The first American Idol winner, Fort Worth, Texas born Kelly Clarkson won the nation’s heart with her incredible voice and deeply passionate performance style. Since winning the hugely popular talent competition show in 2002, Clarkson has proven that she is no flash in the pan by selling more than 25 million albums and establishing herself as one of the most admired pop stars of the modern era. Here’s a rundown of Kelly Clarkson’s five most memorable performances.
After defeating Justin Guarini to become the first American Idol, Clarkson sang her first single live on the show. Obviously overwhelmed with nerves and shock, Clarkson barely got through her first performance of the appropriately triumphant “A Moment Like This,” but after a few bars, Clarkson was able to compose herself and knock the song out of the park in front of her tearful parents and a worshipful audience.
Because of her close relationship with Idol producer Simon Fuller, Clarkson has been a regular guest on American Idol and its English cousin The X Factor. While many of her talent show appearances have been fantastic, her rendition of “Breakaway” at the 2012 X Factor finale remains a career highpoint. Although it must’ve knocked the wind out of winner James Arthur to have Clarkson so totally steal his thunder on his big night.
In 2004, Clarkson made some major changes in order to play an active role in determining the direction of career. She ditched Fuller for new management and took creative control of her second studio album Breakaway, bringing in a range of pop and rock producers like Ben Moody and Max Martin. The resultant album ranks as Clarkson’s best to date and its crowning achievement is the achingly personal “Because of You,” which the singer performed majestically at the 2006 Grammy Awards.
By 2013, Kelly Clarkson had already established herself as one the most acclaimed and best-selling singers of the new century. Her performance at President Barrack Obama’s second presidential inauguration proved that Clarkson had the gravitas and grace to usher in one of the most important occasions in recent American political history.
Since “Since U Been Gone” is Clarkson’s best song, there was no question that it would have a place on this list. And given that Clarkson gave one of her best ever performances of the song at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, there was no question that it would rank at the top of this list. Anyone who questions Clarkson’s place in the pantheon would do well to watch this stunning performance just to understand how completely wrong that opinion really is.