The winner of Fox TV's first American Idol: The Search for a Superstar competition, during the summer of 2002 Kelly Clarkson went from an anonymous talent to a nationally known singer performing for an audience of millions of viewers.
One of the show's most naturally gifted singers, the 20 year-old Burleson, TX native's vocal talents were discovered when she was in seventh grade, when her school's choir teacher heard her singing and urged Clarkson to join the choir. After high school, Clarkson cultivated her voice and went to Hollywood to make her name; she appeared as an extra on an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch but no other opportunities materialized. Upon returning to Burleson, Clarkson worked at a movie theater, promoted Red Bull energy drinks and ultimately worked as a cocktail waitress at a comedy club before entering the American Idol contest.
One of 10,000 aspiring singers, Clarkson distinguished herself not only with her big, surprisingly mature voice, but also with her down-to-earth charm and sense of humor: at one of her auditions, she switched places with judge Randy Jackson, who did an impromptu version of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." Over the course of the 13-week show, her consistently strong performances of songs like "Respect," "Natural Woman," "Stuff Like That There" and "Without You" earned Clarkson enough audience votes to claim one of the contest's two finalist positions. After singing "A Moment Like This" and "Before Your Love," both of which were written for the show, Clarkson won the American Idol contest with 58 percent of the audience's votes. In addition to the show's prize of a $1 million recording contract with RCA, Clarkson secured a deal with Creative Artists Agency and several bookings, including the national American Idol tour and a performance of the national anthem at the September 11 commemoration at Washington, DC's Lincoln Memorial.
Despite her newfound fame, Clarkson opted to remain in Texas rather than move to New York or Los Angeles. Her first single, A Moment Like This, was released just two weeks after she won the contest and quickly earned platinum sales. Clarkson's self-titled full-length album -- which was rumored to include a duet with the contest's runner-up, curly-haired heartthrob Justin Guarini -- was released in spring of 2003, just in time to coincide with the second season of American Idol and right before the American Idol movie, From Justin to Kelly.
Small Screen Scoop
D-FW's Amber Carrington pays homage to Kelly Clarkson on 'The Voice'
Dallas Morning News (blog)
Rockwall's Amber Carrington continued her stay on NBC's “The Voice” Monday night with a power rendition of Kelly Clarkson's “Breakaway.” How's that for a little hometown nod? Carrington, who's traditionally a country singer, earned good reviews for her ...
Kelly Clarkson Sarcastically Slams Pink After Cancelled Concert!
Pink has taken a lot of flack for having to cancel a concert this week. But there's at least one fan who has her back- Kelly Clarkson! The Since U Been Gone singer used sarcasm to point out how ridiculous some fans' expectations apparently were. She ...
ABC News (blog)
Kelly Clarkson Defends Pink: 'We're All Human. Relax.'
ABC News (blog)
Kelly Clarkson is standing by her friend Pink after the latter was forced to cancel a show in England because of illness and was unable to reschedule it. Reacting to fans who complained about Pink scrapping the show in Birmingham, England, last month ...
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