For someone who owes her career to a starmaking TV show, Kelly Clarkson has earned an awful lot of goodwill. American Idol, of course, is devoted to creating an automaton, a Johnny Bravo-type who fits the jacket. But Clarkson, the show’s first winner, never really played by their rules. She churned out massive hits, of course, but she also delighted us with category-defying records that managed to showcase her tremendous ability to jump genres, to placate her label while retaining her “I do what I want” individualism.
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