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September 5, 2002
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Texan cocktail waitress Kelly Clarkson is tipped to become a pop sensation after belting her way to victory on American Idol, the US version of the popular British talent show, on Wednesday. An estimated 20 million viewers tuned in to see Kelly triumph over rival Justin Guarini and scoop a prestigious contract with RCA Records. After collecting the coveted prize at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre, the singer performed her final song A Moment Like This.

Kelly is now set to sign with Idol creator Simon Fuller’s company, 19 Management. Simon already has Pop Idol winner Will Young on his books and seems sure of success with his latest find. Twenty-year-old Kelly has already grabbed the spotlight across America, where she will sing the US National Anthem at the country´s September 11 memorial concert next week.

Another Idol star taking America by storm is Simon Cowell, the acid-tongued judge who appeared on both the British and US versions of the show. Simon will earn an estimated ₤1 million to present the next series of American Idol, to be screened later this year.

Simon was, surprisingly, far more complimentary about the contestants on American Idol than he ever was about their counterparts in the UK, where his acerbic commentaries made him the person everybody loved to hate. “It's nothing derogatory about Will Young,” Simon says. “I just thought the overall talent in the American Idol Top Ten in the end was better than the British Pop Idol Top Ten. There are 50 million people in England and 250 million people here.”

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Photo: ©
Kelly Clarkson scooped a contract with RCA Records after winning American Idol
Photo: ©
Simon Cowell beams after finishing his duties as one of the judges on the American version of the popular talent show

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