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Somewhere around the turn of the millennium, a few television execs in the U.S. got together and started musing over the success of the British show Pop Idol. Gathering a bunch of random hopefuls on stage and having them belt out evergreens to a vicious jury who would then do their best to reduce them to tears, then having a musically uneducated audience decide the fate of each singer via text message? What a brilliant idea, and why hadn’t American television thought of it? The result: as of June 11, 2002, workers across America (and neighbouring Canada) have had a new water-cooler subject in the office every morning. The first episode of American Idol aired on that day, and the show has been a hit ever since. For anyone who’s been in a coma the past few years, let’s recap: the show is basically a singing competition. Hopefuls aged twenty-eight and under get up on stage and sing in front of judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and mean old music executive Simon Cowell.
The whole bonanza is hosted by the It Guy of music industry emceeing, Ryan Seacrest. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Going back to that first competition back in 2002, it was a tense September evening when fifty million eager viewers gathered in front of their TV screens, wanting to know who would take home the title of the very first American Idol. Finally, the votes were in: Kelly Clarkson had beat out Justin Guirani. Kelly Clarkson was the very first American Idol! Before you dismiss kelly clarkson as just some girl who won a pop contest, dig a little deeper into the kelly clarkson biography and find out just how deserving of the title she really is.
The April 24, 1982 born singer lived a turbulent childhood in Texas. Her parents split up when kelly clarkson was just six years old. Kelly Clarkson and her two siblings were split up, and kelly clarkson stayed alone with her mother. The family struggled financially, and money-related arguments were commonplace. For this reason, kelly clarkson started nurturing her Miss Independent spirit young, vowing to herself to be financially responsible as soon as possible. The way to financial independence, kelly clarkson realized, was singing. She realized this early on, somewhere around the age of thirteen, when she sang Mariah Carey’s Vision of Love at a high school show. An admirer in the audience approached her and offered the following words of wisdom: "God has given you this gift. You've got to sing. You're destined to sing." Kelly clarkson took these words to heart. She began training, knowing that her family didn’t have much money, and hoping that her musical abilities might earn her a scholarship.
Unlike so many of today’s big female pop singers, who seem to have had at least one parent holding their hand throughout their teenage years, nudging them towards teenage stardom, kelly clarkson spent her teenage years at work. She worked a whole host of odd jobs, from Starbucks to porch builder to door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales. (Later, when asked about the experience, she quipped, “It sucked.”) Kelly Clarkson’s scholarship dream came true: she got offered two of them. However, by this point, Kelly Clarkson was already a Miss Independent of sorts: she’d already written so much music that she felt ready to try and break into stardom on her own. She continued to work odd jobs to finance her demo tape. The brave kelly clarkson eventually moved to Hollywood in search of musical opportunities. She almost found one—a mentorship under songwriter Gerry Goffin—but when her mentor fell ill, kelly clarkson found herself having to snap up random gigs like appearing on Sabrina the Teenage Witch just to survive. Don’t go cringing just yet, because it gets harder: after a mere four months in Hollywood, kelly clarkson’s home burned down.
At this point in the kelly clarkson biography, the aspiring songstress got understandably discouraged. She packed her bags and returned to Texas, and to odd-jobbing. At the encouragement of friends, kelly clarkson auditioned for American Idol. Ten thousand Americans nationwide auditioned altogether, so you can imagine what an honor it was for kelly clarkson to win. A tearful kelly clarkson performed A Moment Like This, the song that had been written for the American Idol winner, and which later appeared on her debut album, the appropriately titled Thankful. The song that won over non-American Idol addicts as kelly clarkson fans was Thankful’s second single, Miss Independent. Another popular song was The Trouble With Love Is, which appeared on the soundtrack for the heart-tugging 2004 romantic comedy Love Actually. With her second album, the even more appropriately titled Breakaway, kelly clarkson tried to break away from her American Idol image and become simply kelly clarkson the singer. She attempted to switch her image and style away from pop, and more towards rock.
The album contained the radio airtime guzzler Since U Been Gone, and was generally well received by critics, who loved kelly clarkson’s powerhouse voice and thumbs-upped her refusal to stick to her bubblegum American Idol image. If Kelly Clarkson had her way, then never again kelly clarkson and American Idol would in the same sentence exist. People also praised Kelly Clarkson’s good looks. Girls worldwide tried to copy kelly clarkson hairstyles. It could be said that, when it came to kelly clarkson hairstyles, kelly clarkson was still an idol of sorts. Another incredibly popular single was Because of You. As far as kelly clarkson lyrics go, these ones were mildly disturbing. “Because of You, I never stray too far from the sidewalk,” these particular kelly clarkson lyrics moan. Is this really the kind of defeatist attitude an idol should be promoting? Even kelly clarkson herself was surprised when this mediocre song won Song of the Year: “Honestly, I thought it was a joke. Song of the year? I can name a lot of songs that are better then my songs.” Consideing we live in age where pop singers have no qualms about ordering a jet load of freshly bottled Evian shipped over to them nightly at bathtime, this little bit of humbleness was a refreshing addition to the music world.
Recently, kelly clarkson has been all over the celebrity gossip sites because of her feud with music producer Clyde Davis, who apparently is not a fan of the latest Kelly Clarkson CD, My December. Basically, Clyde had wanted to call in a team of songwriters, while Miss Independent insisted on writing her old songs. Kelly Clarkson made sure that old man Davis didn’t get the last word in the argument: “I get [that] you don’t like the album. You’re 80; you’re not supposed to like my album.” Ouch. Perhaps not the kindest, or smartest, thing to say to the man who’s footing your album production bill. Then again, this is Miss Independent we’re talking about.