Look for several ''American Idol'' alums to make very special guest appearances on the show once the new season starts in January; they've got product to push.
According to USA Today, the promotional onslaught will occur over five weeks, beginning Nov. 2 with the release of I Need an Angel, a gospel album by season 2 winner Ruben Studdard, which includes an R. Kelly-penned title track that hits radios on Oct. 4. The following week, Clay Aiken, Santa's favorite carrot-topped elf and second-season runner-up, will bestow upon us the gift of a traditional Christmas album, including remakes of ''Joy to the World'' and ''Winter Wonderland.'' Look for the requisite TV special and tour too.
Next up on Nov. 23: Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino unveils her as-yet-untitled debut album, on which she is still working in the studio with such collaborators as Missy Elliott and Jermaine Dupri. First-season winner Kelly Clarkson will be back with a new album on Nov. 30; her single ''Breakaway,'' which also appears on the Princess Diaries 2 soundtrack, is already on the charts. And last but not least, Diana DeGarmo, Fantasia's runner-up, will float a first album on Dec. 7 on the heels of the success of her single ''Dreams/Don't Cry Out Loud,'' which sold 175,000 copies.