In 1999, while studying broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas, the 18-year-old Brad Pritchett, now the Dallas Museum of Art’s chief experience officer, auditioned to become a Six Flags Over Texas stage singer and dancer. Pritchett, who was on stage from a very young age, was more than ready for the moment. His most notable season came during 2000’s Holiday in the Park—one year after he earned the role. That season, he met who was soon to become the inaugural winner of American Idol: Kelly Clarkson.
After Pritchett and Clarkson spent the day performing in the Southern Palace and Crazy Horse Saloon, respectively, they’d join forces as stage partners for the first nightly closing show around the park’s central carousel for thousands to see.
For a little under 30 minutes, singing and dancing to a medley containing 75 songs, (while dawning A Christmas Carol-esque clothing) Pritchett and Clarkson laughed their way through performance. The duo went on to perform more than 50 times together throughout the holiday season.
“There was a lot of movement, a lot of people on stage at once,” Pritchett says. “The choreography was all over the place, and Kelly wasn’t the best at picking up the choreography. I would literally drag her around the stage and sort of whisper to her what was coming next because she could not remember. All we ended up doing was laughing the entire time.”
“There were a lot of moves in the show where I would have to lift her up. We got to a point where I don’t know if she was just tired, or if I was tired, or if we were laughing so hard; many nights those lifts just wouldn’t happen. There were many lyrics missed and many steps missed. Kelly had something about her where we would just look at each other and start laughing uncontrollably.”
Even if she wasn’t the best dancer at the time, Pritchett and his fellow performers knew that Clarkson’s singing would take her far.
“Kelly had a voice unlike any other voice at Six Flags,” he says. “It was just next level. We all knew that she was destined to be famous.”
Pritchett and Clarkson went their separate ways after the 2000 season. Clarkson went on to win American Idol’s first season in 2002 and many more accolades. For Pritchett, right after graduating from UNT, he went to perform on a cruise ship. When he returned, an entry-level marketing assistant job awaited him at the Dallas Theater Center, jump starting his career in marketing and communications.
Clarkson and Pritchett reunited around a decade later backstage at one of her concerts. Fast forward to a few months ago, and they reunited once again at one of the tapings of her TV show.
“She immediately recognized me,” Pritchett says. “We hugged, I introduced her to my husband, and we caught up for at least a couple of minutes until she had to go back to tape. The Kelly that I knew and performed with 20 years ago was that same Kelly a couple months ago.”
Jerrett Franklin grew up in a small town. He moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. After writing for a few different artists in the area, he decided to branch out and give local music the spotlight. That is where the idea for Music On The Rox originated from. We are dedicated to shining a light on local music and giving a voice to those who aren’t being heard.