Kelly Clarkson opened up about the rough time she had right before her life changed forever, thanks to her American Idol audition 18 years ago. The singer recently spoke about the day she went up in front of Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell on Season 1 of the talent search and recalled how she was so down on her luck ahead of her performance.
“I realized, ‘Oh, this is a TV show, people are going to see this,'” Kelly shared as she reminisced about that life-changing day during an interview with Hollywood Outbreak.
“I was… literally, my apartment had just burned down in LA and I moved home. I had lived in my car for, like, two days and literally drove home and tried out for American Idol.”
The now-mom-of-two then talked about how she had so little money at the time that she was forced to make her own top and wear an old pair of pants for the audition.
“I had this top that I had made because I didn’t have hardly anything,” The Voice coach admitted. “And, like, the pants that I’d had for five years that were horrible. It was just a funny moment.”
Kelly — who recently spoke about a “mini-breakdown” she experienced after finding success on the show — then shared how she performed two songs. These included Etta James’ “At Last” and later on, Madonna’s “Material Girl” after she was asked to perform something a little more energetic. She admitted that she actually found the judges to be “really nice.”
Kelly recalled how she was a little distracted by Paula, as she was a big fan of the “Forever Your Girl” singer, and Randy because of his association with Mariah Carey. At the time, Simon wasn’t a household name in the U.S. and mainly worked behind the scenes in the music industry.
As fans saw, she ended up swapping places with Randy at the judges’ table during her audition, which Kelly admitted probably happened because she was so talkative and nervous.
“I probably made a goof of myself,” the “I Dare You” singer said.
“Apparently making a goof of yourself is memorable, so, yeah, it worked in my favor.”
Kelly, alongside country superstar Carrie Underwood, has gone on to be the most successful American Idol winner and has a whole host of accolades to her name. She’s sold millions of records worldwide and has won three Grammy Awards. She’s also a coach on The Voice, host of her own talk show, and is currently preparing for her own residency in Las Vegas set to kick off next year.