Fans of American Idol, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane with an original cast reunion. Yesterday, the judges from the show’s first season — Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul — came together to honor Kelly Clarkson as she was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During the induction ceremony, Adbul and Cowell gave touching speeches on what the singer meant to the show.
“I’m so proud to be here, honored,” Abdul said. “I changed my flight just so I could be here. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Kelly — not only the trajectory of your life has changed, but you helped change the trajectory of everyone’s lives.” The former judge added that Clarkson “made season one all worth it.”
Cowell also reflected on the impact of Clarkson’s success. “I can honestly say thanks to you I’m here today, genuinely, I swear to God. Because you validated what we did – if we didn’t find a star there’s no point in doing these shows. And I could never predict what was going to happen,” he noted. “The Kelly you see in front of the camera is the Kelly you see behind the camera, she is one of the nicest, most loyal, talented people I have had the great, great fortune to help.”
In 2002, Clarkson won the first season of American Idol and began her rise to stardom. In her 20-year career, she’s sold 28 million albums and 54 million singles worldwide. She’s topped Billboard charts with hits including “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and earned three Grammy Awards. Outside of music, she’s a daytime talk show host on The Kelly Clarkson Show, which is currently in its fourth season.
From American Idol contestant to the Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee, this honor is special for another reason. Her star is located near Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which is where she won the competition. “I feel very lucky and fortunate because I know a lot of talented people that love singing and are amazing at it and writing songs, and even talk show hosts — a lot of people could do that, and I just feel very fortunate that I get the chance,” she said. “There are dreams you didn’t know you had and they end up happening and you feel super blessed.” (Watch below to see Kelly Clarkson receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.)