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Since then, Kelly has been established as "The Original American Idol".Her debut single "A Moment Like This" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and broke the record for the biggest jump to number one in the chart's history, becoming the best-selling single of the year in the country.However, she was cleared of all allegations as she only had a contract in order to conduct demonstration work.On September 17, 2002, her debut double-A-side single "Before Your Love\A Moment Like This" was released.Both songs were performed by Kelly during the season finale of American Idol.The single debuted at the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the week ending September 21, 2002 at number 60.On January 1, 2004, she became the runner-up behind the first Norwegian Idol Kurt Nilsen.

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Kelly's parents divorced when she was five years old, following which her brother lived with their father, she stayed with their mother and her sister went to live with an aunt. Kelly's ancestry is primarily Greek (from a maternal great-grandfather) and Welsh, but she also lays claim to English, Irish, German, and Scottish descent. Kelly initially wanted to become a marine biologist, but she changed her mind after viewing the movie "Jaws." In the seventh grade, her school's choir teacher, Cynthia Glenn, overheard Kelly singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir."Throughout this record, (Clarkson) makes it seem effortless and charming.She can croon, she can belt out a song, she can be sexy and sassy while still being graceful and as wholesome as the girl next door." The album's lead single "Miss Independent" became Kelly's first international hit—charting in the top ten in five national charts, including the United States and was later certified gold by the RIAA.Kelly sang at her high school talent show after which an audience member shared some inspiring words with her: "God has given you this gift. You're destined to sing." Kelly continued singing and soon started classical training, hoping that music would be her ticket to a college scholarship.

Upon graduating from high school, Kelly was offered full scholarships to The University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas and Berklee College of Music, but she later declined them, explaining: "I've already written so much music and wanted to try a career on my own" and added "you're never too old to go to college." After graduation, Kelly worked several jobs to finance a demo, recording material and trying to market it to record labels, but received little response.

Kelly has also gained numerous accolades, including three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, two American Country Awards and a Women's World Award.