NEW YORK – Kelly Clarkson may not be the doe-eyed amateur she appeared to be when she won American Idol last summer.
Clarkson may have already had a recording contract -- and was in the middle of making a record for someone else -- when she showed up to audition for the show, Star magazine is reporting.
If true, that means Clarkson may have violated the show's rule about being an amateur with no prior professional singing experience.
According to Star, Clarkson -- who got a $1 million recording contract that spawned her No. 1 song "A Moment Like This" when she won the talent show -- was already recording an album with three producers (including Carole King's ex-husband, Gerry Goffin) before appearing on the show.
"She knew what she was doing, but it's coming back to haunt her in a big, big way," a source tells Star. "She's trying to make herself out as this innocent American sweetheart -- now it's coming out she's a phony and a liar."
According to the show's rules, contestants had to be complete amateurs and each of them signed releases stating they had never recorded anything.
Noted songwriters Michael Blum, Barry Goldberg and Goffin now claim they had Clarkson under contract a month before the Idol auditions began, the magazine says.
"She signed a production agreement with us in early March to record a full slate of 12 songs for an album, but after doing five wonderful songs, she walked out," Goldberg tells Star.
"The next time I saw her was on TV a couple of months later competing on American Idol. It came as quite a shock."
Blum, Goldberg and Goffin have hired hotshot Hollywood lawyer Jay Cooper in an effort to get three of the songs released.
Officials for Fox and 19 Productions, the management company behind American Idol, declined to comment yesterday on the allegations.
Clarkson, a 20-year-old cocktail waitress from Texas, beat out Justin Guarini to snare the American Idol crown and signed a two-year deal with 19 Entertainment.
Her shot to the top of the Billboard charts in record time, and she'll star in the Idol movie, From Justin to Kelly, which begins filming next month.