"Everyone says I'm like the Girl Next Door. Y'all must have really weird neighbors!"Kelly Brianne Clarkson
, a top selling Turn of the Millennium
musical artist and the first winner of American Idol
, was born on April 24, 1982 in Fort Worth, Texas. After her parents divorced when she was six, Kelly was raised alone by her mother in Burleson, a small town near Dallas. She first learned she could sing in junior high when the choir teacher heard her singing in the hall and told her she should try out. In high school she starred in musical productions and after graduating she moved to Los Angeles in early 2002 to try a career in the music industry.
Unfortunately, record companies she sent demos to were either surprised to find out she was white when they met her or wanted her to lose twenty pounds (she's 5'1" and weighed 120 lbs.) and sign contracts that forced her into bubblegum pop. After a few months she returned to Texas dejected until a friend gave her an ad for a new singing competition series holding auditions in Dallas. With nothing else to lose she went to the auditions meeting Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul
and Randy Jackson and was passed through to Hollywood, where she had just left. During the summer of 2002 she competed on live television with several other hopefuls in the inaugural season of American Idol: The Search For a Superstar
. Kelly's belting voice and small town Southern charm got her voted through by viewers to the end when it was down to her and Justin Guarini. She was declared the winner and in a week her first single "A Moment Like This" had the fastest rise up the Billboard chart to number one since The Beatles
. Unfortunately she and Justin were also forced into starring in the 2003 movie flop From Justin to Kelly
Since winning in 2002, she has surprised skeptics by having a very successful music career, with five albums and two Grammys to her name. The popularity of her second album Breakaway
and the single "Since U Been Gone" made her an international pop star and she has since toured around the world.note
Her success as a former American Idol
contestant has few rivals not named Carrie Underwood
. Ten years after Idol she, along with Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles, and John Legend were mentoring and judging young hopefuls like herself on "Duets", an ABC singing competition show that aired during the summer of 2012. She also had the honor of singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at Barack Obama
's second inaugural ceremony.
In November 2012, she released her first Greatest Hits
album, Chapter One
In October 2013, she married Brandon Blackstock, the son of her manager Narvel, and stepson of Reba McEntire. Brandon had two children, a boy and girl from a previous marriage. In June 2014 she gave birth to their first child, a girl named River Rose.
- Thankful (2003): Included the song "A Moment Like This," which she performed after winning American Idol.
- Breakaway (2004): Has since gone multi-platinum.
- My December (2007)
- All I Ever Wanted (2009)
- Stronger (2011): Certified platinum. Includes her biggest selling single "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)".
- Greatest Hits - Chapter One (2012): Includes three new tracks: "Catch My Breath", "Don't Rush" (a duet with Vince Gill) and "People Like Us".
- Wrapped in Red (2013): A Christmas album.
- Piece By Piece (2015)
Tropes present in her work:
- Absolute Cleavage: In the music video to Since U Been Gone.
- Adam Westing: Played a bitchy, diva version of herself in the Pilot Episode of the sitcom The Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
- Adorkable: In any interview she gives.
- A Minor Kidroduction: In the music video for "My Life Would Suck Without You," it starts off with a little boy giving a little girl a necklace, and then fast-forwards to adult Kelly now wearing the necklace as a bracelet and dating the boy who gave it to her.
- Ascended Fangirl: Kelly grew up a big fan of country singer Reba McEntire and she got to sing a duet with her immediately after she won American Idol. Then she became good friends with her and her husband became her manager. They recorded a duet version of Kelly's song "Because Of You" together and Kelly also appeared on Reba's sitcom in 2007. They went on tour together in 2008. Finally in 2012 she started dating Reba's stepson Brandon Blackstock and became engaged that year. As of October 20, 2013 they were married and Kelly became Reba's stepdaughter-in-law!
- Bare Your Midriff: During the "Breakaway" era in 2005 when she was skinnier. Most notably during her performance of "Since U Been Gone" at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.
- Audience Participation Song: Breakaway became this during her live shows. It's not one of Kelly's favorite songs to sing but her fans love it so she lets them sing the chorus toward the end.
- Black Best Friend: Tamyra Grey
- Breakup Song: Most of her hits.
- Catch Phrase: During the early years of Idol: "Cool Beans!"
- Christmas Cake: She's joked that people in her home town consider her one because she hasn't gotten married like the other girls she grew up with, even though she's only 30.
- Cool Big Sis: Acts as one for Fangirl (and fellow Texan) Demi Lovato, who Clarkson admires.
- Curse Cut Short: In "You Can't Win":
If you stop, they'll just say you quit
If you don't, you migh lose your...shhh
You can't win, no, you can't win, no
- Darker and Edgier: Her third album My December.
- Breakaway was also this compared to Thankful, as it shed pretty much all of the prior album's innocence/sweetness for a harder and more cynical rock sound.
- Deliberately Monochrome: In the "People Like Us" video scientists in a black and white world are studying a little girl who's in color. Kelly pretends to be a Hot Scientist and rescues her and escapes to a world that's full color.
- Destructive Romance: Implied in "My Life Would Suck Without You" with the lyrics "I know I've got issues/But you're pretty messed up too" and "Being with you is so dysfunctional".
- Doo Wop Progression: "My Life Would Suck Without You".
- Droste Image: The mirror parts from the "Because of You" video.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She performs most of her concerts in her bare feet.
- Fag Hag: To Clay Aiken.
- Fake Shemp: On a few occasions, she's sung "Don't Rush" at awards shows with Jason Sellersnote doing Vince Gill's part due to Gill being unavailable.
- Fangirl: Of British author Jane Austen. In 2012 she paid 228,000 dollars for a gold and turquoise ring once owned by Austen at an auction in the UK. Unfortunately the ring was deemed a "national treasure" by the British government and Kelly was barred from taking it out of the country. The Jane Austen Museum in England raised enough funds to buy the ring back from her. Kelly's fiance did her a replica of it for her to wear.
- Fan Vid: "My Life Would Suck Without You" is extremely popular for Shipping videos on YouTube. Name any pairing from any TV show, movie or Real Life, especially one that's Slap-Slap-Kiss, there's probably a video dedicated to them using this song.
- Football Fight Song: "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)". Lampshaded by British football forums, to much glee.
- Friend to All Living Things: Besides having two small dogs, a Maltese and Labradoodle which she takes everywhere, she founded a rescue ranch on her property for over 50 abandoned shelter animals. Her boyfriend took her turkey hunting for the first time on her 30th birthday and she later admitted that she couldn't pull the trigger when she had one in her sights.
- Funny Background Event: While singing "America the Beautiful" at the 2012 Obama inauguration a photo was taken of Kelly with former President Bill Clinton in the audience behind her seeming to check her out.
- Genre Roulette: Most of her albums especially "All I Ever Wanted".
- Genre Shift: From R&B and ballads on her first album "Thankful" to pop/rock in "Breakaway".
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Perhaps because of Even the Girls Want Her, frequently has to deny being a lesbian:
"I get that all the time. Lesbians tell it to me all the time 'Are you secretly a lesbian? Because I’d really love it.' I’m like, 'I’m glad it works for you and I wish I liked women like that because men are very hard for me!"
- Heroic Lineage: On TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are" Kelly finds out her 3X great grandfather was a Union soldier from Ohio who was captured and escaped the notorious Confederate prison Andersonville, who later became a sheriff and first term state senator.
- I Call Him Big Bob: Some fans have taken to affectionately referring to her noticeably large derriere as "Big Bob" ever since a fan at a concert in Manchester once held up a sign reading: "Kelly, Kelly, do your job, make our day and shake Big Bob!" She turned around and happily obliged, commenting "It's mighty big, but whatever!"
- Intercourse with You: Averted, though "Yeah" comes awfully close during its final verse (before its weird Reverse Truck Drivers Gear Change).
- Hot Scientist: Dresses like one in the music video for "People Like Us" complete with Sexy Spectacles.
- Last Note Nightmare: The final thirty seconds of "Yeah," where what's easily the lightest and most upbeat song on "My December" does a random Truck Driver's Gear Change by playing its chorus a semitone lower, making the song seem quite a bit spookier.
- The Leader: Attained this status for all future Idol champions and contestants after winning the first season, starting with the first Idol concert tour and whenever she makes return appearances on the show.
- Lighter and Softer: Kelly's fourth album, All I Ever Wanted following the Darker and Edgier My December.
- Love Martyr: The singer of "Beautiful Disaster".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally stays in the 1 to 4 range. Can also go up to a 5 or a 6. Overall, she's definitely one of the harder pop singers out there.
- Motor Mouth: In the space of three minutes or so she can talk about 10 different topics without pause.
- Ms. Fanservice: Primarily during the Breakaway era in 2005.
- My Own Private "I Do": Originally planned to have a big outdoor wedding to fiancee Brandon Blackstock at their house in Nashville with 200 guests. Instead they decided a few months before the date to cancel it and have a private ceremony with just them and Brandon's two young stepchildren in attendance.
- Not Christian Rock: Some of her ballads, such as "Hear Me" and "Irvine," are very clearly musical prayers to the Judeo-Christian God.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Her Texas accent can sometimes sound either very weak or very strong occasionally.
- Power Ballad:
- "Don't You Wanna Stay".
- Product Placement: Blatant ones for Nokia and BMW in the "People Like Us" video.
- Rags to Riches: Kelly grew up very poor in a small town. Until recently she owned a 14 acre ranch with a large house in Texas that she put up for market at 1.5 million dollars before moving permanently to Nashville. There she and her fiance Brandon bought a 7 bedroom 17,000 square foot mansion with a private dock on the Cumberland River for 3 million dollars.
- Rerelease the Song: "Because of You" was re-released to country as a duet with Reba McEntire. "Mr. Know It All" also got a remixed country release in 2012.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Uses a Colt .45 to shoot skeet instead of a rifle.
- Rock Star Song: "You Can't Win"
- Singing Voice Dissonance: When Kelly speaks, she sounds like just a perky white girl from Texas that drinks a lot of Red Bull (watch interview). When she sings... she doesn't. This is heightened by the fact that she can sing in a variety of styles: soul, rock, country, pop, big band, and ballads.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Out of the 9 guns she owns (which in Texas is a small number), 5'1'' Kelly keeps a Colt .45 by her bed.
- Stage Names: After getting married her official name is now "Kelly Blackstock" but will continue to use her maiden name professionally.
- Storyboard Body: At this moment has 13 tattoos. Prominent ones are a little cross with a saying next to it "Love them more" little cross on her right wrist, and a large puzzle piece on her left shoulderblade. Each represents an important moment in her life:
"For me, each one is like a memory etched on my skin. They’re badges of honour, a permanent record of a hurdle in life that I’ve jumped over."
- Subdued Section: "Mr. Know It All"
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Some have accused "Already Gone" of being similar to Beyoncé's "Halo". Both were produced by Ryan Tedder who used practically the same drum tracks and arrangment for both. Kelly had not been aware of this and recorded her song before the other was released. It was too late to get the song off her fourth album "All I Ever Wanted" and her label also insisted on releasing it as as single. Kelly was livid, vowing never to work with Tedder again and had to come up with a new acoustic arrangement for the song when she performed it live in concerts. She also wrote an unreleased song called "Wash, Rinse, Repeat" which is a Take That at Tedder and her label.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change:
- "A Moment Like This" and "Because Of You" are songs that go into a higher key just before it ends.
- Her country single, "Don't Rush" featuring Vince Gill. off her "Greatest Hits" album.
- Verbal Tic: Says "like" a lot.
- Vocal Evolution: Kelly's singing voice is higher and clearer in her earlier albums compared to recent ones like "Stronger" where it sounds huskier.
- Woman Scorned: A theme in many of her songs and videos ("Since U Been Gone", "Never Again").