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Monday, July 3

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Raleigh

KELLY CLARKSON, ROONEY

Alltel Pavilion--When the chubby girl from Fort Worth, Texas, brought home the title of American Idol in 2002, no one took her--or her theoretical music career--very seriously. Sure, Kelly Clarkson won the adoration of America (58 percent of it, at least) and landed a nominal record deal with RCA, but it would take good songs to convince anyone she was worth some real consideration. Luckily, the second single from her sophomore release was "Since U Been Gone," an infectious bit of new-wave pop that landed Clarkson at No. 2 on the U.S. pop charts. More importantly, the song's success would catapult the 24-year-old from reality-TV curiosity to pop sensation, in the process validating the career of every Idol that followed her. Basically, this girl is the reason we have to keep an eye on that Taylor dude. And, unfortunately, she's the reason we can't count Ruben or Clay out just yet. Idol worship begins at 7:30 with Rooney opening. --Robbie Mackey

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