Kelly Brianne (formerly Blackstock; born Kelly Brianne Clarkson, April 24, 1982), known professionally as Kelly Clarkson, is an American singer and the first winner of American Idol. Born 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 5'3" and weighed 120 pounds at the time) 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. In April 2016, she had a son named Remington "Remy" Alexander.
In October 2016, she wrote and released a children's picture book called River Rose and the Magical Lullaby, which features the lyrics for an original lullaby she eventually performed. She hinted she will write more books in the future. In October 2017, she wrote and released a sequel called River Rose and the Magical Christmas, which also includes a song she later performed.
Her song "My Life Would Suck Without You" is extremely popular for Shipping Fan Vids 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.
- 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)
- Meaning of Life (2017)
- Kellyoke (EP) (2022)
Tropes present in her work:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Bait-and-Switch: The first verse of "My Life Would Suck Without You" describes a guy begging for her forgiveness after a prior argument, seemingly setting the stage for a firm rejection as part of a Break-Up Song. Of course, the track's title spoils the switch, as, come the chorus, she gleefully forgives him and takes him back, and acknowledges in subsequent verses that she isn't perfect either.
- Bizarre Beverage Use: In the video for "My Life Would Suck Without You", Kelly is having an argument with her dysfunctional boyfriend, which devolves into a sequence of Defenestrate and Berate where both throw the other's possessions out the window. When Kelly grabs a fishbowl to throw out the window, she allows her boyfriend to grab the fish and put it in a glass of water before throwing the the bowl out. The two make up shortly afterwards.
- Break-Up Song: Most of her hits.
- Break Up to Make Up: "Since U Been Gone" describes her relief at her relationship being over, even stating "I can breathe for the first time", due to her ex manipulating her into believing they fully returned her feelings and making little effort to reciprocate. It's implied the ex tries to win Clarkson back but she's already moved on and is happier for it.
- Calling the Old Man Out: "Because Of You" and "Piece By Piece".
- Catchphrase: During the early years of Idol: "Cool Beans!"
- Curse Cut Short: In "You Can't Win":If you stop, they'll just say you quit
If you don't, you might 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.
- Death Seeker: In "Irvine", the narrator asks god: "Why is it so hard? Why can't you just take me?"
- 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 scientist and rescues her and escapes to a world that's full color.
- Disappeared Dad: The subject of the song "Piece by Piece"
- 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.
- 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.
- Football Fight Song: "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)".
- 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.
- "Gaining Confidence" Song: "Breakaway" and "Catch My Breath".
- 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.
- Heart Beat Soundtrack: The indicatively named song "Heartbeat Song" starts out with a heart beat rhythm and continues from there.
- "I Am Great!" Song: "Whole Lotta Woman."I'm a strong, bad ass chick with classic confidence, yeah
- I Know You Know I Know: "Walk Away":I know you know I know
So what's the point in being slow
Let's get this show on the road today
- Humans Are Flawed: "Dark Side":Everybody's got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody's a picture perfect
But we're worth it
You know that we're worth it
- 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, while also being unique.
- Laugh of Love: In the video for "Heartbeat Song", the featured couples tend to laugh as they find love with each other again.
- "Leaving the Nest" Song: "Breakaway" tells the story of a person who is ready to escape the life they've been living, in an obvious nod to teenagers preparing to leave their parents' home, or more generally, anyone who's ready to get themselves out of a bad or stifling situation.
- Lighter and Softer: Kelly's fourth album, All I Ever Wanted following the Darker and Edgier My December.
- Love Is a Drug: "Addicted" compares dysfunctional relationship to a drug addiction.
- Love Martyr: The narrator of "Beautiful Disaster" is a downplayed version: her love interest isn't abusive but his Troubled, but Cute shtick makes her rather unhappy.
- Lyrical Dissonance : The romantic sounding ballad Because Of You, the upbeat rock tune of My Life Would Suck Without You and the dynamic and fast paced One Minute are examples of this.
- Male Band, Female Singer : Her musicians in her music videos are all male.
- The Masochism Tango: "My Life Would Suck Without You" says, "I know I've got issues / But you're pretty messed up too" and "Being with you is so dysfunctional".
- A Minor Kidroduction: The music video for "My Life Would Suck Without You" starts off with a little boy giving a little girl a necklace, and it then fast-forwards to adult Kelly now wearing the necklace as a bracelet and dating the boy who gave it to her.
- Misery Builds Character: "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" uses the Nietzche quote in its chorus.What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone
- Mocking Sing-Song: Unintentional example in "Don't Rush", where the line "Stopping every minute just because you're in it" is sung to this melody.
- Navel-Deep Neckline: In the music video to "Since U Been Gone".
- Non-Appearing Title: "Judas", "Haunted", and "Irvine", all on the My December album. The album title itself also counts, since there is no Album Title Drop moment anywhere on the record.
- Ode to Sobriety: "Sober".
- One-Word Title:
- "Sober", an Ode to Sobriety.
- Power Ballad:
- "Don't You Wanna Stay".
- Product Placement:
- Blatant ones for Nokia and BMW in the "People Like Us" video.
- The song "Go". Both it, and its accompanying video were made to promote the Ford Mustang.
- Rearrange 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.
- "Piece By Piece" was performed as a stripped down piano ballad for a guest appearance on American Idol - the recording was issued as a promotional single and later appeared as a bonus track on the album of the same name.
- Relationship Revolving Door: "My Life Would Suck Without You" is about a couple getting back together after yet another break-up.
- Rock Star Song: "You Can't Win"
- Runaway Bride: The video for "Behind These Hazel Eyes". Bride Kelly calls off the wedding at the last minute because she knows her soon-to-be husband has eyes for another girl.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Addicted" and "Hear Me" in Breakaway.
- A central theme in My December, especially in "One Minute", "Hole", "Haunted" and "Irvine".
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Kelly co-wrote "My Life Would Suck Without You" but declined a songwriting credit because she didn't want to be associated with the song's infamous co-writer and co-producer, Dr. Luke.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: She sings along with herself on "Addicted."
- Stage Names: After getting married her official name is now "Kelly Blackstock" but will continue to use her maiden name professionally.
- Subdued Section: "Mr. Know It All"
- Surreal Music Video: "Love So Soft" not only is composed of multiple wildly different scenes with no clear relations between one scene and the next, some of the scenes include Kelly in a yellow gown from which hundreds of butterflies flutter away, multiple identical copies of Kelly in black suit and white hat singing the second verse one line per clone, a house by a seaside cliff in which things just explode for no reason at the end of the song, and Kelly fused with her backing vocalists looking like a strange human chandelier.
- The Show Must Go On: Kelly hosted and performed at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas while suffering from appendicitis. Hours after the show she flew to a Los Angeles hospital and had her appendix removed.
- Troubled, but Cute: "Beautiful Disaster" sums it up succinctly:But he's so beautiful / Such a beautiful disaster
- 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.
- Vocal Evolution: Kelly's singing voice is higher and clearer in her earlier albums compared to the ones like "Stronger" where it sounds huskier.
- Woman Scorned: A theme in many of her songs and videos ("Since U Been Gone", "Never Again").