'Idol' makes fans feel they know show's contestants
By BEVERLY KEEL April 2, 2008
Former American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler says the Fox talent show creates a unique connection between the contestants and the public.
"TV does something," she said. "I know I can speak for Carrie (Underwood), too. That show really helped both of us because people were watching us every single week. They were able to see us, rather than the only place they could see is in the store on the shelf. It was almost like they got to know us.
"They are such a huge part of our success. American Idol does something different because the American public is a huge part of us making it past each round. There is something magical about television for sure."
Because of Idol, which introduced her irresistible humor and personality to America, Kellie has been offered media opportunities that might have eluded other country stars, such as representing The Tonight Show at the Super Bowl and appearing today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But a downside might be that viewers think they literally know her. For instance, strangers give Kellie unsolicited love life advice.
"Random people in a grocery store will come up and tell me what I should do. 'Oh, you should have left him a long time ago.' It's weird
. They don't know anything but a paragraph they read in the paper."
She says she's learned "the hard way" not to talk about her love life to the media. "I have to keep my big mouth shut about anything personal," she said with a laugh.
But she doesn't regret being so open about her family's problems (she sings about being abandoned by her mother in the song "I Wonder").
"Even with American Idol, people were like, 'Why did you talk about your mom or dad?' The thing is, people are going to find out anyway. The whole time I was on the show, reporters were all trying to find out everything about us that they could."
Speaking of Idol, Nashville acts are prominently featured on tonight's 8 o'clock show.
Dolly Parton and The Clark Brothers will perform on the show, which also will include updates on former finalists Phil Stacey, Bucky Covington and Bo Bice. The Clark Brothers recently won Fox's The Next Great American Band.