Everything Simon Cowell even sneezes towards, turns to gold (or paper, eventually). After scoring success after success in the UK with X-Factor, Pop Idol and Britain's Got Talent winners and even losers, he turned his attentions to the States and became a judge on American Idol and, most recently, X Factor USA. On the former's first series winner, Kelly Clarkson, Cowell declared openly that she was the best singer 'by a mile'. Cue record company executives in a rush for biros to seal the young singer's signature on contracts.
After winning (walking) American Idol in 2002, Kelly Clarkson's dynamic voice has graced a handful of hit albums and an even bigger handful, nay armful, of smash singles. Starting as an out-and-out pop vocalist with the debut and Idol-winning 'A Moment Like This' and its parent album, 'Thankful', she later severed ties with her original management team and went all 'rocky' on us, with 'Breakaway' proving to be an apt title for album number two.
With one foot in commercial pop-rock and the other treading in that bastion of the good ole' USA, country music, Clarkson has cleverly increased her audience, despite seeing a US tour crash and refusing to sing her latest hit on a charity American Idol (Idol Gives Back - cringe). Instead she verbally gave her fawning minions the verbal bird, citing that 'self-promotion on a charity show is beyond crass' and sang a non-promotional Patty Griffin cover - good for her.
After a few trials and tribulations with earlier albums, Clarkson's newest, 'Stronger', is an altogether more robust collection, with the singer insisting on going at it her way. Most of the vocals have been sung in a take or two, drawing inspiration from urban-soul, country and rock. A new single, 'Dark Side' is due out soon, which may be enough to draw her UK fans back into her bosom.
In October, Kelly Clarkson will head back to the UK and Ireland for a huge arena tour, starting in Dublin on the 10th, followed by Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and finally Wembley Arena in London. With the exception of Dublin, tickets go on sale via us on Friday 18th May, priced from £32.50 (£35 for London). Tickets for Dublin (44) go on sale a week later - Friday 25th May.
Beforehand, the singer will be part of the huge and sold-out Capital FM Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium on 9th June. Not bad for someone who was, to quote a well-known '80s hit, working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.