Ruben, Trenyce, and other pretenders to the throne, beware: Even as she puts the finishing touches on her April 15 solo album, Kelly Clarkson is planning a return to ''American Idol.'' On next Tuesday's show, last season's winner will perform the CD's first single -- which still hadn't been selected at press time -- according to a spokesperson for her label, RCA.
Clarkson and RCA -- led by new label chief Clive Davis, who's serving as an executive producer on the album -- are also still deciding which tracks to include on the CD, which sports the tentative title of ''Kelly Clarkson.'' In addition to top-40 songwriting powerhouse Diane Warren, Clarkson worked with an eclectic group of songsmiths and producers: Shep Crawford (Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men), the team of Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers ('N Sync, Christina Aguilera), Rhett Lawrence (Paula Abul, Jessica Simpson), and the Underdogs (Justin Timberlake, B2K).
Last September, Clarkson's first commercial release, ''A Moment Like This,'' briefly and single-handedly revived the moribund CD-single market, selling 236,000 copies in its first week before going platinum. Meanwhile, she'll make her movie debut beside Justin Guarini in the April 25 musical comedy ''From Justin to Kelly.'' ''It isn't like 'Crossroads ' or 'Glitter,'" Clarkson told EW. "It's not about us trying to make it as recording artists.'' Clearly, she's saving that plotline for real life.