Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

Watching Kelly Clarkson’s Original “American Idol” Audition Is Pure Nostalgia.

When Kelly Clarkson comes to mind, it’s hard not to burst out into one of her many hits, from “Because of You” to “Stronger” and “Since U Been Gone.”

The 36-year-old has found tremendous success in Hollywood, and she’s found a way to do it on her own terms. So, it’s almost bizarre to remember that she got her start from the little reality singing competition, “American Idol.”


In 2002, at only 20-years-old, Kelly won the first-ever season of “American Idol.” She made her way through the competition by winning fans over with her beautiful voice, down-to-earth charming personality, bubbly nature.

As her prize for winning the competition, Kelly was given a record deal and thus started her successful career in the music business.

kelly idol

When Kelly’s “American Idol” audition aired, she stole the show blowing the judges away with her voice. But what viewers saw on TV didn’t tell the whole story. Much of Kelly’s audition was cut for the episode, but pieces of it continued to show up in later seasons of the show. Luckily, one of her superfans took the time to piece the clips together to make a video of the audition in its entirety and posted it to YouTube.

The video starts with Kelly talking to (a very, very young) Ryan Seacrest about her unique outfit. She explains that she actually made the top she is wearing herself and jokes that fashion is her “backup plan.”


Eventually, she makes her way in front of the original judges, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson. Her bubbly personality is apparent, and if she was nervous at all she hid it well. As soon as she starts singing Etta James’s “At Last” the judges stop joking around and take her very seriously.

After nailing her first audition song, Kelly follows it up with Madonna’s “Express Yourself” which is met with praise from the judges. The young singer shows her appreciation (and her age) by responding with “cool beans.”


Instead of just telling Kelly she’s “going to Hollywood” Randy jokes about his own, personal, success in the music industry. As Simon and Paula roll their eyes, Kelly suggests that he comes to audition and offers to trade spots with him. So, he took the stage and Kelly sat in his chair as he auditioned with R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.”

It’s all fun and games until Kelly points out that she wants to know if she’s going to Hollywood. The judges (of course) agree that she’s going but tell her there’s a condition – when she leaves the audition room, she has to tell Ryan that “he needs to re-do his highlights.” Kelly dutifully delivers the message the second she leaves the room.

It’s easy to see why fans voted for her to win and why the world has fallen in love with her relatable personality. Watch Kelly’s amazing and silly audition in the video below and share with other Idol fans.

Share your story & inspire the world.
If you have an uplifting story we would love to hear about it! Share it with us here.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.