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Current Project: Album 6 (Release TBA)

New Licensing Deal Inked for Jukebox Musicals with Songs by Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna and More


Newlywed Kelly Clarkson has another occasion to celebrate: the singer turns 32 on April 24. 

After beating out Justin Guarini to win the 2002 inaugural season of American Idol, the “Trouble” songstress has since gone on to release six albums and take home three Grammys, and she is now expecting her first child with husband Brandon Blackstock.

Idol has kept rocking, too. Over the course of 13 seasons and multiple judge lineups, the show has continued to launch numerous music careers – plus, an Oscar winner

To prove the show and its stars have grown, we took the powers of Photoshop and matched the famous faces of American Idol with their younger selves. Get ready for the funkiest jam band around. 

All photo illustrations by Tiffany Hagler-Geard and Linzi Silverman for

 If kicking off the year with a Kylie record and the lead single from Sia’s highly anticipated new record wasn’t enough, he’s got even more to be excited about simmering quietly in the background from the likes of some major pop players, including Kelly Clarkson.  Jesse’s history with Kelly dates back to the days of 2011′s Stronger (including the GRAMMY-nominated title track “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”), and most recently with her holiday record, Wrapped In Red. But far from the festive classics that she belted out in time for Christmas, the Idol alum’s now opting for songs that sound “a little left-of-center and cool” for her upcoming studio album, due out later this year. “One of them is kind of an electronic banger, but it has kind of a haunting melody that I think she was attracted to,” he says. “She’s really open-minded.”


Bombshell 'American Idol' Lawsuit Claims Sony Stiffs Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson (Exclusive)

Kelly Clarkson Collects Record No. 1      

Top-Earning American Idols 2013


2. Kelly Clarkson ($7 million)

The original American Idol remains among the show’s top earners, pulling in the bulk of her cash on the road, where she grosses about a quarter of a million dollars per show. She also released Greatest Hits – Chapter One in 2012 and Christmas album Wrapped in Red last year.

Listen: Five would-be pop hits that never quite were in 2013

Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill, “Don’t Rush”

One of three new tracks included on Clarkson’s “Greatest Hits — Chapter One,” this slice of country-soul smoothness peaked at No. 87 on the Hot 100 (and only made it that high after Clarkson performed the song on last year’s Academy of Country Music Awards). But “Don’t Rush” is one of the “American Idol” champ’s finest songs, with a sumptuous groove and a lovely vocal melody that recalls Shelby Lynne’s plush 1999 classic “I Am Shelby Lynne.” When Clarkson eventually tires of belting out pumped-up electro-pop jams like “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)" — if indeed she ever does — she’ll probably be able to coast on this kind of stuff until she retires.

Best of 2013: The Year in 'American Idol'

"1. Kelly Clarkson Gets Married: The season-one winner takes the top spot in our countdown, beginning the year with a Grammy win for Best Pop Vocal Album (and a very entertaining acceptance speech), and ending with a surprise wedding to her fiancé Brandon Blackstock, the release of a very successful Christmas CD, Wrapped in Red, and the announcement that the newlyweds are expecting their first child.”

CITIZEN Introduces Grammy Award Winner Kelly Clarkson as New Brand Ambassador

Exclusive: Nashville Books Kelly Clarkson

Layla Grant, prepare to be upstaged.

American Idol champ-turned-Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson, who won raves for her stint on CBS’ The Crazy Ones earlier this season, is set to guest-star in an episode of Nashville, TVLine has learned exclusively.

“As you recall, one of the most popular songs of last season is a song that Gunnar and Scarlett wrote – ‘Fade Into You,’ showrunner Dee Johnson tells TVLine. “And in fact, in real life, [Clarkson is] actually cutting that song.”

Look for Clarkson to show up in the ABC series’ Episode 11, which will air in January.