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Kelly Clarkson

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Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is a Grammy Award-winning American pop and rock singer-songwriter, and occasional actress. Clarkson rose to prominence after winning the first season of the reality-television series American Idol in 2002. Signed to RCA Records, she was initially marketed as a pop musician with her commercially successful debut album Thankful (2003). Clarkson took more creative control over her music and developed a more rock-oriented image for the release of her second album Breakaway (2004), which yielded the highest sales of her career and received two Grammy Awards. Clarkson has released numerous worldwide top-ten singles, and her two albums to date have received platinum certifications in several countries.

Once Kelly Clarkson returned to Burleson, several of her friends encouraged her to audition for the 2002 debut of the reality television program American Idol. Entering the competition alongside ten thousand others, the judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were impressed with her voice. She earned a position in the top thirty finalists and week-by-week, performed a song on live television to North America. When American Idol concluded each week, the viewers would vote based on the performance they enjoyed the most. Clarkson sang a rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" which garnered her a top ten position. Other songs Clarkson performed on American Idol include Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman", Badfinger's "Without You", and Céline Dion's "I Surrender".

Kelly Clarkson performed at the Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial on September 11, 2002 following her win on American Idol. Clarkson had made it to the final two contestants on American Idol, and on September 4, 2002, she won the competition, earning 58% of the audience vote over Justin Guarini. Choking back tears, Clarkson performed the ballad "A Moment Like This", the song written for the winner of American Idol, which would subsequently appear on her debut album Thankful. The song's music video was filmed in an abandoned theatre and incorporated short scenes of Clarkson performing on Idol. When released as a single in October 2002, it set a still-standing record on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart when it rose from number fifty-two to number one. This achievement was largely due to the impact from Idol as the CD single managed to sell 236,000 copies in its first week of sales in the U.S.; it spent five weeks at number one in Canada, and remains as Clarkson's only number-one single there.

Shortly after the completion of the first season of American Idol, Clarkson had been accused of working with a record company. American Idol rules stated that a contestant was not allowed to compete on the program if they had been linked to a record company. However, she was cleared of all allegations, as she had only had a contract in order to conduct demonstration work.

In December 2003, a competition titled World Idol was held in London, England, gathering the winners of the first seasons of Idol from across the globe. Clarkson placed second behind Norwegian Idol Kurt Nilsen. She performed Aretha Franklin's "A Natural Woman". Because she left immediately after the competition she was chided by some in the media for what they saw as poor sportsmanship.

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