Forget a silver spoon. Kelly Osbourne was born with a golden gimmick. Her mother, Sharon, could not have predicted she was carrying the first postmodern multi-media love child.
Eighteen years later, rock 'n' roll, reality TV and red hair (well, for a while) have aligned to make Kelly Osbourne, daughter of Ozzy, an instant pop star. Before The Osbournes had its premiere last year, she was a rich rock- star's kid living in relative privacy. Now, one year and several episodes into a second season, she's a household name, a cheeky chick-mag pinup. And there's no vocal anti-Kelly contingent ... yet.
This month, she released her first album, Shut Up. It turns out Ozzy didn't spawn the Belle of the Headbanger's Ball, but a pop-punk princess. Shut Up features cute-rebel tunes recalling late '70s and early '80s new wave, and has gotten generally favorable, if not resounding, reviews.
Another refreshing thing about Kelly: There's no pretension behind her meteoric rise. We all know how she got here. It's documented. She is her own media machine; her singing career is one story line of this season's The Osbournes.
For Kelly, there was no toiling in dingy clubs, no stints living in her car (a la Jewel), no Mickey Mouse-ing around like Britney and Christina. There's no trickery here. This is privilege pure and simple. And there's something perversely honest in that.
Kelly's success was inevitable. She and her hair are already visible to millions of television viewers. Plus, she possesses a wild style and industrial-strength surname.
She's a rock 'n' roll dream, something any semi-conscious record exec would see in a second. If she can't make it as a rock goddess, something's wrong with America.
Taking advantage of the Osbourne empire should not be held against Kelly. Sure, she was to the manner born (albeit bad manners), and things that many people work lifetimes for simply fell into her marabou-miniskirted lap. So what if her life is a 100 percent pop paradise? At least she's got a real personality -- and the right amount of pounds for a healthy teen. We know her clothes are her choice, and not what some Svengali producer commanded her to wear to boost her assets.
Her passage into pop success was not entirely foreseen, either. Kelly's untelevised sister Aimee was supposed to cut the "Papa Don't Preach" single for an Osbournes album, but she opted out and Kelly inherited the chore. It's not that her karaoke-style vocals were stunning, or her stage presence so commanding. It was a lark, really, but the moment and the music were right. From there, an album of her own was almost too predictable, but thankfully the process was far less painful than on insipid pop-star-in-a-snap series like Making the Band or American Idol.
Speaking of insipid, consider Kelly's many contemporaries. There's milquetoast Michelle Branch, vapid Vanessa Carlton, artificial Avril Lavigne, crusty Christina Aguilera and brain-dead Britney Spears. Kelly, by contrast, was brought up around real rock music, so she has a sense of history. Her musical faves, including Blondie and Joan Jett, reflect much more of an awareness and respect for those who have come before her and have made her Kelly-ness possible. (Britney once said that "I Love Rock and Roll" is one of her favorite Pat Benatar songs; sorry, Joan.)
Kelly's a charmed daughter who's been handed a fantastic chance, and she's taking it -- but, thank God, not too seriously. She's going with the flow. What's she got to lose? Whether her album chews up the charts or she becomes a Trivial Pursuit answer, she'll still be fine.
We know. We see her mansion every week on TV.