"American Idol" is coming to a close this year after 14 years and 15 seasons. In its final season, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban have returned as the judges of the iconic talent series that spawned a decade of various competitions. "Idol" and its top 10 go live in just over a month, and on that first live show on Feb. 25, inaugural winner Kelly Clarkson will return as a guest judge and perform. The show made the announcement to the world yesterday (Jan. 15) officially on social media.
Kelly Clarkson of course won the very first season on Sept. 4, 2002 after never being in the bottom performers. It took some fighting on her part, but she eventually broke into her own and had a very clear vision on what she wanted for her career. Through the years, Clarkson admitted "Idol" was one of the hardest parts of her career because of being pushed into the limelight so quickly.
Clarkson has also been asked through the years if she'd judge on the show that helped make her a star and that she helped legitimize right from the start. For her, scheduling has never worked out rather she was in the studio working on a new album or touring, her favorite part of her job. She will return to give her insight to the final contestants and perform (maybe latest single "Piece by Piece"?) all while being pregnant with her second child.
Last season, Kelly Clarkson returned to the show for a night of her songs. She mentored contestants while they all sang her songs. She also took to the stage to perform one of her two audition songs, "At Last" by Etta James (Madonna's "Express Yourself" is rarely featured in clips).
The finale will take place in May and Clarkson coming back for the finale show is uncertain with her pregnancy. The time frame happens to be about the same time she's due with River Rose's brother.
Since winning "Idol" in 2002, she's broken records for fastest jump to No. 1 not once but twice and still holds the record, sold over 25 million albums worldwide and has three Grammy Awards to her name while becoming family with her own idol, Reba McEntire. Her story has been a true rags to riches while remaining one of the most down to earth popstars who is in it solely for the music.