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Kelly Clarkson 

Wednesday, Nov 25 2009
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Kelly Clarkson invites so many cooks into her kitchen that it's no surprise when her albums tend to be uneven affairs. But when American Idol's first winner is handed a gem, she knows exactly what to do with it, as heard on her hits "My Life Would Suck Without You" and "Since U Been Gone." After suffering through a career-threatening publicity nightmare (the release of 2007's My December was highlighted by an ill-advised feud with label honcho Clive Davis), she emerged relatively unscathed, returning earlier this year with the well-received All I Ever Wanted. But it's onstage where Clarkson truly shines, displaying a gifted voice that distances her from contemporaries who rely on lip-synching to hit the right notes.

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Marc Hawthorne

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