Relive Kelly Clarkson’s Journey to Victory on First-Ever Season of American Idol

by Madison Miller

Back before she was releasing No.1 hits, popping up on the radio, and being a huge powerhouse at award shows, Kelly Clarkson was fighting for fame on “American Idol.”

Kelly Clarkson starred in the very first season of the show. After her level of success, the show continued for several seasons to come. With it also came stars like Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, and Jennifer Hudson.

So, if you have a hard to remembering her time on the show, which is fair seeing as it was in 2002, we’re going to recap her time on the hit competition show.

Kelly Clarkson’s Time on ‘American Idol’

Since the show has been on, it’s faced a lot of changes. From different hosts to formats to even being canceled and brought back.

In 2002, Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman hosted the show.

Before the show, Clarkson had sent a few demos to recording companies. However, she turned down two different record deals. Right before coming on the show, she was actually homeless. Her L.A. apartment went up in flames and she had to stay in her car for a bit.

She did her first audition in front of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson. She sang “Express Yourself” by Madonna as her first-ever performance. From there, she was sent along to Hollywood Week. She conquered through the first few rounds. She eventually sang “Respect” by Aretha Franklin as her final ticket into the live show.

Here, she sang everything from “Natural Women” by Aretha Franklin to “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls to “I Surrender” by Celine Dion.

The singer’s time on the show was marked by powerful ballads that were emotional and continued to show off her vocal strength. Each week was another opportunity to show just how much of a powerhouse performer she was. She has been compared to singers like Mariah Carey and Céline Dion.

She was going against Justin Guarini for the title at the very end.

Unknown Facts about Clarkson and the Show

Kelly and Justin made it to the very end together, but they also had some romantic feelings along the way.

According to an article from Daily News, Kelly Clarkson confirmed that the two dated after the show stopped filming. The two did not last for very long.

That first season was a transition time for a lot of people. Ryan Seacrest got used to a co-host, only to end up alone thereafter for the majority of the show. Paula Abdul told Entertainment Weekly that she quit eight times just on her first day. She would then stay for eight seasons.

“But how can you do poker face when the guy to the left of you [Simon] is continuously saying things that are absolutely horrible, and then you have Randy to the right that’s holding sheets of paper over his face and his shoulders are going up and down laughing? It was horrible. There was so much going on. And by the way, I was the only one who was an artist and understood what it was like to be putting yourself out there,” Abdul said.

The show had a lot of obstacles, especially its first season. Part of the contract for the winner was starring in a movie. Clarkson admitted that she didn’t see herself as an actor and didn’t want to win and star in the film. Even after winning the show, Clarkson had no idea it would bring her the level of fame she has today.

Her first single after “American Idol” was “A Moment Like This.” This song broke the record for the fastest jump to No.1 on the Billboard charts.

Now, she continues to dominate in music. She is a judge on “The Voice” and even has her own show called “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”