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RCA Victor

Is Kelly a platinum blonde? -- and other ''Idol'' puzzlers. Now that the hit series is over, we answer your ''American Idol'' burning questions

Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson, ... | ON THE RECORD Kelly's album shipped -- not sold -- over a million copies by the time of the ''Idol'' finale
Image credit: Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard and Kelly Clarkson: Vince Bucci/Getty Images
ON THE RECORD Kelly's album shipped -- not sold -- over a million copies by the time of the ''Idol'' finale

Q: Did Kelly Clarkson's ''Thankful'' really sell 1.3 million copies in just five short weeks, as Clive Davis announced while presenting her with a platinum album?
A: Technically, only 702,000 copies of her debut album were SOLD by the time the May 21 finale aired. But to justify presenting Clarkson with the much coveted platinum status, the gang at RCA counted the 1.3 million copies shipped to stores nationwide (meaning 600,000 albums were still on store shelves). True, this type of slippery accounting is standard industry practice, but in any case, Miss Kelly has ample reason to be ''Thankful'': Her album will have sold more than a million copies by the time her beachy-keen movie, ''From Justin to Kelly,'' opens on June 13.

Q: The finalists' production number went on without Josh Gracin. Where was the singing serviceman?
A: Turns out the Marine Corps will indulge his pop star dreams only so far. After ''Idol'' voters discharged him May 7, the country-crooning lance corporal went back to work the next day. ''We had to prioritize,'' explains Capt. Shawn Haney, a corps spokeswoman. ''He's got training to do.'' The Marines may allow him to tour with his fellow finalists this summer if his superiors decide the publicity value is great enough. ''We look at it as a way to put a human face on the word 'Marine,''' Haney says.

Q: When can we add Ruben and Clay to our CD collections?
A: An RCA rep says their full-length records could hit stores by fall -- but keep in mind this is the label that said Kelly Clarkson's CD would debut last Nov. 26 (it finally came out in April). For now, though, their first singles are scheduled to drop on time: June 3 for Ruben's ''Flying Without Wings,'' and June 10 for Clay's rendition of ''Bridge Over Troubled Water.''

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Originally posted May 29, 2003
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