This may make you feel old, and it's kind of crazy to realize...but it was TEN years ago today that Kelly Clarkson was crowned the very first American Idol, on September 4, 2002. Many fantastic winners (and fantastic finalists) have graced the "Idol" stage since, but Kelly will always be the first, the pioneer--and, incredibly, a decade later, she's still as popular as ever, if not more.
Let's revisit that iconic Kodak (Theater) moment when her superstar career officially began, not just because it's such a warm and fuzzy clip, but because it's a chance to see poor Brian Dunkleman again:
Since that historic victory, Kelly, who recently turned 30, has gone on to win two Grammys, four American Music Awards, three VMAs, and a dozen Billboard Awards, and she's still the most internationally successful "Idol" contestant, with 36 million single sales and 23 million album sales worldwide. With a track record like that, it's almost easy to forget she was ever on "American Idol" in the first place, since she has established herself so solidly outside of the show. But of course, I never forgot. And neither did her millions of diehard fans.
In case you need a Kelly refresher, or if you're just feeling nostalgic for some old-school "Idol" in light of all the show's recent changes, check out her entire "AI" run here--from her adorable first audition (which didn't even air until later in the season, after producers realized she wasn't such an underdog after all) to her final competitive performances of "A Moment Like This" and "Before Your Love." Happy 10th anniversary to the Original Idol!