For an artist who was incredibly new to the scene, Kelly had already built up an impressive resume. Then, on September 28, 2003, she crossed another milestone as a guest star on the musical drama series “American Dreams.” It seems like “From Justin to Kelly” did not deter her from giving musicals another chance, and it’s a good thing it didn’t.
Kelly appeared in one episode as Brenda Lee, her character inspired by the real-life 1960s vocalist. Kelly, as Brenda, was almost unrecognizable in a brunette bouffant. She reprised her role the following year in the episode “Tidings of Comfort and Joy.”
No Rest for the Wicked
No doubt, things were looking up for the instantly-famous Clarkson, but that is not to say she could just rest on her laurels. There was more work to be done. Kelly Clarkson had two hit singles within a year of winning "American Idol." But there was no rest for the wicked. In 2003, she began working on her next album.
That same year, Kelly’s song "Miss Independent" received three MTV Video Music Awards nominations for best new artist, best pop video, and the coveted Viewer's Choice Award. But, despite her seemingly stellar debut in the industry, things were far from peachy.
The Entertainment Industry Was Hostile
While "American Idol" is now taken seriously as a star-maker, things weren't like that when the show first started, which affected the way people saw Clarkson. Her sensational success on "American Idol" proved to be her undoing initially. The entertainment industry did not give her a warm welcome due to her involvement with the show.
Instead, she experienced cutting condescension and hostility for being from a talent show with a one-season run. She described the experience as "horrible," with everyone being rude to her at award ceremonies and on the red carpet. Kelly essentially spent the first few years apologizing for winning a talent show but would soon prove her detractors wrong.
Not Just a Reality Star
It took her only two years after winning "American Idol" to receive her first Grammy nomination – 2004 Best Pop Vocal Performance for her song "Miss Independent." This was her time to show the big kids at the playground that she was just as good and just as worthy as any one of them.
She had swiftly arrived and joined an exclusive club despite the pervasive hate. Kelly eventually lost to Norah Jones, but not without demonstrating she was here to stay. She had proved she was a force to be reckoned with and more than your average reality T.V. star.
The Poetic Justice of "Breakaway"
Kelly Clarkson's second studio album, "Breakaway" (2004), was a phenomenal success, becoming one of her most significant career achievements. The album featured some of Kelly's biggest hits to date, including "Because of You" and "Since U Been Gone." The title track earned platinum status in 17 countries, selling more than 12 million copies worldwide.
It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and remained in the top 20 for more than 61 weeks. "Breakaway" was fittingly poetic in its success. The album saw Kelly cementing her status as a serious, independent artist and successfully shedding her "American Idol" tag.