Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson got their stardom via a competition, not unlike a Miss America Pageant [“Idol Minds,” April 7]. They haven’t paid any dues by playing in honky-tonks or set foot in venues like the old Continental Baths, where it really was something for Bette Midler to hold the attention of half-naked men who’d rather focus on each other! Their performance has been shaped by call-in computer demographics. Can we really fault the end product we created? American Idol is potato chips for the ears. We know it’s bad for us, but you can’t eat just one.