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When did Kelly Clarkson win American Idol? Prepare to feel old. It was 18 years ago, which means Clarkson’s anniversary celebration will take you back to 2002. And it probably still feels like it was just yesterday that she made television history. Recently, the talk show host took to social media to mark the undoubtedly special occasion with a poignant message.

Kelly Clarkson took all of her followers on a trip to the past without a time machine. Instead, Clarkson used the power of a photo from the famous night. It was on that 2002 evening that American Idol crowned its first of what have since been eighteen winners. And with the show now heading into Season 19 next year, longtime fans are sure to appreciate her special anniversary post:

Wow, the time has flown by, right? If memory serves, I was 12, heading home from the mall with a Cinnabon and heard the news over the radio. And eighteen years later, Kelly Clarkson is doing far more than just singing on the radio, as she's now hosting an Emmy-winning daytime talk show and coaching The Voice. As Clarkson’s caption points out, she remains busy, to say the least.

Kelly Clarkson is also close enough with former American Idol judge, Simon Cowell, that she has filled in for Cowell on America’s Got Talent. On that note, Clarkson’s caption mentions why she is still going after all of the opportunities she gets, as she says that she feels “blessed” to have them, and loves her “purpose.”

These sentiments are especially poignant since Kelly Clarkson recently took some heat from fans. On Twitter, a user speculated that her busy schedule is what led to the collapse of her marriage. The American Idol champ had a blunt response for the fan, and this message sheds further light on why she has remained committed to career opportunities that come her way.

While Clarkson seems to have positive feelings about her time on American Idol, she had previously expressed her hope that her children would not compete on reality TV shows. Perhaps, she thinks somewhat differently as she looks back on the competition nearly twenty years later.

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One thing that Clarkson has not changed her mind about is From Justin to Kelly, the movie that followed her American Idol win. She thought it would end her career. Eighteen years later, the highly-criticized flick has done everything except destroy Kelly Clarkson’s career. She starred in the movie with Justin Guarini, who took second place in the first season of Idol.

Kelly Clarkson's celebration is great to see, and I could imagine a huge celebration taking place on The Kelly Clarkson Show when the twentieth anniversary arrives. What is a two-year head-start, though? American Idol is a significant part of why Clarkson has her current career and, before the show ended on FOX, she honored the series with a final and emotional performance on its grand stage. The show is and always will be a part of her legacy, and it's great to watch her acknowledge it in such a sweet way.

Check your local listings to find out when and where you can watch Kelly Clarkson on The Kelly Clarkson Show. After this fall’s premieres arrive, you can also see who American Idol crowns when the show returns in 2021.

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