American Idol News & Notes 12/16/2006

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Thanks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, here's a little update of what our favorite American Idol stars were up to this week:

  • Carrie Underwood is giving back in a big way with her first USO tour of the Persian Gulf, which will have the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year entertaining and meeting with troops at various undisclosed locations. "She is completely excited about it," Carrie's rep said.
  • Taylor Hicks' 12-track, self-titled album, Taylor Hicks, hit the streets Tuesday, and includes a cover of "Wherever I Lay My Hat," by Hicks' hero Marvin Gaye. "The thread of this album is groove," Hicks said.
  • Clay Aiken, who performed in Easton Monday night, showed up that morning at a school assembly in Nazareth to read from Our Friend Mikayla, a biography of Mikayla Resh, a third grader with cerebral palsy. The book was written by her classmates at Lower Nazareth Elementary School and published by the Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

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