Artist of the Week: Sara Bareilles

While some of her contemporaries exit cars sans underwear en route to clubs where they'll drunkenly hobble on tabletops 'til they fall over before attempting to mow down papparazi en route to the night's fourth after party, Sara Bareilles loves Golden Girls reruns, snacks on pizza, and thoughtfully gives the members of her band a Wii to play on their new tour bus.

Sara Bareilles grew up on several acres of Redwood forest in Northern California, where she did musical theater and was voted most talented in high school. She performed in an a cappella group in college at UCLA. Sara Bareilles loves Ani DiFranco, gushes over her friends' band -- Raining Jane -- and adores Broadway musicals. She favors Chuck Taylors over stilettos. Her website features Flash animation of a whimsical little dancing stick figure girl. She Twitters. These are not the trappings of a rock star, yet her major label debut, Little Voice, has quietly but swiftly sold over a million copies worldwide on the wings of her soaring hit, "Love Song," which she wrote as a tongue-in-cheek eff-you to her record label. The song's become a post-feminist, stalwart anthem for everyone from young girls experiencing their first crush, to their moms, to even the most hardened music snobs who can't deny the intelligent, earnest awareness of Sara Bareilles' songwriting and the soothing, warm-blanket comfort of her rich, bluesy, anything-but-little voice.

Sara Bareilles, the disarmingly down-to-earth singer-songwriter, who picked up a prestigious ASCAP Vanguard Award earlier this year, is the girl next door, only smarter, more talented, and in the running to become our modern-day Joni Mitchell. "My role is to defend and preserve my songs," she told Britain's Times Online. "That’s all I have. I have only ever wanted to be me: the small-town, dorky tomboy with my heart on my sleeve."

Ironically, as a tween, she auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club and blew the audition. A woeful glance in the direction of one specific, tragically infamous Mickey Mouse Club alum makes us wonder if perhaps the failed attempt was meant to be. Next to desperate, addled, rattled former performers in pink wigs, we'll take the "dorky" down-to-earth smart-girl any day.

+ Watch Sara Bareilles' videos and exclusive TRL performance of "Love Song," and read Buzzworthy's exclusive interviews with Sara here and here. And, of course, check out behind-the-scenes photos from the set of her MTV Artist of the Week video shoot, where Sara was surrounded by her own Broadway lite cast of dancers, check out her Artist of the Week performances and clips here, and watch her full-length performance of"Bottle It Up" and a clip of "Fairytale" below.

+ More photos after the jump.