Kelly in Control

Image credit: Larry Busacca/WireImage.com

You use your upper register in so many of your songs. Is it hard to sing them on tour night after night?
It's hard when you have to stay up there the whole song. ''Breakaway'' is really challenging. ''Never Again'' — that's gonna be fun [sarcastically].

You look pretty normal to me right now, but people often comment on your weight. [After her performance on the Idol Gives Back charity show last month, one message boarder dubbed her ''Mama Cass.''] Does that bother you?
You're just like, Oh, well, that sucks. But at the end of the day, it doesn't suck that much or else I'd do something about it. I work out when I want to work out; I don't work out when I don't want to work out. After a long day and I'm tired, yeah, a cookie helps. It makes me feel good. It's soul food! There's a reason why it's called that. I drop, like, 15 pounds when I'm on tour.

It's pretty well-known that some of the powers that be at the label are nervous about the new record.
Everybody wants to come out with the same thing and put beats on it. That's not where I am right now.

We met you on American Idol as a singer who performed other people's songs. So a lot of people don't realize you've already co-written hits like ''Walk Away'' and ''Behind These Hazel Eyes.''
Everybody doesn't like me writing all the time, no matter how many No. 1's you write. It's clearly like yelling at a brick wall. I won an [ASCAP] award recently for best song of the year [for ''Because of You'']. People just refuse to even look at statistics. I mean, is there something higher than No. 1 now? Have they gone to, like, the negatives? People can't fathom that someone who is vocally talented could have some kind of writing ability.

Why exactly are they so resistant to you writing?
It's because I'm a woman — because I'm a young woman. I literally heard someone say it [during a conference call]. They didn't know I was on the phone. Like, really? We're living in what century? I hung up. I was like, I can't even address that. 'Cause that was the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

NEXT PAGE: ''Even if it does tank — who cares? It's one album! Out of a whole career of albums I'm going to have, you're worried about one? I'm not worried about it!''

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