of-the-tour practical jokes.
Clarkson opened her set strumming an acoustic guitar, clad in ripped jeans (and not designer-ripped, either) and a black T-shirt reading, "Simon says I'm good." Looking more like the waitress and movie-theater employee she was in Texas before "Idol" beckoned, Clarkson's one-woman declaration of casual Friday was refreshing and left one wondering if she wasn't going to throw off the pop and become a folkie.
But the material from her debut is pretty poppy, so she soon changed costumes to the black spandex of a gangsta queen. However, don't be surprised if the funky diva of "Miss Independent" doesn't declare her own independence and settle into a smaller and more comfortable following.
When she and Aiken performed Journey's "Open Arms" at evening's end, it seemed more his style than hers, and their final embrace seemed like goodbye and good luck to Aiken as he continues down the path from which she may now detour.
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