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Sharon Quinn: American Idol’s Curvy Alumni – Where Are They Now?, 4/01/2010
Meet Sharon Quinn

American Idol is easily the most watched music program on television.  The broadcast has been ranked No.1 in the Nielson rating for the past five years has brought in gazillions viewers since its inception.  As we curvy girls have long known, American Idol and the entertainment business in general has long favored the "Style over Substance" mantra of the music business (how many more pretty faced, auto-tuned created pop stars can we take?) and has routinely discouraged and consistently hurled insults at it's fuller figured talent.  No matter though, curvy female contestants along with their corpulent male counterparts have managed to prove the Idol judges wrong year after year, proving that at the end of the day, substance and true talent can often tilt the scales in our favor over style a great deal of the time!  This month in celebration of Plus Model Magazine's Music issue I've decided to take a look back at Idol's fuller figured contestants and winners to see how far they have progressed in their post-Idol days.


Kelly Clarkson - (Winner! - Season 1 - 2000)


Back then:  Kelly Clarkson was the very first winner of the American Idol franchise (she beat out runner up Justin Guarini by taking 58% of the vote). Soon after the first season of American Idol ended, Clarkson stumbled slightly when she starred with Idol runner-up Guarini in the poorly received movie From Justin to Kelly; she often cites her contractual obligation as her sole reason for her involvement in the film.  The film was a colossal flop written by Idol creator Simon Fuller's brother Kim Fuller and grossed a paltry $5 million at the North American box office, less than half it's reported budget.  On April 15, 2003 her full-length debut album "Thankful" was released and debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart.  Thankful was certified double platinum and the album went on to win her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  Clarkson held the title of the highest selling American Idol debut album in history until November 2009, when Carrie Underwood broke her record by a narrow margin of 100,000 albums. She followed her film debut with television appearances on American Dreams, Reba & MADtv in 2002 and Saturday Night Live in 2005.


Her second release, 2006's Breakaway marked a shedding of her American Idol image and revealed a more rock-oriented image.  Breakaway has since earned her two Grammy awards and has sold 14 million copies world wide to date.  While on tour in 2006, she began writing and composing songs for her third album, My December.  It was during the recording of the My December album that the media got wind of controversy surfacing between Clarkson and iconic record producer Clive Davis.  Kelly reportedly blew off Clive Davis' advice for music selections for the album and wrote all of the songs herself.


What She's Up To Now: Clarkson has toured the world extensively as a solo act, she co-headlined the 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour with Reba McEntire in 2008 and she was recently named a VH1 Ambassador for The Save The Music Foundation for 2009-2010.  Currently she is currently on tour promoting "All I Ever Wanted" her fourth studio album. She remains the highest-selling American Idol alum overall, with around 23 million albums sold worldwide.


How She Handles The Haters:  Clarkson is a steadfast fighter when it comes down to her craft and she doesn't back down when asked about her famous feud with former mentor Davis.  She's quoted in a blog as saying "Everybody always wants me to go in different directions.  They want the formula writers and the formula producers that do everybody else's stuff, and while I love some of those people...and I don't mind working like that ...I just don't like working with someone that gives you a song and is like, "Oh I wrote this for you."  But you find out that they've given it to every other artist and they turned it down, you know?  Despite harsh criticisms from the media about her weight (she's 5'3 1/2" and reportedly weighs 180lbs) the two-time Grammy winner's career continues to blossom.  The American Idol winner says "She is

comfortable with her shape". Clarkson told Self Magazine "When people talk about my weight, I'm like "YOU seem to have a problem with it, I don't.  I'm fine."


Kelly Clarkson's Official Website:




PLUS Model Magazine | inspiration + style

PLUS Model Magazine inspires the style-savvy, fashion-forward, full-figured woman to embrace her curves.

PMM has become a thought-leader shaping the plus size industry and providing a barometer for the season’s latest style trends for curvy women. With a monthly magazine featuring stunning editorials showcasing plus models, as well as ‘How-to-wear’ columns and shopping guides at all price-points, PMM reports on style, beauty and topical news, all while engaging our reader in lively and meaningful conversation on our daily blog and social media.

Developed, designed and written by plus women, for plus women, PMM understands and speaks directly to the heart of our reader, because we are our reader.

Online since 2006, PMM is the #1 plus size fashion & beauty magazine, blog and social media outlet.

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