Simon Cowell has said that he wouldn’t be “here today” if it wasn’t for Kelly Clarkson, who helped secure his long-standing role as America’s favorite judge by becoming the first person ever to win American Idol back in 2002.
“Thanks to you, I’m here today,” he told Clarkson as she got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year, according to Billboard. “You validated what we did. If we didn’t find a star, there’s no point in doing these shows.”
Clarkson’s win not only launched her own career, it launched American Idol. The show’s massive following established Cowell as a household name in America, but he was quick to point out the success of American Idol wasn’t exactly a foregone conclusion.
“I actually thought I was being punked on the first day. Paula [Abdul] resigned, every singer was out of tune, and I thought, ‘Well this is a joke.’ It got worse, progressively,” he recounted, according to PEOPLE. “So I thought this is an absolute disaster. Like, why did I come here?”
It all turned around, according to Cowell, the first day the judges met Clarkson during her audition for the show.
“I remember not just your voice, but your personality,” he told the three-time Grammy winner. “I’m gonna be honest here, I didn’t realize at that point, honestly how good you were. I just liked you. And I was so thankful.”
Clarkson would go on to win the competition and release her number one single “A Moment Like This.”
In the years that have followed, Clarkson has released 10 albums with chart-topping hits like “Since U Been Gone,” “Miss Independent,” and “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger),” launched her own talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and won three Grammys.
Kelly Clarkson & Simon Cowell Friends?
With her gig on The Voice and her successful new talk show under her belt, Cowell has quickly became one of her biggest cheerleaders.
He appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show in the early days of the talk show in 2019, along with American Idol OG judges Abdul and Randy Jackson to extol her virtues.
“You are the same person off-camera as you are on camera,” he told her, according to Good Housekeeping. “You’ve always respected people and you’ve been very loyal and you’re a great friend. I’m absolutely thrilled for you, genuinely.”
Cowell isn’t the only one to treasure the bond the two share. According to PEOPLE, Clarkson gave the introductory remarks in 2018 when Cowell was getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“He’s the best friend you can ever have,” she said. “He’s honest and supportive.”
Clarkson also stepped in for Cowell as a Judge on America’s Got Talent in 2020 after he broke his back and needed to recover from surgery.
The pair later reminisced about her stint on the talent competition on The Kelly Clarkson Show.
“I was watching in bed that night, and as I was watching I was thinking, ‘You’re actually doing too well,'” Cowell recalled, according to Entertainment Tonight.
These days, when aspiring stars asks Cowell how to find success in the music industry, he tells them to “Follow Kelly.”
“I use you as an example. I genuinely mean this: You’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Most loyal I can say that because we’ve known each other a long time. But if people ever say, ‘What advice can you give me?’ I just say, ‘Follow Kelly,’” he told her in 2021, according to Yahoo Entertainment.
It’s clear these two have nothing but respect for one another even two decades after her history-making win.
Article was originally found on NBC. Stay tuned to MusicOnTheRox.com for all your music news and reviews.
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.