FLASHBACK: Kelly Clarkson's Career Aspirations Just After Winning 'American Idol': 'I'm Just About Breaking Al
By Sophie Schillaci
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Fourteen years after being crowned America's very first Idol, Kelly Clarkson is well on her way to career longevity.
And when the then 20-year-old Texas native sat down with ET's Mary Hart less than 24 hours after her big win, that's exactly what she said she was going for.
"What I want to achieve is, I want longevity," Clarkson said of her career goals. "I want to be able to reach different crowds, different ages. I want to be the type of performer that people, you know, backstage I can actually sit there and talk to them. I want to take time out."
Now a three-time GRAMMY winner, Clarkson has released six studio albums since winning American Idol in 2002 and is currently expecting her second child with husband Brandon Blackstock.
"I have so many goals, like with films, musical theater, Broadway, everything," she said following her victory. "I have so many goals and I'm just about breaking all the rules, so I'll just do whatever comes my way if I feel like it's natural."
The 33-year-old returned to the show that made her a star earlier this season, where she served as a guest judge and delivered an emotional performance of her single, "Piece by Piece." She'll also appear on Thursday's big series finale via a pre-taped segment.
Earlier this week, Fox aired a 90-minute retrospective on the iconic series that featured commentary and behind-the-scenes stories from Clarkson, among many of the other key Idol players. Perhaps most entertaining were the revelations about the show's season one finale, which was pretty much a hot mess.
"There were so many different things that changed that day, including who was going to sing when and what song," runner-up Justin Guarini revealed.
"Before they went out to sing 'It Takes Two,' they were saying to me, 'Sing it in my ear! I don't know that song!'" added stage manager Debbie Williams. "They're going, 'Well, what happens after that? And I said, 'Well, let's just get to the next commercial and then we'll find out.'"
Needless to say, Clarkson was more than ready for some shut-eye after it was all said and done.
"People always ask me, 'What were you thinking when you won?’” she said. "I am not kidding, I broke down in tears backstage because I was so tired, I needed a nap. We were exhausted.”
That nap must have done her good, because Clarkson was positively beaming during ET's interview the next morning!
"I've always been taught through my church and my family that God will never give you anything that you can't handle. So don't stress," she told Hart. "Nothing's gonna come my way that I can't handle, so just take it and do what you can with it."