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NEW YORK — Avril Lavigne, Canada’s 17-year-old rocking pixie, has won over teenagers everywhere with her punk antics — publicly dissing Britney Spears, eating a cockroach on MTV — but after only three months in the game, Lavigne’s anti-establishment status is already in serious jeopardy. The girl just can’t help it: Her debut album “Let Go” was released in June and already the establishment is wild for her. She’s done Rolling Stone, Seventeen, YM, Elle Girl, Interview, Time, People, USA Today, US Weekly, “Regis and Kelly,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” She’ll do “Good Morning America” Thursday morning and on Thursday night Lavigne also is up for Best New Artist at MTV’s Video Music Awards. And, oh yeah, her album has gone double platinum.

An audience packed with her peers chanted “Ah-vril, Ah-vril,” rapt as Lavigne belted out one raw rock hit after another at a show in early August at Irving Plaza.

This story first appeared in the August 28, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Whas’ up, guys?” she said, acknowledging her fans between songs with a flick of her long straight hair. “I chipped my tooth on that one but it was worth it.” With a pogo hop, Lavigne set off across the stage, punching her tiny fist in the air and singing in a booming voice beyond her years and her diminutive frame. She even took a ride out into the crowds on the shoulders of the nearest bouncer. And then it was over.

The Gwen-abes in the audience still sported Stefani’s signature striped cuff sleeves. But it probably won’t be long before they trade them in for Lavigne’s studded bracelets and boyish ties — just in time for school. Meanwhile, after the August concert, the teens, still breathless, spilled out onto the sidewalk, where their anxious parents waited. “We were in the mosh pit!” one girl in braces told her mom. “And we were getting stomped on.”

“Oh my God,” said another, who couldn’t have been more than 16. “That was, like, the best show I’ve ever seen!”

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