Kelly Clarkson Won American Idol 18 Years Ago! “It Changed My Life”

It seems impossible that 18 years have passed since Kelly Clarkson won the inaugural season of American Idol. But it’s true! The Voice coach and talk show host marked the anniversary on social media on Friday (Sept 4). 

“18 years ago today was the finale of the first season of American Idol and it changed my life!” Kelly wrote. “I’m still hustlin 18 years later because I know I am blessed to have the opportunities and I still love my purpose! Find your purpose! Seek out what keeps that fire in you burning.”

Good advice from Kelly, who turned that win into a career that has encompassed Grammy winning records and world-wide tours. She eventually became a regular coach on The Voice, lending her competition show experience to young hopefuls. Now, she’s an Emmy winning host of a popular daytime talk show. Wow. That’s a lot to reflect upon. 

Brian Dunkleman speaks! Kelly responds

The 19 year old singer beat out heartthrob Justin Guarini. Check out Seacrest’s hair! And who is that fella to the Right of Justin?

 (L-R):Ryan Seacrest, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini and BrianDunkleman find out who is America's Idol Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA, on the finale of AMERICAN IDOL:THE SEARCH FOR A SUPERSTAR on FOX. ??2002FOX BROADCASTING CR:Ray Mickshaw/FOX

That’s Brian Dunkleman, who only co-hosted American Idol for one season, alongside Ryan Seacrest. The former host replied to Kelly with a simple “Same.” Brian was probably being sarcastic, because after he left the show, his career went nowhere, while Ryan Seacrest’s shot into the stratosphere. But Kelly ain’t mad. She quotes him and declares “I love you even more after this tweet.” Poor Dunkleman…

We see what you did there, American Idol!

American Idol also responded to Kelly’s celebratory tweet, using it as a pitch to encourage hopefuls to participate in the American Idol virtual auditions, going on now. The thing is, Kelly can’t and won’t promote Idol auditions, because she works for the competition, right? Very sneaky, American Idol, very very sneaky!

The gang’s all here

But Kelly will give props to the show that launched her when she can. Last year, she had Justin, and former Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson on The Kelly Clarkson Show for a fun walk down memory lane.

Pictured: (l-r) Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Justin Guarini, Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Adam Torgerson/NBCUniversal)

American Idol auditions are STILL open

By the way, American Idol auditions are still happening now. Each day is devoted to a group of states, with Kentucky, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Vermont to come. However the last four days are devoted to open calls for late comers. Click here for more information.

About mj santilli 35003 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!