The first "American Idol" is getting a Hollywood star.
Twenty years after Kelly Clarkson won the inaugural season of the singing competition show, she was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She received the honor Sept. 19 in a ceremony in front of her new star, the 2,733rd on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said in a press release that Clarkson “has been long deserving of a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
“She has been an iconic person in American pop culture since she walked onto the first audition stage on American Idol and has continued to impress fans with her musical and talk show prowess,” Martinez said.
Clarkson’s two kids, River, 8, and Remington, 6, as well as original “American Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul joined her on Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate her coveted star.
Clarkson’s celebrated career includes a 2022 Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding entertainment talk show host for her eponymously named talk show, three Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards and two American Country Awards. She is also the first artist to top each of Billboard’s pop, adult contemporary, country and dance charts. She is known for her hit songs "Since U Been Gone, “Breakaway” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)," among others.
"This is where I won 20 years ago," Clarkson said. "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. There are dreams you didn't know you had and they end up happening and you feel super blessed."
Clarkson thanked her team and her kids for supporting and was joined at the ceremony. Notable guest speakers also included Jason Halbert, Clarkson's music director since 2003.
Cowell said Clarkson gave him job security in being the talent they needed to keep "American Idol" on TV.
"I actually thought I was being punked on the first day," Cowell recalled of the first day of auditions when he met Clarkson. "Paula resigned. Every singer was out of tune and it got worse, progressively. I thought, 'This is an absolute disaster, why did we come here?' And thank God, I remember the day we met you and I remember not just your voice, but your personality."
"Thanks to you, we may have another season," Cowell remembered thinking at the time. "Thanks to you, I'm here today. You validated what we did. If we didn't find a star, there's no point in doing these shows."
The ceremony ended with Clarkson taking pictures with her star.
Season Four of "The Kelly Clarkson Show" premiered Sept. 12 on NBC. The next episode airs Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. ET.