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EW's Great Performances of 2004: Fantasia Barrino

Humility never seemed to come naturally — or at all — to Fantasia ''My lips are big, but my talent is bigger'' Barrino when she strutted onto the American Idol stage each week. But on April 14, the raspy-voiced divette decided she needed a makeover. ''At that point in the show, people were saying I was kind of arrogant and bold,'' says Barrino, 20, who went on to win the competition. ''I needed a song I could go out with and humble myself.'' Without a drip of attitude or even a pair of shoes, the Southern single mom sat down on the stage and belted out an emotional rendition of ''Summertime'' that would have made George Gershwin weep with joy. No matter that Fantasia had never even heard of the Porgy and Bess classic until that week. ''When I chose it people were like, 'Are you serious?''' she recalls. ''But something about the song I just related to. And I never wanted to be like anyone else.'' After a decent album debut (239,000 copies in week 1), the livin' may be easy, but there's still a bump on the road to superstardom. ''I want a freakin' Range Rover sooooo bad,'' she squeals. ''But what can I do? I don't have a license.''

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Originally posted Dec 27, 2004 Published in issue #799-800 Dec 31, 2004 Order article reprints