From Justin to the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony: Kelly Clarkson’s ascent from “American Idol” hopeful to global superstar is now cemented in history.
Clarkson was honored with her own star on Monday and who better to help induct her into the rarefied group than the people who gave the singer start 20 years ago: original “Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
At the ceremony, Cowell spoke about how the recording artist-turned-talk-show-host is just as responsible for his career as he was for hers.
“I remember the day we met you. I remember not just your voice, but your personality,” he recalled of Clarkson’s time on the reality competition series. “I’ve got be honest with you, I didn’t realize at that point, honestly, how good you were. I just liked you and I was so thankful. And then there was the moment when you sang ‘Respect’ … and we all looked at each other like, ‘Oh. My. God. Thank you.’”
“I remember that moment when your name was called and I was honestly thinking to myself, ‘Thanks to you, we may have another season,’” he added. “I can honestly say to you, ‘Thanks to you, I’m here today.’ You validated what we did. If we didn’t find a star, there’s no point in doing these shows.”
Clarkson triumphed over runner-up Justin Guarini in the inaugural season of the reality juggernaut all the way back in 2002, launching her career with her record-breaking hit single, “A Moment Like This.”
Cowell went on to praise the singer as “one of the nicest, most loyal, most talented people” he’s ever come across in the industry.
“I’m so proud to be here, honored,” Abdul, who arrived late to the ceremony, added after her former co-star’s remarks. “I changed my flight just so I could be here. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Kelly — not only the trajectory of your life has changed, but you helped change the trajectory of everyone’s lives.”
In her own speech, Clarkson noted that her “Idol” journey concluded just steps away from where her own star was unveiled near the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.
“From the beginning, with ‘Idol,’ all three of you were very honest with me,” she said. “I think it’s important to have not just ‘yes’ people, but people that actually love you, and care about you and give their honest advice, and I’ve always welcomed that.
“And I think that is why I’m here today,” she added. “Not just because of myself, but because of having constantly teams of people that love you and support you, and really want to make your dreams come true while making their dreams come true.”
Clarkson was joined at the ceremony by her mother and her children, River, 8, and Remington, 6, whom she shares with ex-husband and former music manager Brandon Blackstock.
She recently teased that her forthcoming 10th studio album, which is set to be released sometime next year, will be partly inspired by their contentious split.
“This is an important album,” Clarkson told Variety in a recent interview. “I’m working on this in therapy: I have a hard time vocalizing what I’m feeling sometimes, so music is helpful for me.”
“I hadn’t really been working hardcore on an album until I needed to,” she continued. “But then the whole divorce thing happened, and I needed to write it. And then I didn’t know if I was going to release it, because you can be very angry in that state of mind. So some of the songs, they definitely cover the gamut of emotions; there’s everything on the album. It’s almost like the arc of a relationship, because the beginning is so beautiful and so sweet, and then it evolves. And sometimes it doesn’t evolve how you want.”