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Paula Abdul says she's like Kelly Clarkson's 'second mama'

The singer, dancer and former “American Idol” judge looks back on her close relationship with the entertainer who makes her "so proud."

It’s been 20 years since Kelly Clarkson won the very first season of “American Idol,” but former talent judge Paula Abdul’s fondness for the hit-maker hasn’t waned one bit.

In fact, she, along with former fellow judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, were right by Clarkson’s side when the 40-year-old received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in September.

And Abdul wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Paula Abdul and Kelly Clarkson speak onstage during The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star Ceremony for Kelly Clarkson on September 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Paula Abdul and Kelly Clarkson speak onstage during The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star Ceremony for Clarkson on Sept. 19, 2022. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

“I couldn’t miss her star on Hollywood Boulevard,” the veteran performer revealed during a visit to TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.

That’s because, after all these years, Abdul, 60, doesn’t simply think of Clarkson as someone she mentored or even just a friend. She considers the singer-turned-talk show host family.

“I always say I signed on her wall the first day of her show, ‘Remember, I’m your second mama, who’s so proud of you,’” she shared. 

It's a relationship she calls "beautiful."

During Clarkson's star ceremony, Abdul raved about the "Idol" alum.

"Not only has the trajectory of your life changed, but you’ve helped changed the trajectory of everyone’s lives," she said of Clarkson's success on the talent competition. "Thank you for making me believe, like a kid believes in Santa Claus, that young, talented people can make it, and they can make it big time." 

Simon Cowell, Kelly Clarkson, Paula Abdul, Justin Guarini and Randy Jackson present Best New Artist Award
Simon Cowell, Kelly Clarkson, Paula Abdul, Justin Guarini and Randy Jackson at the 2002 MTV Music Awards. Kevin Kane / WireImage

But as Abdul explained to Hoda and Jenna, while the maternal vibe she feels for Clarkson is genuine, it isn't rare for her.

"I stay in touch with a lot of the ‘Idols,’ and I would attend their first concerts, just show up as much as I could," she said.  

The next place her fans can see her show up at is this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24.

Host Kelly Clarkson and Paula Abdul speak onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Host Kelly Clarkson and Paula Abdul speak onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller / Getty Images

"Since I was a little girl, all I would do is I’d beg my parents, ‘I want to be on a float! I want to be on a float!'” she recalled. "So this is a childhood bucket list (item) for me." 

Those who tune into the annual festivities, which kick off at 9a.m. ET, will get to see Abdul perform her 1988 megahit “Straight Up."

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