Flashback: Kelly Clarkson Auditions for 'American Idol - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Kelly Clarkson Auditions for ‘American Idol’

Watch the future pop-country powerhouse cover Etta James at the inaugural ‘Idol’ tryouts

By the age of 20, Kelly Clarkson had already returned home to Texas after a failed attempt to begin her singing career in Los Angeles. But it wasn’t long before she headed back to the west coast, as she aced her audition for the first season of American Idol.

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“I’m going to be a fashion designer if this doesn’t work out,” the songbird tells show host Ryan Seacrest in the video above, after he compliments the strapless top she crafted herself out of an old pair of jeans.

Clarkson’s audition went well to say the least. Not only did she impress the judges with her acapella rendition of Madonna‘s “Express Yourself,” but she also charmed them with her sense of humor — playfully swapping places with judge Randy Jackson and throwing out a few “cool beans” remarks.

After winning American Idol in 2002, Clarkson was signed to a record deal with RCA records, 19 Recordings and S records by Simon Fuller, the show’s creator. Fourteen seasons later, she still reigns as the best-selling Idol winner of all time and has three Grammys, a CMA award and four ACM awards to her name. Though most of her hits have been pop, she’s also won over the country world, through collaborations with the likes of Jason Aldean, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood, among others.

Auditions for American Idol Season 14 are already underway, with auditions being held in Nashville next week. The next season’s premiere is set for January 2015.

In This Article: Kelly Clarkson


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