How Kelly Clarkson Went From Being Homeless To Dominating Live Television

Kelly Clarkson America's Got Talent Simon Cowell American Idol The VoiceSamantha Agate | Talent Recap

Kelly Clarkson definitely has the ultimate story when it comes to achieving stardom. The 38-year-old mother of two did not always have it so easy and has had to work her way to the top, even overcoming homelessness for a short period of time. Let’s take a look back at Kelly’s journey before being announced as the replacement for Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent after his horrific bike accident.

Kelly Clarkson Was Homeless Before Making It Big On ‘American Idol’

Kelly grew up knowing that she wanted to pursue music as a career, writing tons of songs in her teenage years. She set out for Los Angeles at 18 years old after graduating high school and began working odd jobs as she tried to navigate the music scene. She turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records because she felt like something better would come along. At this time, she took small gigs such as waitressing, working at a movie theater and a job as a telemarketer to make money. Kelly suffered a traumatic experience when her Los Angeles apartment caught fire and left her homeless. She had to live in her car while searching for the right opportunity to get her music out into the world.  


“I did anything that paid,” she said in a radio interview. “I made any job work. … Even now, when people are like, ‘I can’t find a job,’ I’m like, ‘Well, then, you’re not looking.’ Because if you’re hungry enough and you want electricity, you’ll work anywhere, and so I did.” She also said that before American Idol, she had nothing to her name. Once she finally had enough money, Kelly decided to go back to her home state of Texas to audition for the show. “Literally, I had to make that top to go to this audition. I had like no clothes, no nothing.” She soared to fame after winning the first season of the show in 2002, impressing the judges, especially Simon Cowell every single week.

Kelly’s Dynamite Music Career Led Her To Have Her Own Talk Show

Kelly has sold over 25 million albums worldwide after her time on American Idol and has won three Grammy Awards. After conquering the Billboard charts for nearly two decades, Kelly set her sights on hosting her own talk show. The Kelly Clarkson Show is a daytime talk show that allows Kelly to connect with real people through humor, heartfelt stories and discover emerging new talent. It has won three Emmy Awards including Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host. She balanced all of this with coaching The Voice starting in season 14. She won the show with artist Brynn Cartelli in season 14 and again with artist Chevel Shepherd in season 15. She was the first female coach to win multiple seasons. It was recently announced that Kelly would be returning to The Voice for season 19.

Kelly Will Be Replacing Simon On ‘America’s Got Talent’

Now, Kelly is taking on yet another reality talent competition, America’s Got Talent. As Simon is recovering from his back surgery, Kelly announced she would be taking his seat during the first week of live shows. The desk of Kelly Clarkson put out a statement saying “My friend, Simon Cowell, is doing better now but was in an accident and won’t be able to make Tuesday and Wednesday’s live shows for AGT. But no worries America, someone far wiser, cooler, and hotter is taking his seat! The unbelievably amazing Kelly Clarkson. You’re welcome in advance!” News of Simon’s injury first made waves on Saturday after he fell off of a new electric bike in the courtyard of his Malibu home. He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent successful surgery.


The caliber of injury that Simon has can take anywhere from eight to 10 weeks to recover. This makes a sticky situation when it comes to the America’s Got Talent live shows but knowing the producers, Simon may make a small appearance virtually just like Heidi Klum did when she was sick at the beginning of the season. So far, Kelly has only announced she would be involved in the first week of live shows and nothing further. But there could be a possibility she could sign on for longer should Simon need more time to recover off camera.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube with a previous byline at The Blast. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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