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Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler

The story of Kellie Pickler couldn't be more perfectly suited for a 21st century country singer had it been made up: A fast-food drive-in waitress from a tiny town in North Carolina, raised by her grandparents after her mother gave her up and her drug-addict father went to jail, catapulted into the pop spotlight via new-millennium TV sensation American Idol. Pickler was eliminated from the competition early on during the show's fifth season, but she persevered, hitting post-Idol pay dirt with "Red High Heels" (Number 15 Country; Number 64 Pop, 2006) and the autobiographical "I Wonder" (Number 14 Country; Number 75 Pop, 2006).

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Photo by Tony Baker

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