Kelly Clarkson Says Early American Idol Contestants Thought The Show Was ‘A Joke’!

Kelly Clarkson could have never dreamed up the impact American Idol would have had on her life when it premiered back in the early aughts.

As you may recall, the 39-year-old singer became the first winner of the competition series in 2002. And while her experience on the reality TV show launched her massive music career, Clarkson had a completely different perspective while filming than what contestants may have today. We mean, no one could have predicted that the amateur singing contest would go on to dominate television for years during the first season — and this includes Clarkson and her fellow contestants. In fact, they were actually quite skeptical about Idol and thought it was just going to be “a joke.”

Speaking with Kevin Hart during a recent episode of Hart to Heart on Peacock, the pop sensation explained:

“I mean, we didn’t think it was gonna come anything. We were the first season of American Idol, so we were there for that paycheck that gives you, to pay for some bills. Nobody knew that anything would actually come to fruition. That’s what everyone hoped, but that doesn’t usually happen.”

Obviously, that thought has changed since then as most contestants recognize that these reality shows like Idol, The Voice, Songland, and more could change their lives in a matter of seconds. However, the competition hasn’t really churned out any household names in recent years. Many stars were from the early era of the series, including Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, and Jordin Sparks. But details…

Kelly then added that even though she unexpectedly got “thrown into” superstardom, she is thankful to have “skipped the surreal part” of fame as it has kept her down to earth over the years:

“It really doesn’t matter to me, in the best sense. It matters, but it matters for what worth I give it. I love what I do, and I love singing, and I love what you’re able to do with your spotlight, but I think because I skipped all that so fast and I was thrown in, there was no time for people to really drill me on, ‘You have to do this. You have to be this.”

However, the star claimed that she also had a difficult time setting boundaries when she was placed in the middle of the music industry:

“I always let everybody in. I’m very inclusive. I’m not great at boundaries. I just didn’t know that I could say no. I didn’t want to be difficult — especially as a woman. I didn’t want to be perceived as bitchy or difficult or whatever.”

Fortunately, the multi-hyphenate icon learned to navigate the business and has, as we said before, created an incredibly successful career for herself! What may have begun as a joke has clearly turned into an experience Clarkson most likely will be forever grateful for. Ch-ch-check out the entire conversation (below):

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