When she reprised the song in the finale, while competing against runnerup Diana De Garmo, judge Simon Cowell called her the best contestant to ever compete on the show, including the more than 70 "Idol" winners crowned around the world at the time.
Post-"Idol": Her 2004 debut single, "I Believe," premiered atop the Billboard Hot 100. She played Celie in "The Color Purple" on Broadway, and is set to star in the film adaptation of the musical, after her third album is released in March.
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Her single "My Life Would Suck Without You," from her fourth album, "All I Ever Wanted," shot from No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in its first week of release, breaking the record for the largest jump to the top.
Clarkson is the highest-selling "Idol" alum, with more than 23 million albums sold worldwide. RUBEN STUDDARD, Season 2 On the show: The likable pop/soul singer from Alabama earned the nickname Velvet Teddy Bear for his soft-spoken personality.
On "Idol," his voice was praised by legends like Lionel Richie, Neil Sedaka, Luther Vandross and Gladys Knight.