It all started with her. Kelly Clarkson was an unknown before American Idol arrived, but 17 years later, Simon CowellRandy Jackson and Paula Abdul agree she was a “game changer.”

The three former Idol judges paid a visited to the “Breakaway” singer’s new daytime talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show to take a walk down memory lane, and discuss the show that put the hitmaker on the map. “I actually genuinely do not believe  we would be sitting here today if you hadn’t entered the show that year,” Simon, 59, said. “Not true!” The Voice judge quickly chimed in.

Kelly Clarkson
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“The whole premise of that show was we had to find a star who was going to sell records,” the music manager continued. “When you delivered that moment on that first live show and when you won that winning song at the end … ” “It was a game changer!” the “Straight Up” singer added. Even Randy, 63, recalled the incredible talent program’s final episode.

“We looked at each other at the end at the finale and said ‘wow’ this thing is going to work — that was the moment we knew,” the record producer gushed. That was not the last time that Kelly would see the Idol stage, as she has returned many times to perform on the platform that gave her her start — however, she did once admit that she was pretty humiliated when she sang her hit “Piece by Piece” on the reality competition show back in 2016.

“I came off almost in tears for a different reason because I was so embarrassed. I was like, ‘Oh, God. This is my final thing on Idol and I could not hold it together,'” the TV personality said while on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I was almost losing it almost the entire song. I was proud of myself for making it as far as I did.”

Kelly Clarkson
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“I didn’t realize it was going to be that bad. And we were rehearsing that day and I just couldn’t get through it,” Kelly added.

Well, we think it’s safe to say that things have turned out pretty well for Kelly!