Kelly Clarkson was the first American Idol winner in 2002, and we’re here to talk about her highlights from her winning season. She has become an inspiration for hopeful contestants. The pop/rock sensation has won three Grammys, hosted her own talk show, and sold over 25 million albums. Like other successful contestants, she was once very young and longing to become a star. “I wanna be on American Idol because I like to perform,” she told the cameras at her audition.
A 20-year-old Kelly tried out for the show in a denim outfit that she made herself. She said that she’d become a fashion designer if the singing thing didn’t work out. The Texas native traveled to Hollywood to compete in the next round. Before she moved on, she played the role of judge. Meanwhile, then-judge and wealthy pop culture icon Randy Jackson acted like a prospective contestant, singing a verse from R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and earning a yes from both Paula and Kelly. Once the fun simmered down, Randy and Paula gave her rendition of “Express Yourself” by Madonna a yes, and Simon gave her a yes, as long as she told Ryan Seacrest to redo his highlights. She let out a scream of excitement that could only be heard in the early 2000s. She yelled “Score!” She did tell Seacrest to fix his hair.
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Throughout her time on the show’s debut season, Kelly performed hits such as “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Stuff Like That There” by Betty Hutton, and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. While performing the Aretha Franklin classic, she blew audiences away with a whistle tone that seemed high enough to touch the sky. Her performance ended with her receiving a rose from a fan who ran onto the stage and mouthed “I love her!” to the cameras. All three highly-paid American Idol judges remarked that she was amazing, phenomenal, and a great singer. Each round, she collected enough votes to be considered safe. She made it to the final show. Watch Kelly’s American Idol journey below:
September 4, 2002, was a day for the history books, as the first-ever American Idol winner was announced. It was down to Kelly and fellow competitor, Justin Guarini. Kelly’s win triggered excitement, applause, and tears from Kelly. Even audience members and the runner-up got very emotional. Her post-victory performance was of her debut single, “A Moment Like This.” During the performance, she sobbed, squealed, and apologized for her emotional state. While crowd members were on their feet, she was joined on the stage by former contestants. They sang backup vocals and helped her to finish the song as she cried.
Kelly will always be an American Idol legend. She is currently a judge on another singing competition, The Voice. On that show, she has led three winners to victory so far. Since her time on American Idol, she has returned to the show’s stage as a guest performer. She has also become the only show winner to have a song choice week dedicated to her.
Next: The Voice: Kelly Clarkson’s Salary & How Much Money She’s Made On Show
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