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Kelly Clarkson received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday morning, 20 years after becoming the first ever winner of “American Idol” at the end of its first season in 2002.
After the ceremony, Clarkson spoke with Fox News Digital regarding how she felt about reaching that Hollywood milestone two decades after her historic win.
Clarkson was able to share the moment with her two children, who watched their mom’s big moment from the audience, as well as the ones who gave her a big break, original “American Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
“I mean, it’s hard to put into words right? I’m sitting here with my son, he’s six, and we’re standing on a star that has my name on it. It’s crazy,” Clarkson said. “I was 19 years old when I started on ‘Idol,’ and for it to end here 20 years later, it’s magical. To be able to still, first of all call all those people friends and still have them have a presence in my life, I think that’s what counts. After 20 years, it’s the people you surround yourself with.”
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While honoring Clarkson during the ceremony, Abdul spoke on stage about the positive change Clarkson has created in the world since winning the show, and how she opened the door for others to follow their dreams and realize it is actually possible for them to come true.
“The trajectory of your life has changed, but you helped change the trajectory of everyone’s lives. Your talent, your tenacity, your grace, your dignity made Season 1 all worth it, for me having to sit next to a British guy,” Abdul said. “I love you. Thank you for changing the trajectory of my life and making me believe like a kid believes in Santa Claus that young talented people can make it, and they can make it big time.”
Abdul also took the time to congratulate Clarkson on “everything that (she isn’t) even about to do, but (she) will do in the next ten years,” saying she “can already see it happening,” calling Clarkson “living proof” that the show changed people’s lives.
Looking back at the fist season, Cowell spoke about how the first few days of filming made him question his decision to join the show because everything was going wrong, but that his perspective shifted when Clarkson walked into the audition room.
“I actually thought I was being ‘Punked’ on the first day. Paula resigned, every singer was out of tune, and I thought this was a joke, and it got worse progressively. I thought, ‘This is an absolute disaster,’ he said. “I remember the day we met you, and I remember not just your voice, but your personality. I got to be honest with you, I didn’t realize at that point honestly, how talented you were. I just liked you, and I was so thankful.”
Speaking about her relationship with Cowell, the former “The Voice” judge admitted his honesty is what she admires most about him.
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“I think the best thing that Simon does for anyone is to be honest. I appreciate that, and I definitely don’t surround myself with yes people,” she said. “It’s refreshing to have someone be so honest with their opinion about a situation, and I think that’s the best gift you could give anyone, is honesty.”
Cowell also reflected on the anniversary of Clarkson’s win and the significance of the moment, and of the location of her star.
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“Well, her song had the word moment in it, ‘A Moment Like This,’ and she won a few feet from where we’re standing now at the Dolby Theater, so we’ve literally gone full circle,” he said. “Twenty years later, she’s getting the star.”