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‘Idol’ devotion knows no bounds

No offense to Syesha or Carly or Jason or Michael.

But much of the love outside the Sprint Center before their American Idols Live concert Friday was aimed squarely and largely at hometown boy and this year’s winner, David Cook.

Former contestants of the hit show have been on a cross-country tour since their July 1 kickoff in Arizona. But even before Cook and his companions hit Kansas City, one fan posted this on the “American Idol” discussion board:

“I am totally freaking out!!! 2 DAYS LEFT UNTIL I SEE HOTNESS!!!!!!!!!!!! YAYAYAYAY!! GO D.C.!!!”

Fans showed up at the Sprint Center as early as 9 a.m. for the 7 p.m. concert. They weren’t worried about long, slow lines getting in and didn’t have to. That proved a nonissue Friday night for a crowd made up largely of 20-somethings, older women and smatterings of men in the company of women and girls.

The early birds came to catch a glimpse of their favorite “Idol” singers arriving in motor coaches from Oklahoma City, where they had performed the night before.

After they arrived in early afternoon, a couple of the stars — Jason “I can’t even look at his eyes, they’re so piercing!” Castro and David “He’s so cute!” Archuleta — came out and shook hands and signed autographs for the early fans lined up on the sidewalk in front of the Sprint Center.

One woman of a “certain age” apparently couldn’t keep her hands off of “Archie.”

Castro doodled on the powder-blue Jason Castro T-shirts worn by Peggy McGonigle and her 9-year-old daughter, Lilly, of Kansas City.

You can bet those T-shirts will never be washed.

McGonigle gushed about the dreadlock-wearing Castro. “He inspired me at age 50 to learn how to play the guitar,” she said.

As word passed that Cook himself wouldn’t come out and meet fans until after the show, fans beat a hasty retreat from the hot concrete outside the glass-bowl arena to their air-conditioned hotel rooms, Power Light District restaurants and the sidewalk on the shady side of Grand Boulevard.

At 4 p.m., girlfriends Holly Smith and Becky Smith, no relation, had the sidewalk outside the center to themselves. The two became best friends online, as many “Idol” fans do, and carpooled three hours to Kansas City from Nebraska to see Cook.

They call their brethren fans David Cook’s Cookie Jar and have even adopted “cookie” nicknames.

Becky, 35, who provides day care in her Omaha home, calls herself “Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.”

They came bearing gifts for their guy. An Omaha Royals T-shirt. A Nebraska Cornhuskers T-shirt. A folder full of fawning fan letters from members of their group. They planned to press them into Cook’s hands themselves after the concert.

Antionette Guadagnano, 27, who has a David Cook ringtone on her cell phone, brought Cook a gift too: A 20-foot, 12-pound banner that has been passed from concert city to concert city and signed by members of the fan club she leads on

www.myspace.com

.

Each of the “Idol” singers, she said, has strong Internet fan bases and supporters who are fiercely protective of them.

Guadagnano, who lives in Blue Springs and went to the same high school as Cook, would know. During this last season she was banned for a while from the official “American Idol” Web site for being a tad too strong in defending Cook from his detractors.

Her online, Cook-loving compatriot, Mallory Miley, a 22-year-old college student from Alabama, drove 16 hours to Kansas City with her mother to see Friday’s show with Guadagnano.

It turns out that Miley is the lucky one who, during one “Idol” show, called in and asked Cook whether he was single.

“Yes. Yes. Yes,” was his answer.

Good, good, good, said his fans.

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