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Barbie auditions for 'American Idol'
No. 1 toymaker Mattel set to unveil new dolls for spring and fall based on Fox's hit reality show.
January 24, 2005: 12:06 PM EST
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer
Barbie, Simone and Tori are ready to be the next
Barbie, Simone and Tori are ready to be the next "American Idol."
The new Barbie Fairytopia DVD will hit stores this spring; Sears will carry a line of Barbie-branded hues for the wall.
The new Barbie Fairytopia DVD will hit stores this spring; Sears will carry a line of Barbie-branded hues for the wall.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Will Randy, Paula and Simon give Barbie and her doll friends a triple thumbs up or a triple thumbs down?

As far as Mattel (Research) is concerned, it doesn't really matter how the three celebrity judges from Fox's reality show "American Idol" vote in this round of auditions, because the toymaker is letting Barbie fans decide who will become the winning "American Idol" doll.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel, the No. 1 toymaker, is rolling out the 2005 American Idol Barbie set in stores this month, with another one due in the fall.

According to the company, the spring playset revolves around a show stage, special outfits and three dolls, including Barbie and her two friends, Simone and Tori.

The idea is that the three girls are auditioning for a spot on "American Idol," on which contestants showcase their singing abilities.

The fall playset -- expected to hit stores in July -- includes the "Rockin' Recording Studio" with a karaoke machine and a make-believe record contract for the eventual winner.

Each of the three dolls are priced at $19.99. The show stage will retail for $19.99 and the "Rockin' Recording Studio" has a price tag of $49.99.

And just like all the former real American Idol winners, the winning doll will also have her very own Mustang convertible -- although her toy version, priced at $14.99, costs considerably less than Kelly Clarkson's real one.

Mattel is also expanding its Barbie-related entertainment offerings for 2005. For the first time, the company is scheduling a spring release of the new "Barbie Fairytopia" DVD, the theme obviously centers around a world of flittering fairies. Additionally, an original Barbie princess fairytale movie is scheduled for the fall.

Despite the longevity of its marquee brand, Mattel has been struggling with declining sales of Barbie as trends have shifted towards a fresh breed of cooler and edgier dolls such as MGA Entertainment's line of Bratz dolls.

In fact, worldwide Barbie sales fell 13 percent in the company's last quarter. Industry watchers say Mattel is making an effort to rejuvenate the brand. For instance, the company last year brought out a Barbie line of clothes, accessories and perfume for adult women.

This year, Barbie connoisseurs can look forward to Barbie-branded paint colors that will be available in Sears' Sherwin-Williams paint aisles in March.  Top of page

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