Then: Who knew that this little country bumpkin would turn into such a global phenomenon? You certainly didn’t see it coming at first glance, but Kelly Clarkson’s audition blew all of America away. We first got a taste of her unbelievable and powerful voice when she sang Etta James’ ‘At Last’ mixed up with some of Madge‘s ‘Express Yourself’ during the preliminary rounds. Her bubbly personality and insane vocal skills kept her at the top through the live performances, where she sang classics like ‘(You Make Me Feel) A Natural Woman,’ and she eventually won highest honors, becoming America’s first official “idol.”
Now: Well, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, Kelly Clarkson is one of the biggest recording artists in pop music today. Since she left ‘Idol,’ she’s been busting out the hits left and right, from breakup anthems like 2004′s ‘Since U Been Gone’ to her self-empowerming tune from 2011 ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).’ From her five studio albums, she’s had three No. 1 singles and several other high-charting tracks on the Billboard Hot 100, and she even performed for the President of the United States (pictured pre-performance above) in 2013. The country community has also embraced Clarkson for her extraordinary talent, which over the years, has garnered her three Grammy awards, one CMA, 13 Billboard Music Awards, three VMAs, plus many, many more accolades. Oh yeah, and she’s getting married soon!