Kelly Clarkson Hits Sour Note over 9/11

updated 09/09/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/2002 01:00AM

Not even one week into her "American Idol" victory and already Kelly Clarkson is tasting controversy.

The former cocktail waitress, 20, now about to enjoy the fruits of the recording contract she won on the Fox TV series, says that she wanted to withdraw from singing "The Star Spangled Banner" this Wednesday -- Sept. 11 -- at a special commemoration at Washington's Lincoln Memorial, reports The New York Times.

The event is to be part of the "United Day of Service," to mark the first anniversary of the attacks and organized by the D.C.-based charity Champions of Hope and Clarkson's management company, 19 Entertainment. (Champions of Hope assists young people in volunteering for community service, while 19 Entertainment produced "American Idol.")

According to The Times, the debate arose when some critics suggested that Clarkson's appearance would turn what should be a somber occasion of national mourning into a great big promotional opportunity.

In reaction, Clarkson said of her prospective appearance, "I think it is a bad idea ... If anybody thinks I'm trying to market anything, well, that's awful." She added, "I am not going to do it."

But despite Clarkson's reticence, spokespeople for both the Champions of Hope and 19 Entertainment insisted to The Times that Clarkson will sing, as scheduled.

Melissa Helmbrecht, the founder of Champions of Hope, also stressed that Clarkson's appearance is not scheduled to be broadcast on TV and is to be open and free to the public.
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