Monday, February 13, 2012

#48 Kelly Clarkson

This entry may be a shock to many American Idol viewers. Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 48 American Idol finalist, the original American Idol Kelly Clarkson. She rose to prominence after the winning the first season of American Idol. Before her time on American Idol she worked as a waitress. Unlike most other American Idol viewers, I am not a big fan of her. Dressed in black, she performed a duet with Jason Aldean at the Grammy Award show last night. She was ranked at number 1 on The Los Angeles Times 120 American Idol contestants power rankings chart of May 31, 2010. She finished as the runner-up to Norway's Kurt Nielsen on the television special, World Idol. In 2003, Clarkson released her debut album, Thankful, which was a commercial success and established herself in the pop music industry. The pre-album release of its first single, "A Moment Like This", which was later covered by Leona Lewis and later by many others, broke The Beatles' record record for the biggest leap to number one, from 52, in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. After parting ways with her management, Clarkson developed a more rock-oriented music with the release of her critically acclaimed 2004 sophomore album, Breakway, which sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and which garnered Clarkson more worldwide success as a pop rock artist. The album's pre-release single, "Because of You", became the best-selling single by an Idol contestant worldwide. In 2007, Clarkson took full creative control for her third album My December, which had had a more rock-inspired sound and was met with controversy and moderate success. Clarkson later returned to a more pop-oriented sound with her fourth studio album All I Ever Wanted which was released in 2009 and was commercially successful and critically acclaimed. The album's lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", currently holds the record for biggest leap to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, breaking her own record of "A Moment Like This" as well as earning her first number-one single in the United Kingdom. Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger, was released in October 2011, preceded by the lead single "Mr. Know It All" which peaked within top ten in eight countries. That song contains misandric lyrics, and that is one reason why I ranked her at number 48 as of 2011. The second single of the album Stronger, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)",  was released in January 2012, and became Clarkson's third number-one single in the United States.

Clarkson is the most successful American Idol contestant ever, with Carrie Underwood being the second most successful, and Jennifer Hudson being the third most successful. According to Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, Clarkson sold 24 million records and 39 million singles worldwide. Clarkson's work also earned her numerous accolades, including two Grammy awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and one Women's World Award. Billboard also ranked Clarkson the number 14 artist of the 2000s, as well as also being ranked on the top 200 album sellers of the Nielsen SoundScan era at number 187.

Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born on April 24, 1982, in Fort Worth, Texas. She was raised in a small town called Burleston, Texas. She is the youngest of three children. Her mother Jeanne Rose is a first grade English of Greek descent. Her father Stephen Michael Clarkson is a former engineer of British descent. Her oldest sibling Jason is the only boy of the three. The middle one is Alyssa. At the age of six, Clarkson's parents divorced after seventeen years of marriage. The family settled in Burleson, where Clarkson's mother married her second husband, Jimmy Taylor. Clarkson's family struggled financially, and after her parents divorced, music became her refuge. Clarkson attended Pauline G Hughes Middle School and Burleston High School. She originally planned to be a marine biologist, but after seeing the 1975 film Jaws, she changed her mind. In seventh grade, a teacher (Mrs. Cynthia Glenn) overheard her singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir; Clarkson told the teacher that she had never received professional vocal training.

Clarkson auditioned for the first season of American Idol (under the full title American Idol: The Search for a Superstar) in May 2002, singing the songs "Express Yourself" by Madonna and "At Last" by the late Etta James, who died earlier in 2012. She subsequently won the competition on September 4, 2002, earning 58% of the vote to 42% for runner-up Justin Guarini, whom I prefer over her.

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