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Given how long the show has been running at this point - has it really been 11 years? - what better than to bring things full circle and have Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson sitting at the judges' table? Along with Carrie Underwood, Clarkson is the most successful of all the "Idol" winners, and her post-"Idol" career trajectory is a true testament to what the show was supposed to be all about in the first place: launching superstars. Even better, she's got staying power in a notoriously difficult and fickle industry - not to mention an impressive degree of artistic integrity, as seen by her refusal to cater to the label when crafting her third album "My December." That is to say: she's got opinions and she's not afraid to assert them. What more could you want from an "American Idol" judge?
- Chris Eggertsen