January 18, 2006 -- 'AMERICAN Idol" producers have some words for first- season winner Kelly Clarkson: Don't forget your roots.
The pop singing sensation has apparently failed to sign off on allowing "Idol" to use her songs during its fifth season, which began last night.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says he believes it's all a paperwork misunderstanding and said that he has calls into Clarkson's business manager.
But Simon Cowell warned that if Clarkson was trying to disassociate herself from the monster TV talent show that made her famous it would be career suicide.
"That [would be] a big mistake," he told a group of reporters yesterday.
"When they walk away from the show and try to forget . . . it's not the show itself [that is affected], it's the people who bothered to vote week after week.
"They're the people who put her where she is today. And I think that by ignoring the show, you're ignoring the audience that put you there."
A spokesman for Clarkson could not be immediately reached for comment yesterday.
Despite Cowell's sharp words, the judge admitted that Clarkson's success is crucial to the show.
"Kelly Clarkson's been so important to this competition," Cowell said. "The fact that her second album has done better than her first album, it makes people want to win this show. ''