Miranda Cosgrove has been has been playing plucky Web hostess Carly Shay on Nickeldeon's ever-popular iCarly since 2007. Now, at 17, she's prepping her first concert tour, looking into colleges and planning to do more movies. So where does that leave iCarly?
Cosgrove says the thought of outgrowing the show has crossed her mind. "When we first started the show, I was just so excited to be on it, and I still am," she says. "But now that we're getting older, I do wonder what the show will be like in the future."
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For now, iCarly is still pretty darn cool. Just ask the legions of spaghetti taco eaters, or the millions of viewers who continue to tune in. (On cable, iCarly is outnumbered only by sports and Jersey Shore.) Cosgrove counts herself a big a fan, too; she's seen every single episode.
After 75 episodes — and counting — she says it helps that the actors are all friends off-camera. "It's hard being with the same people every day for 10 or more hours for three years," she says. "The fact that we get along so well, I mean, we love each other, it helps a lot."
Carly, Sam (Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (Nathan Kress), have also begun to act more and more like the actors who play them. Cosgrove says: "The writers know us so well that they usually write in stuff taken from our real lives... Like how Spencer (Jerry Trainor) always sets things on fire." (She's only half-kidding.)
During Monday's episode ("iDo," 8/7c on Nickelodeon), Cosgrove's real-life singing career will emerge when Carly performs "Shakespeare" from her album Sparks Fly. (Why? On the show, an iCarly fan will propose to his girlfriend on the Web show and the gang will be invited to their wedding. When cold feet strike, Carly will have to serenade them back together.)
It all means fans can go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief — Cosgrove isn't going anywhere for now: "Really, I love making iCarly. I wouldn't mind making it for a long time."
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While the show is on hiatus, Cosgrove will begin her first-ever tour. She promises confetti. Also pyro. "I want it to be a good time. I want to bring people on stage," she says.
Cosgrove says singing and dancing on stage took some getting use to. "It's so different. On iCarly, we don't have an audience. It's a whole different energy having people right in front of you," she says. "The first few times I performed I was wildly nervous."
When she sang on NBC's Today show last month, the teen couldn't believe fans had waited to see her. "I was surprised. I didn't expect anyone to come that early. It was like, 'Really?' I was personally thanking everyone the whole morning."
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But music isn't the only thing weighing on her mind. Cosgrove will also be juggling her studies.
She's taking the SATs next month, and choosing a college is a priority. "I want to go to USC really bad," she says. "I'm from Los Angeles and my dad went there, so he's been talking to me about it for a long time ... But I also like the idea of going somewhere new like New York and getting away from LA for a little while."
Cosgrove says it won't mean a significant break from acting, in any case. She most recently lent her voice to the animated kids film Despicable Me, and is hoping more comedy is on the way. "I've seen all the Judd Apatow movies, and I'd love to have a really funny little part in one of them some day," she says.
Before iCarly, Cosgrove was best known for her role in the Jack Black film School of Rock. "I just love making people laugh," she says.
Check out an exclusive clip from "iDo."