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Kelly Clarkson Kicks Off Tour

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The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, kicked off her tour this weekend. USA Today was there to go behind the scenes of this crowd-pleasing event...

A Kelly Clarkson Picture • The event: The official opener of Kelly Clarkson's fall tour, in support of her underperforming third album My December (which has sold 673,000 copies, compared with 5.86 million for its predecessor, Breakaway). Clarkson had canceled her planned summer arena tour back in June over disappointing ticket sales and after parting ways with her management. This time, she's performing in smaller, more intimate venues.

• The crowd: A diverse mix: teenyboppers, parents and their kids, plus Gen Y types … and Clarkson's recent duet partner, Reba McEntire.

• Stage setting: Very simple, with five screens that change color. Overall, the show had an intimate, direct feel.

•The kickoff: Intro music: AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. First we saw a girl in a red dress on maroon steps, sitting down. The Gothic tableau mimicked the My December album cover. Then Clarkson appeared in a black tank and black pants singing One Minute to Love from the current album.

• The music: Mix of previous hits —Behind These Hazel Eyes, Miss Independent, Breakaway— and tracks from the current album: Sober, Don't Waste Your Time, Chivas, Be Still. She also covered Patty Griffin's Up on the Mountain, which she sang on the Idol Gives Back TV special.

• Audience reaction: They weren't responding nearly as enthusiastically to many of the December songs. But they were generally adoring of Clarkson.

• Onstage quotable: Introducing recent download hit Never Again, Clarkson said she gets made fun of because it's another song about a bad boyfriend. "I have to go through all the losers to get to the good one," she said.

• Memorable moment: Mega-hit Because of You, performed with the backing of just one keyboard — and the crowd singing along with every word. Clarkson's voice is highly impressive.

• Show closer: Since You've Been Gone stirred crowd frenzy and abruptly closed a shortish show.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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