Kelly Clarkson: Ray Mickshaw
Gary Susman
August 28, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Think of it as the Olympics, but with melisma instead of hurdles. According to USA Today, the first ”World Idol” sing-off will take place in December, pitting the initial winners of the various international ”Idol” franchises — ”American Idol”’s Kelly Clarkson, U.K. ”Pop Idol” victor Will Young, and about a dozen others — in a contest for global vocal supremacy. As ”Idol” producer Simon Fuller explained in a recent Billboard interview, ”My intention is that the whole world will vote, and we’ll work the voting system so that the population of the country will be fair and proportional to the votes the contestants receive.” Also, you can’t vote for your own country’s representative. The two-hour special will be taped in London for broadcast worldwide near Christmas, with the winner announced on a second show a week later. That gives Simon Cowell about four months to learn how to say, ”That was horrible” in 12 languages.

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