Kelly Clarkson (a.k.a. my favorite American Idol) held court Sunday night for a sold-out crowd at the theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden. That is, once she showed up. She was late. Very late. Fortunately, the evening’s sponsors (Samsung and T-Mobile) had the foresight to allow the crowd to entertain themselves by sending text messages to a number that would project them on to the theater’s Jumbotron screens. My five faves:

5. If ur from Jersey put ur hands in the air
4. We’re missing Desperate Housewives
3. Make some noise if ur mom brought u here
2. Um, Kelly, it’s a school night

And the all-time best TM of the night…

1. Is Justin Guarini opening?

A gazillion TMs later, the show began. Now, I’m not afraid to admit that I love Kelly Clarkson. Some would even call it a crush. My top five reasons why I love the Texan cutie:

5. Her fans don’t try to make up weird names for themselves (No Clarksonsanddaughters to be had…).
4. She can actually sing! Her rendition of Annie Lennox’s 1992 hit ”Why” had a crowd of teenagers singing along to every word.
3. U2: $160 a ticket. Clarkson: a mere $35 a pop.
2. The crowd (a mix of teens, parents of teens, and, er, me) was all appropriately dressed. No visible bellybuttons anywhere.
1. Girlfriend is down with her peeps. Not only did she accept (and immediately dress herself in) gifts from the audience — more on that later — but in lieu of ending the concert in a puff of smoke, Kelly hung out at the front of the stage to sign autographs.

But well, sometimes, the girl worries me. My top five reasons why:

5. If and when your fans throw you, say, a red trucker hat, a pink cowboy hat, or a camouflage AC/DC shirt, thank them profusely, hand them off to a roadie, but for Seacrest’s sake, Kelly, don’t put them on. Putting aside basic hygiene for a minute, trucker hats are so 2004 – even if it does have your name on it.
4. I love that K.C. has her vanity in check, but doesn’t the blond Kelly kind of look like a less shapely Tara Reid? I’m just saying…
3. You only have two albums — and you’re already forgetting the words.
2. I know you won two Moonmen at the MTV VMAs in August (congrats, btw, you totally deserved to win), but starting the concert an hour late? Half your audience has a curfew, the other half are old and we (I mean, they) aren’t used to staying up this late.
1. You know how you’re supposed to take off one accessory before leaving the house? Two words: Madonna glove.

Okay, G2G. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves about Miss Independent. TTYL.

addCredit(“Kelly Clarkson: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images”)