Idol Chatter: She didn't win, but she is a star

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Rejected 'American Idol' contestant Temptresse Browne, 16, in her South Philadelphia home. (Entertainment Tonight /Art Rubalcava)

Temptresse Browne, the "American Idol" wannabe from South Philadelphia who prompted Simon Cowell to show a more humane side on last week's show, may not be headed to Los Angeles, but she's a rock star anyway.

At least she is to her classmates at Paul Robeson High School for Human Services, where the teen is a junior.

The day after the Jan. 15 "Idol" aired, Browne, 16, couldn't walk through the hallways of the school, on Ludlow Street near South 41st, without getting props for her audition segment.

"Goodness gracious, Lord have mercy," Browne said of that day, smiling at the memory. "I couldn't go to none of my classes that day."

Instead, a teacher and a school police officer had to escort her to the second-floor computer lab, where she stayed all day, excused from class.

The next day, the classmates started asking for autographs and wanted to snap pictures with the teen, a young girl who has been teased in the past, family members said.

"It was just crazy, everybody was yelling my name," she said, during an exclusive interview at her home with her parents, Diane Browne, 43, and Reggie Reed, 46.

The fuss over Temptresse began after her five-minutes-and-27-seconds of national fame hit the air and the Internet. Her persistence and tears combined with a heartfelt reaction from "Idol" judges made Temptresse's story memorable.

Bloggers were touched and so were "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," which have a contract with Temptresse and her family.

The shows plan to profile the family on their respective shows tonight, beginning with "ET" at 7 p.m. and "The Insider" at 7:30 p.m., both on CBS 3.

The family hopes producers can help them lift themselves from their difficult situation: both Reggie and Diane are unemployed.

"Well, right now, we are talking about things, we're negotiating things," said Diane Browne, who weighs 626 pounds and is confined to a wheelchair. "We haven't put anything in stone."

Producers hope that their story will inspire others, and move the family toward positive changes in their lives.

"At the end of the day, really, you look at these people . . . and you say: 'You know what? Is there something we can do that can help them step forward?' " said Kevin Frazier, "ET" weekend anchor/correspondent, who was present during the interview.

His "Insider" colleague, correspondent Thomas Roberts, believes Temptresse is a winner.

"She's not going to win on the show, but she's definitely going to win with her desire to help her family," said Roberts, also present in the Browne home.

During Temptresse's "American Idol" segment, she was interviewed by Ryan Seacrest and told him that she was auditioning because she "wanted to do it for myself and the other thing is to do it for my mother."

When she went before the "Idol" judges - Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson - they took a liking to her. Then, she sang the "Dreamgirls" song "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," which didn't exactly wow the trio. Her tears and her persistence to try to win them over with another chance prompted the judges to give Temptresse a group hug.

And then, the judges walked her out of the audition room, back to her parents. Cowell showed his heart to Temptresse and the "Idol" viewers nationwide.

Diane Browne and Reed were "surprised" at the kindness shown by Cowell.

"I was shocked for one," Diane Browne said, regarding Cowell's reaction to Temptresse in the audition room. "Simon said that he really liked Temptresse. I always painted him, excuse the expression, as a cad. A person of very low character, but I was surprised that he treated her like she was a decent human being.

"I was proud of that," she said.

Her desire to help her family touched viewers, Roberts and Frazier said.

When she walked out of the room in tears, "you knew what Temptresse was about," Frazier said. "It wasn't like, 'Oh, I didn't make it on "American Idol," I'm a little hurt.' She was like, 'My family needs this' and I think that's what touched a chord with people in America." *