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Shake Shack Teams Up with Cronuts for Longest Line Ever

Shake Shack Teams Up with Cronuts for Longest Line Ever

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They've created a Cronut Hole Concrete, and it's going to be ridiculous

Shake Shack has teamed up with Dominique Ansel to create a Cronut Hole Concrete.

Ever wonder what happens to all the Cronut holes from New York baker Dominique Ansel's bakery? Well, here is it: Danny Meyer's Shake Shack has teamed up with mad genius Dominique Ansel (behind the legendary and elusive Cronut) to create Cronut Hole Concretes.

The details: Tuesday, Sept. 17, Shake Shack's original Madison Square Park location in New York City will serve the collaborative dessert to people who want to have some ice cream in the morning. The Cronut Hole Concrete involves butter caramel frozen custard blended with three CInnamon Sugar Cronut Holes, topped with an additional Cronut hole for kicks. Total sales will benefit the New York Police Department and Madison Square Park Conservancy.

"One of the most frequently asked questions I get these days is what line I've waited in, and I always answer it's the one at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park," Ansel said in a press release. "...We hope this rounds out the summer by bringing a little something sweet to the community while giving back to it at the same time."

Considering the Cronut craze that has spawned two-hour lines by Ansel's bakery at 6 a.m., it's safe to say that there will definitely be a line for the Cronut Hole Concrete (unless it rains, and even then). Editors are taking bets as to how long the wait will be for two custards, as Shake Shack's Madison Square Park location has notoriously lengthy summer lines that wrap around the park. Get ready to rush the line (or avoid Madison Square Park completely).

The concrete will sell for $4.50 and hits the stand at 10 a.m.; there are only 1,000 concretes available, and each guest is limited to two. Even worse (or better?), there's no easy way for scallywags to take advantage of the system and re-sell the concretes for hundreds of dollars since, you know, ice cream melts.

There's a Science to Cutting in Line

Not that you should skip the line, but some methods are more successful than others.

Lines have become a regular part of food culture. Whether at a hip new quick-service outpost from a famous chef or a popular food truck that simply doesn&apost have the space to move things along any faster, a lot of the time it feels like we&aposre queueing up more than ever before.

But what if you truly are in a hurry or, god forbid, simply don&apost feel like waiting in a line? As an article in this month&aposs issue of The Atlantic points out, science is here to save you! David Andrews, author of the book Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster?, cites five studies out of which you can pluck a bunch helpful advice for squeezing your way into the middle or (if you dare) the front of a queue.

The first tip: Considering the reason for the line is important. Lines for once-in-a-lifetime events have higher stakes than a reoccurring line that happens regularly, so cutting into the latter is going to be a lot easier. To put that in foodie terms, you&aposre better off trying to cut into the queue at a place that always has a line, like Franklin Barbecue, than at the line of a big restaurant opening, like a new Ichiran Ramen. Also, take cultural norms into account: For instance, the article suggests that the Spanish are more lax about line cutting than the Irish or Germans.

Another tip that might seem counterintuitive: Always have an excuse, even if it isn&apost a good one. In one study that looked at photocopier lines, politely saying "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?" earned a cut 60 percent of the time. When the cutter added the additional reasoning that they were in a hurry, the cut rate jumped to an amazing 94 percent. But even the ambiguous excuse that "I need to make copies" worked just as well. So next time, maybe try something as simple as "Excuse me, I need to eat at DO!"

Bribing is another tried and true technique that&aposs surprisingly effective. But even more surprising is that a lot of time, people won&apost even accept your money afterward. A 2006 study found that offering cash often worked to secure a cut, but then, feeling the cutter&aposs desperation, the person who was offered the cash would turn it down. Who knows, if you offer to buy someone something at the Dominique Ansel Bakery in return for a cut, maybe you&aposll be able to have your cronut and eat it too.

And one final tip: Always do your dirty work alone. An experiment from the &apos80s found that two people trying to cut together were more likely to be rebuffed than one lone cutter. Yeah, your table for six can move to the back, thank you very much!

Dining With Miss Lil At Harlem EatUp Festival In Morningside Park

The last day of the 4th Annual Harlem EatUp Festival, May 20th, 2018 was centered around outdoor events at Morningside Park (112th Street and Manhattan Avenue) called The Harlem Stroll. The Harlem Stroll consists of the Ultimate Grand Tasting (ticketed for adults 21 years old and over and the Marketplace (free admission with pay as you go options).

It rained part of the day on Sunday, May 20th, 2018, but it was the last day, so folks came out. It was very muddy in the park from rain all day on Saturday, however, the over 80 degrees weather on Sunday was trying to dry things up. The Main Stage was located on the Marketplace side and it was sponsored by Macy’s with cooking demonstrations and live music performances. DJ Stormin’ Norman of Sundae Sermon fame was spinning music all weekend in between cooking demonstrations and live performances.

Cooking demonstrations on Sunday consisted of:

  • Melba’s owner Melba Wilson with Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla America and Jernard Wells of The Chef of Love featuring Barilla USA.
  • Red Rooster Harlem & Ginny’s Supper Club owner Marcus Samuelsson with Chef
  • Jarobi White of the musical group A Tribe Called Quest.
  • Laila Ali cookbook author, former undefeated champion boxer and media personality with Chef Adrienne Cheatham Top Chef season 15 runner-up and Sunday Best Pop-up Chef.

A social media culinary moment brought to the crowd with Buzzfeed’s Tasty and the new One Top appliance. It sounds a little weird for a digital media company to try to sell you a fancy hot plate, but this is part of BuzzFeed Product Labs, which was created last year following the acquisition of e-commerce startup Scroll. The team’s goal is to experiment with different commerce initiatives to figure out what works for BuzzFeed.
Musical intermission was international in sound and featured:

SIYA featuring Yacouba Sissoko. The musicians of SIYA, most of who come from Mali, perform on traditional instruments that capture the hauntingly beautiful sounds from West Africa. Yacouba is one of the best kora players in the world, playing with jazz, Latin and R&B bands as well as traditional African songs.

Vy Higgensen’s Sing Harlem Choir bringing a big dose of good gospel music that is good for the soul into the park the Gospel For Teens Choir sings at Ginny’s Supper Club gospel brunch on Sundays and Johnny Mambo & Friends is a Latin band that performs for the dancers, the salsa lovers and the jammers to the delight of the audience the band is featured at Ginny’s Supper Club on Tuesday Latin groove evenings.

Festival co-founder Marcus Samuelsson returned to the Main Stage demonstrating recipe creations inspired by WW Freestyle, the most livable and flexible Weight Watchers program.

The Whole Foods Market Kids Zone featured:

Lady Lexis Sweets co-owner Lexi Dilligard demonstrated cookie decorating.
HooperNova Fitness taught the children a variety of exercises, tricks and games intended to develop balance, hand eye coordination, core strength and cardiovascular endurance. Children were introduced to basic hooping moves plus tricks such as on-body/off-body hooping, isolation illusions, the vortex, lasso and the revolving door to name just a few.

Whole Foods Market featured healthy food demonstrations.

Grandma’s Place – Harlem’s premier toy and children’s book boutique had some games and books for children to enjoy.

Food and non-food vendors at the Marketplace selling their products included BO’s Bagels Harlem Shake LoLo’s Seafood Shack Sugardale An Artistic Taste and Mr. Cory’s Cookies.

Citi, a founding sponsor hosted Renaissance Harlem, a new restaurant with a creative and succulent cuisine that discovers a succession of flavors that capture the combination of cultures and foods found in Harlem to take over its Market Tent on Sunday, so they could share samples of its cuisine with all festival goers and grow their business by building relationships with its peers and guests at the festival.

Rao’s, the long-standing Italian restaurant in East Harlem continued selling 1,000 large size meatballs (like they sell in the restaurant) each day at $10 each served with sauce and grated cheese to benefit the Harlem EatUp Foundation.

Vendors that participated in Harlem Park to Park Local Vendor Program in the park included The Eggroll Queen K’s European Jams. Limation Beverages and Mama’s One Sauce.

Vendors that participated in Harlem Business Alliance program in the park included Cupcake Queen Raven Granapoos Ida Preserves Lovely Rita Cafe and mama Pops Popcorn.

Vendors that participated in the Uptown Grand Central and East Harlem Community Alliance program in the park included AFineLyne Sade Skin Care Sprinkle Splash Uplift Spa and Uptown Roaster.

All the above activities took place on the free admission side, so don’t believe the negative talk that this festival is for outsiders only and/or is out of reach for the average Harlem resident.

The Ultimate Grand Tasting cost $85 to $110 and with the church code you got a 20% discount and featured:

Restaurants & Food Exhibitors that participates included:

Aromas Boutique Bakery, Bier International, Bierstrasse, BLVD Bistro, Cove Lounge, Dinosaur BBQ, Ginny’s Supper Club/Red Rooster Harlem, Harlem Tavern, Kingston, Lady Lexis Sweets, Lloyd’s Carrot Cake, Moffle Bar, Melba’s, Piatto d’Oro, Row House, Savencia Cheese USA (offered cheese samples & Cheese 101 classes), Settepani, Shake Shack, Sisters Caribbean Cuisine, SpaHa Soul, Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird, Uptown Veg & Juice Bar, Drunken Fruit, Harlem Chocolate Factory, Sugardale and more.

Dinosaur BBQ had one of the longest line as usual because those ribs fall off the bone when you bite on it. Lloyd’s Carrot Cake could barely keep the cake on the table. Melba’s fried catfish was a hitIt was great to see Piatto d’Oro back in business again and out there for a second day!

Artwork curated by Marcus Samuelsson for AbsolutArt was on display and available for sale that featured Harlem based artists Makeba “KEEBS” Rainey, Nick Low and Psychoegyptian.

Fashion & Wellness companies there were:

Harlem Haberdashery, Land Yoga Arts & Wellness Center / Three and a Half Acres, and more.

Wine, Spirits and Beer were provided by:

Bordeaux Wine Bar, AstraLuna Distillers, Belvedere Vodka, Delicato Vineyards, Frederick Wildman, Heaven Hill, Hendrick’s Gin, Hennessy, Manhattan Beer (Arnold Palmer Spiked, Corona, Modelo Especial, Blue Moon, Strongbow, Heineken), Mionetto USA, Palm Bay Imports, Shaw Ross, Zonin USA, and more.

Citi, a founding sponsor of the festival had its Cardholder Lounge featuring specialty cocktails and tasty bites that is an exclusive experience for Citi cardholders and one guest.

Some uptight community residents complained about how the park looked after the festival was over. The tents came down and the garbage was taken away. The cleaning service hired by the festival organizers lead by Jackie Rowe Adams’ group Harlem Mother’s SAVE, the production team and NYC Parks’ department personnel made sure everyone did what they were supposed to do. For some things we do have to wait on God to do like stop the rain from falling and dry up the soil. That happens according to his plan so why are you tripping? Our food festival is here to stay. I can’t wait to see what festival co-founders Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz and their respective teams have in store for us with the 5th annual festival in 2019.

Photo Captions photo credits to Rudy Collins. 1) Melba’s catfish bites. 2) Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Lailah Ali and Chef Carlos Swepson. 3) G. Keith Alexander. 4) HBA Executive Director Regina Smith. 5) Guests entering The Marketplace. 5) Ms. Lana Turner.

Shake Shack CEO: Our growth is just getting started

Shares of Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK) are up 16 percent in the last three months, but are down 17 percent since the company's initial public offering in January 2015. After a big runup , the stock is now down about 50 percent from its highs two years ago.

"We feel like every day we're barely getting started," Garutti said in an interview with " Power Lunch " on Wednesday.

"We're having a lot of fun … just building a company for decades to come."

In fact, the chain has just reached 134 stores across the globe, up from around 60 when it went public.

And Garutti envisions at least 450 Shake Shacks in the U.S. alone.

"We've hit on something. We've hit on a moment in the world. People want to know where their food comes from. They want to know it's with great ingredients served by really sincere, hospitable people," said Garutti, who is author of the new book, "Shake Shack: Recipes and Stories."

He pointed to the chain's "rabid fans" and the fact that the stores have been successful across the country.

"That's what people who are buying the stock and holding it and believing in this story for the long term understand. This is a story of unit growth. This is a story of absolutely huge sales growth opportunity and a story of people who have just become serious fans of loving what we do."

Piper Jaffray appears to agree with Garutti's assessment. In May, the firm i nitiated coverage on the stock , with analyst Nicole Miller Regan saying Shake Shack presents a highly compelling, growth-restaurant investment opportunity.

"With the company's culture of operational excellence we believe the brand is favorably positioned to double its unit base during the next five-year period," she wrote in a note to clients.

Regan started her price target for Shake Shack at $44.

— CNBC's Tae Kim contributed to this report.

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What to look for when buying weight loss shakes

When purchasing a meal replacement shake, there are a few things you should look for. By simply reading the nutrition label, you can easily distinguish between a good and a bad meal replacement shake. Look for a balance of carbs, fats and protein. A meal replacement shake should come in convenient packaging and contain 15–25 grams of protein, at least 18 vitamins and minerals, 10–13 grams of healthy fat and a good dose of fiber per serving. Avoid meal replacement shakes with more than 400 calories per serving, artificial flavors or added sugars.

It’s also possible to supplement your protein powder or meal replacement shake with added ingredients for more flavor and benefit. You can add spinach, which will boost your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and is full of vitamin C. Greek yogurt will add creaminess and extra calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. Adding a dash of cinnamon can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and even have antioxidant benefits—plus extra flavor.

All in all, meal replacement shakes can be a convenient, and powerful, addition to your weight-loss routine. But in order for them to be successful, it’s important to research your options before making a purchasing decision. These shakes should be high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and low in artificial flavorings and sugars. Just like a healthy diet, your meal replacement shake should be full of real ingredients that taste like real flavors—not artificial or chalky.

What to look forWhat to avoid
15–25g of protein per serving High calorie count (more than 400 calories per serving)
18+ vitamins and minerals No fiber
Healthy fats (10–13 grams) Artificial flavors
Convenient packaging and preparation Added sugar

Our Favorite Small Food Brands Hit the Big Time, and We're Okay With That

We were overjoyed when we heard the news that Tartine Bakery , the most worth-the-hype buzzy bakery of the moment, will be expanding well beyond San Francisco to New York and Tokyo . It's also merging with Blue Bottle Coffee , an excellent specialty coffee company expanding rapidly with over $25 million in funding under its belt. But just because they're expanding doesn't mean that the quality has to change –no easy feat.

We know because many of our favorite now-national and international indie food brands have grown up these last few years. We're most-of-all thankful that, at every location, we can still get the same food served with the same vibes that made us fall in love with these brands in the first place. Take a look at some of our favorites:

Mast Brothers Chocolate. Photo: Danny Kim


There are some food products we just want to take home with us.

Olympia Provisions : Cured meat mecca Olympia Provisions got its start in Portland and hit big with its flavor-packed salumi. After a name-change from Olympic Provisions to Olympia—courtesy of the Olympic committee and a trademark battle —we can now get Olympia Provisions cured meats at Whole Foods and other markets all across this great nation from Hawaii to New Mexico and South Dakota. Its soppressata is a staple in our weekly grocery runs and we like ours served alongside a healthy helping of cheese.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream : Born out of Ohio, Jeni's Splendid makes eat-it-even-if-it-falls-on-the-floor good ice cream. The ice creamery now serves otherworldly Salted Caramel and Lemon Buttermilk, among other flavors, in six different cities, including Nashville, Atlanta, Charleston, and most recently New York. We just order our pints of Jeni's online or pick them up at Whole Foods and specialty markets. Ice cream cravings wait for no one.

Anson Mills : South Carolina-based Anson Mills is known for its phenomenal heirloom grains (think: grits, benne, and red fife flour). We order its course-style oats online to eat at home for an ideal breakfast, and are delighted to find Anson Mills lending its wares to restaurant menus at Charleston's Husk, Semilla in Brooklyn, Acorn in Denver, and everywhere in between.

Mast Brothers Chocolate : We're still not used to seeing Mast Brothers , the down-home artisanal chocolatier from Brooklyn, across the pond in Shoreditch in London. But that doesn't mean we don't pick up a Maine Sea Salt bar and admire the funky packaging each and every time we see one at Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca, Stumptown, or the countless other specialty food markets where they're sold.

Dominique Ansel's Cronut. Photo: Dominique Ansel


And there are some bakeries that make us forever grateful that we're able to get exquisite pastries and airy breads all over the world.

Dominique Ansel : Influential pastry chef Dominique Ansel , the brain behind the eponymous bakery in New York, and also of Cronut fame , plans to open a Tokyo location in Omotesando Hills in 2015 and a dessert tasting room in New York.

Voodoo Doughnuts : The wacky doughnut shop-with-a-big-personality and four locations, Voodoo Doughnuts , is planning for massive expansion into Austin and another 12 to 20 locations in Japan and Taiwan this year.

Momofuku Milk Bar : This bakery is home to the compost cookie, cereal milk, and the best birthday cake you'll ever have . Part of David Chang's empire and helmed by Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar has now expanded beyond its first New York location, making inroads into Canada and soon Washington, D.C.

Maison Kayser : Even though French bakery Maison Kayser is up to over 80 locations worldwide , we still like camping out with a bottle of Badoit and a pastry basket to pretend we're chatting at a boulangerie in the 2nd.

Coffee at Stumptown. Photo: Matt Duckor


Third wave coffee is the new normal across the country but it wasn't always that way.

Intelligentsia: If you ask who roasts the best coffee, Chicago's Intelligentsia will almost always make the list. It opened as early as 1995 and made waves as a roaster and at its shops in the Windy City. Now it sells its beans wholesale all over the world and boasts locations in New York, Los Angeles, and, of course, Chicago.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters: The specialty coffee roaster that arose out of Portland has been all kinds of influential on the industry, including being one of the first to bottle its cold brew in stubbies. Now with ten Stumptown locations in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and LA, Stumptown's Hair Bender is still what wakes us up in the morning.

Blue Bottle Coffee: Founded in the Bay Area but now also with roasteries in Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo, Blue Bottle is a force of nature in the coffee industry. Equipped with over $25 million in funding, Blue Bottle has 19 cafes in the US and Japan, a coffee technology development team , a merger with Tartine Bakery, a robust wholesale business—not to mention it's been a training ground for some of the industry's best-known shop owners and baristas for nearly a decade.


Fast-casual is now taking over the fast food world, and we're not mad about it, especially with these places leading the charge.

Luke's Lobster: Being able to get a lobster roll with a toasty and buttery bun all-year-round is truly a gift. When Luke's Lobster first opened New York, the charming story of sourcing from the owner's Maine community won us over. And we weren't the only ones. Luke's now has close to 15 locations scattered throughout New York, Washington, D.C., and Philly.

Tortas Frontera: If there is a better restaurant with a location in an airport, we haven't found it. Serving hot and heavenly Mexican-inspired sandwiches and soupy cazuelas, we're thrilled Tortas Frontera is expanding beyond its two locations in Chicago. It's now Philly too, without any change in quality.

Shake Shack: Burger mecca Shake Shack is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange, flipping burgers in Qatar and gearing up to compete with In-N-Out in Los Angeles , but it started out as a hot dog cart in New York back in 2001. Nearly 15 years later, it's still dishing out the juicy burgers and creamy concretes that made us fall for it in the first place.

The Bottom Line

A bigger footprint doesn't necessarily mean better food, but it does mean we can look to some of our favorite brands to feed us no matter here we are. The danger, of course, is the potential homogenization of food culture. The benefit? Pok Pok Thai food in Portland, LA, and New York, and Big Gay Ice Cream and Mission Chinese on both coasts. For now, we'll just say, thanks, mate, and we'll take that Toby's Estate Coffee flat white and Tim-Tam to-go. It doesn't matter whether we're in Singapore, Melbourne, or Brooklyn anyway.

2. Pre-workout

While that 30-minute window is true to an extent, the best time to down your post-workout protein shake is actually influenced by what your pre-workout eating routine was.

A 2013 meta-analysis in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that timing your pre- and post-exercise meals to be within 3-4 hours of one another was more important to muscle growth and recovery than any post-workout window alone. That means if you eat a protein bar with around 20-30g of protein, ideally, 30 minutes before spending an hour in the weight room, you have 2.5 hours to drink that shake and build optimal bulk.

Why? “Muscle glycogen—which comes from carbohydrates—is our primary source of energy fueling workouts,” Jordan explains. “If glycogen levels are low, like from going too long without eating, your body will begin to break protein down during exercise to provide some energy.” Loading up on protein and carbs before a workout helps keep you fueled to the finish line and keeps your body from eating up those protein pools during exercise so that it can tap into them immediately after.

there's one right near my home, and when they opened, they had many patrons, but never long lines. i've never been in there. i don't eat burgers.

‎11-20-2020 07:42 PM - edited ‎11-20-2020 07:45 PM

Some fancy burger place, opened abt 3 yrs ago where I live called Skuare burger . Well, apparently it was swamped at first , then after abt 2-3 months , I went there and the restaurant was dead during lunch hr. Then within another 2 months the place closed. Very expensive for a square burger and the staff very very slow in getting the food out .


1982–2002: Early life and career beginnings

Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Jeanne Ann (née Rose), a first grade English teacher, and Stephen Michael Clarkson, a former engineer. [4] She is the youngest of three children, with a brother named Jason and a sister named Alyssa. [4] [5] Clarkson also has two younger half brothers from her father's second marriage. [6] Her parents divorced when she was six years old, [7] whereupon her brother went to live with their father, her sister went to live with an aunt, and she stayed with her mother. [4] Clarkson's mother later remarried to Jimmy Taylor. Clarkson is of English, Welsh, Irish and Greek descent. [8] [9] Her mother is a descendant of Republican state senator Isaiah Rose, whose life story was discussed on Clarkson's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in 2013. [10] Clarkson was raised Southern Baptist. [11] She has said, "I always grew up in church. I was the leader of our youth group. I've always grown up pretty close to church and with God. But I think I've just gotten a lot closer just because He's the only one I can lean on." [12] She later said of her upbringing, "My family was highly conservative I had to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday." [13]

Clarkson was educated at Pauline Hughes Middle School. In the seventh grade, the school's choir teacher, Cynthia Glenn, overheard her singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir. Clarkson told her she had never received any professional vocal training. [14] Clarkson graduated from Burleson High School in 2000, where she performed in several musicals, such as Annie Get Your Gun, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Brigadoon. [15] [16] She sang at her high school talent show, after which an audience member shared some inspiring words with her: "God has given you this gift. You've got to sing. You're destined to sing." Clarkson continued singing and soon started classical training, hoping music would be her ticket to a college scholarship. Upon graduating from high school, Clarkson was offered full scholarships to the University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas, and Berklee College of Music, but she declined them, explaining: "I've already written so much music and wanted to try a career on my own" adding, "you're never too old to go to college." [16]

After graduation, Clarkson worked several jobs to finance a demo, recording material and trying to market it to record labels, but she received little response. Clarkson turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records, saying, "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act. [4] I was confident enough that something better would come along." [15] In 2001, she traveled to Los Angeles, trying to pursue a career in music. She appeared as an extra in a few television series such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Dharma & Greg and briefly worked with musician Gerry Goffin to record five demo tracks in an effort to secure a record deal. [17] According to Clarkson, her early attempts to launch her music career floundered when she was turned down by almost every U.S. record label for sounding "too black". [18] Lack of other career opportunities and a fire incident in her apartment forced Clarkson to return to Burleson, where she worked at a movie theater, promoted Red Bull energy drinks, worked as a telemarketer and as a cocktail waitress in a comedy club. [14] [19]

2002–2003: American Idol, World Idol, and Thankful

Upon returning to Burleson, Clarkson was encouraged by her friends to audition for the inaugural season of the reality television series American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in May 2002. Despite receiving a "golden ticket", a pass to the Hollywood rounds, in the series premiere, Clarkson made her first appearance during the second episode. In an interview in 2012, Clarkson referred to the inaugural season as "ghetto", explaining: "On our season we were like kids in camp. Nobody knew what to do. The show was ever changing every day. They did one season of Pop Idol in the UK, but America is a very different market. They dropped us off in a mall and said 'find some clothes to wear on national television'. I am maybe the closest to white trash you can get. What do I buy? White pants I guess? I definitely looked like a cocktail waitress." [20] Clarkson went on to win the competition on September 4, 2002, at the Kodak Theatre (now Dolby), earning 58% of the votes against runner-up Justin Guarini.

Immediately after winning American Idol, Clarkson was signed to a record deal with RCA Records, 19 Recordings, and S Records by talent manager Simon Fuller, who created American Idol, and music mogul Clive Davis, who was slated to executive-produce her debut album. On September 17, 2002, her debut double-A-side single, "Before Your Love"/"A Moment Like This", was released. Both songs were performed by Clarkson during the season finale of American Idol. After debuting at number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the single climbed to number 52 the following week, and subsequently ascended to number one. It broke a 38-year-old record set by the British band The Beatles for the biggest leap to number one. [21] It eventually went on to become the best-selling single of 2002 in the United States. [22]

American Idol season 1 performances and results [23]
Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Dallas "Express Yourself"
"At Last"
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
N/A Advanced
Top 121 Hollywood round 1 "Respect" Otis Redding
Top 65 Hollywood round 2 "I Say a Little Prayer" Dionne Warwick
Top 45 Hollywood round 3 "Save the Best for Last" Vanessa Williams
Top 30 Semifinal/Group 2 "Respect" Otis Redding 9
Top 10 Motown "You're All I Need to Get By" Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell 8 Safe
Top 8 1960s "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Aretha Franklin 5
Top 7 1970s "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" Ben E. King
Top 6 Big Band "Stuff Like That There" Betty Hutton 6
Top 5 Burt Bacharach Love Songs "Walk On By" Dionne Warwick 1
Top 4 1980s
"It's Raining Men"
"I Surrender"
The Weather Girls
Celine Dion
Top 3 Idol's Choice
Judges' Choice
"Think Twice"
"Without You"
Celine Dion
Top 2 Finale "A Moment Like This"
"Before Your Love"
Kelly Clarkson
Otis Redding
Kelly Clarkson

Clarkson's debut album, Thankful, was released on April 15, 2003. The album contained aspects of pop, contemporary R&B, and gospel music, [24] [25] with several established musicians such as Rhett Lawrence, Diane Warren, The Underdogs, and Babyface contributing on to the tracks. Released during a time of urban-R&B dominance, the album was well received by several critics. AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the album for its vocal ability: "throughout this record, (Clarkson) makes it seem effortless and charming. She can croon, she can belt out a song, she can be sexy and sassy while still being graceful and as wholesome as the girl next door." [26] Henry Goldblatt of Entertainment Weekly remarked: "Clarkson glides through octaves with the masterful control of someone who's been doing this for decades." [25] Thankful was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to sell over 4.5 million copies worldwide. [24] It was later certified double platinum by the RIAA, platinum in Canada, and gold in Japan and Australia. [27]

Its lead single, "Miss Independent", became her first international hit, reaching the top ten in five national charts, including the US. It was later certified gold by the RIAA. It earned Clarkson her first Grammy Award nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" at the 46th Grammy Awards. [28] It was followed with two moderately successful singles, "Low" and "The Trouble with Love Is" the latter was used on the soundtrack of British romantic film Love Actually. Her first video album, Miss Independent, was released on November 18, 2003, and was certified gold by the RIAA. [27] To support Thankful, Clarkson and Idol season two runner-up Clay Aiken co-headlined the 2004 Independent Tour throughout the US. [29]

Clarkson made her film debut with Guarini with the release of the musical romantic comedy film From Justin to Kelly in June 2003. The film was poorly received by critics [30] and was unsuccessful at the box office, with Clarkson explaining that she was "contractually obligated" to do the film and didn't like it. [31] [32] In 2002, Clarkson, along with American Idol judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson and hosts Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest, participated in the season premiere of the eighth season of the television comedy series MADtv. She also portrayed Brenda Lee in two episodes of the television drama American Dreams between 2003 and 2004. On December 25, 2003, Clarkson participated in the television special competition World Idol in London, along with the inaugural winners of the several Idol television series around the world. Clarkson was contractually obligated to participate, and she performed Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". She ended up as the runner-up with 97 points, behind the first Norwegian Idol Kurt Nilsen. [33]

2004–2006: New management and Breakaway

Trying to distance herself from her American Idol image, Clarkson decided to part ways with Fuller and 19 Management and hired the services of talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz of The Firm. She reinvented her musical direction by developing a more rock-oriented sound with her second studio album, Breakaway. Davis served as the executive producer for the record, while Clarkson co-wrote six of the tracks with pop and rock songwriters such as former Evanescence band members Ben Moody and David Hodges, Kara DioGuardi, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Breakaway received critical acclaim, with Erlewine of AllMusic remarking: "What gives Breakaway its spine are the driving, anthemic pop tunes, numbers that sound simultaneously mainstream and youthful, which is a hard trick to pull off, and they are the tracks that illustrate Clarkson is a rare thing in the 2000s: a pop singer who's neither hip nor square, just solidly and enjoyably in the mainstream." [34]

Breakaway was released on November 30, 2004, and became Clarkson's most commercially successful album. After debuting at number three on the Billboard 200, [35] its longevity allowed it to become the third-best-selling album of 2005 in the US and was certified sextuple platinum by the RIAA. [27] [36] The album also enjoyed success throughout the world it topped the charts in the Netherlands and Ireland, became the world's seventh-best-selling album of 2005 and went on to sell more than twelve million copies worldwide. [37] [38] Clarkson supported Breakaway with the Breakaway World Tour, which took place from 2005 to 2006. [39]

Five singles were released to promote Breakaway. Its title track, "Breakaway", was originally released in July 2004, as the soundtrack for Disney film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and was later re-released as the album's fifth single in May 2006. It became Clarkson's third top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100 with a peak of number six. It was a major success on adult contemporary radio, topping the Billboard Adult Contemporary for 21 weeks and the Adult Contemporary Audience chart for 28 weeks (her longest number one on any charts). [40] "Since U Been Gone" was released as the album's lead single in November 2004 and became Clarkson's most successful single on the Hot 100 despite peaking at number two. [40] The second and third singles, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Because of You", also followed suit—peaking at number six and number seven on the Hot 100, respectively. "Because of You" became Clarkson's biggest single worldwide, reaching number one on the European Hot 100 Singles chart and the national charts in Brazil, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland. [41] The fourth single, "Walk Away", peaked at number twelve on the Hot 100. According to Mediabase, Clarkson was the most-played artist of 2006 in the U.S. [42]

Breakaway garnered Clarkson many accolades, including two trophies at the 48th Grammy Awards—the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Since U Been Gone" and the Best Pop Vocal Album. [43] She also won Best Female Video two years in a row, for "Since U Been Gone" and "Because of You", at the MTV Video Music Awards. Clarkson's second video album, Behind Hazel Eyes, was released on March 29, 2005. In 2005, she performed and participated during the thirtieth season of the American sketch-comedy series, Saturday Night Live, and the reality series Damage Control with Simple Plan frontman Pierre Bouvier. She performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Game 2 of the NBA Finals. [44] She also performed during the festivities All-Star Game [45] and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy [46] In 2006, Clarkson recorded "Go" as a free download for the Ford Motor Company advertising campaign. [47] [48]

2007–2009: My December and All I Ever Wanted

Clarkson's third studio album, My December, was released on June 22, 2007. The album relied on darker themes and heavier rock music. [2] [49] Clarkson replaced Davis as the executive producer and co-wrote all the tracks. [50] She opted to collaborate with her band members rather than her previous producers and collaborators. [2] [51] Its production and release became a subject of a dispute with RCA, particularly with Davis. He noted the album's lack of professional production input and wanted her to re-record tracks with a more mainstream appeal, which she refused. [2] Clarkson defended herself saying, "I've sold more than 15 million records worldwide, and still nobody listens to what I have to say. I couldn't give a crap about being a star. I've always just wanted to sing and write." [52] The album received positive response, but lack of promotion due to reluctance of RCA led Clarkson to dismiss Kwatinetz and Live Nation to cancel its accompanying tour, the My December Tour, and reschedule it into a smaller scale with supporting acts Jon McLaughlin, Sean Kingston and Mandy Moore. [2] [53] [54] Clarkson later hired talent manager Narvel Blackstock of Starstruck Management. Blackstock was the husband of country artist Reba McEntire, of whom Clarkson is a close friend. Clarkson later issued an apology to Davis, citing him as "a key advisor" in her success. [55]

My December debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum by the RIAA. [27] The album went on to sell over 2.5 million copies worldwide. [56] It featured only one major hit single, "Never Again", which debuted and peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100—her highest debut on the chart ever. On July 7, 2007, Clarkson performed on the American leg of Live Earth concert. [57] Clarkson partnered with NASCAR during their 2007 season, appearing in televised advertisements, performed at pre-race concerts, promoted NASCAR Day, and appeared at the Champions' Banquet in December. [58]

Clarkson collaborated with Reba McEntire in an hour-long CMT Crossroads special at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on February 22, 2007. [59] Introduced by Dolly Parton, Clarkson performed "Why Haven't I Heard from You" and "Does He Love You" with Martina McBride on the television special CMT Giants: Reba McEntire. She also appeared on an episode of McEntire's sitcom Reba, which aired on January 14, 2007. At the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16, 2007, Clarkson and McEntire sang a country version of "Because of You", which also became the lead single from the album Reba: Duets. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Throughout 2008, Clarkson and McEntire embarked on the 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour to support Reba: Duets and My December. [60]

Clarkson's fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, was released on March 10, 2009. Clarkson continued to co-write her own material, but this time she returned to a mainstream-oriented sound by reuniting with previous collaborators Dr. Luke, Martin, and DioGuardi, and new collaborators Howard Benson, Claude Kelly, Ryan Tedder, Glen Ballard, Matt Thiessen and Katy Perry in contributing tracks for the album. The release of All I Ever Wanted was met with positive acclaim from music critics for its lighter themes. [61] The album was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and remaining there for two weeks. [62] The album has sold over a million copies in the U.S. and garnered Clarkson a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards. [63] [64]

Its first single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", became an international hit. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 97 and rose to the top position the following week, breaking the record for the biggest jump to number one in a single week previously held by Britney Spears' "Womanizer". [65] It also topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Hungary. It was followed with two more top-twenty singles, "I Do Not Hook Up" and "Already Gone". The release of "Already Gone" became a subject of another dispute between Clarkson and RCA, after she realized its similarities with Beyoncé's song "Halo", both of which were produced by Tedder. [66] Further promotion for the album was abruptly ended with the limited success of its fourth and final singles, "All I Ever Wanted" and "Cry". Clarkson supported All I Ever Wanted with the All I Ever Wanted Tour from 2009 to 2010. She also performed as one of many main artists for the return of VH1 Divas in September 2009. [67] Clarkson became a guest mentor on the Dutch television series X Factor in November 2009. [68]

2010–2012: Stronger, Duets, and Greatest Hits – Chapter One

Clarkson recorded a country duet with Jason Aldean, "Don't You Wanna Stay", for his 2010 album My Kinda Party. [69] It became her first number-one song on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and has sold over 2.7 million copies, [63] making it the best-selling country collaboration in history. [70] It received numerous country-related accolades, including a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 54th Grammy Awards. [71] Clarkson incorporated a slight country vibe into her fifth studio album, Stronger, which was also influenced by Prince, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, and Radiohead. She worked with several producers including Greg Kurstin, Ester Dean, Darkchild, Toby Gad, Steve Jordan, and Howard Benson. Released on October 21, 2011, Stronger debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. [27] It was also critically applauded and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards, making her the first artist to win the award twice. [72]

Stronger ' s lead single, "Mr. Know It All", was released in September 2011. It reached number one in Australia and South Korea and attained a top-ten position in seven countries, including the U.S., where it became her ninth top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also became a crossover hit to the country charts, prompting RCA to reissue a country version. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" served as the second single in January 2012, and topped sixteen Billboard charts, becoming her third number one on the Hot 100. [73] It also reached number one in Poland and Slovakia and reached the top ten in many other charts worldwide. It remains Clarkson's best-selling single, with 4.9 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. [63] The song was nominated for three Grammy Awards—Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance. [72] "Dark Side" was released as the third and final single in June 2012, and it achieved a modest success. It became her eleventh top-ten hit on the Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart, and she surpassed Sheryl Crow and Katy Perry as the female artist with the most top-ten songs on the chart. [74]

The release of Stronger was accompanied by two EPs, The Smoakstack Sessions and iTunes Session. [75] The latter debuted at number 85 on the Billboard 200, and it was promoted by its only single, a cover of "I'll Be Home For Christmas". Clarkson co-wrote "Tell Me a Lie", which was recorded by British boy band One Direction for their debut album, Up All Night (2011). Clarkson promoted Stronger with two concert tours, the Stronger Tour and the co-headlining the Kelly Clarkson / The Fray Tour with the alternative rock band The Fray. On February 5, 2012, she performed The Star-Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XLVI to widespread critical acclaim. [76] [77] She later released a promotional single, "Get Up (A Cowboys Anthem)", for use in Pepsi's NFL advertising campaign. [78]

Clarkson served as a mentor and judge, alongside John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, and Robin Thicke, on the ABC television show Duets, which premiered on May 24, 2012. [79] The show concluded on July 19, 2012, with Clarkson's contestant Jason Farol finishing as the second runner-up. She also became a guest mentor to Blake Shelton's team on season two of the American television series The Voice. [79] The two later collaborated on a cover of "There's a New Kid in Town" for Shelton's 2012 Christmas album, Cheers, It's Christmas. [80]

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of her career in music, Clarkson released her first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits – Chapter One, on November 19, 2012. Three new songs recorded for the compilation—"Catch My Breath", "Don't Rush" (featuring country musician Vince Gill) and "People Like Us"—were all released as singles. "Catch My Breath" became her 14th top-twenty hit on the Hot 100 chart as well as her 13th million-selling single in the United States. [63] According to Billboard, it was the third biggest adult contemporary song of 2013. [81] However, its follow-up singles performed moderately well on the charts. Clarkson earned more nominations from the country music industry, including Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Don't Rush" at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards and Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2012 Country Music Association Awards. [82] Chapter One was eventually certified gold in Australia, the UK and the U.S. [27]

2013–2015: Wrapped in Red and Piece by Piece

In January 2013, Clarkson performed "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at the second inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama. [83] Her live rendition was acclaimed by critics, who contrasted it with Beyoncé's pre-recorded performance during the same event. [84] In February 2013, she performed "Tennessee Waltz" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards as a tribute to Patti Page and Carole King. [85] She also released a non-album single, "Tie It Up", exclusively to country music stations in June 2013. [86] Clarkson and Maroon 5 performed at 24 concerts as part of the 12th Annual Honda Civic Tour, starting on August 1, 2013, and ending on October 6, 2013. She was featured on the re-recorded version of "Foolish Games" for Jewel's first compilation, Greatest Hits (2013). [87] Clarkson also collaborated with singer Robbie Williams on the song "Little Green Apples" for his 2013 album Swings Both Ways. [88]

Clarkson's sixth studio album and first Christmas record, Wrapped in Red, was solely produced by Greg Kurstin. She co-wrote all five original songs and recorded eleven cover versions of Christmas standards and carols. Released on October 25, 2013, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums and at number three on the Billboard 200 chart. [89] By December 2013, Wrapped in Red had already been certified platinum by the RIAA and eventually became the best-selling holiday album of the year, making her the first American female artist to do so. [90] The album's lead single, "Underneath the Tree", was an adult contemporary number-one hit in both the U.S. and Canada. Clarkson subsequently became Billboard ' s ninth top adult contemporary act of 2013. [91] On December 11, 2013, her first Christmas special debut, Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale, garnered over 5.3 million viewers. [92] In December 2013, Citizen Watch Co. announced Clarkson as their newest Brand Ambassador. [93] Retaining her relationship with country music acts in 2014, Clarkson collaborated with Martina McBride on "In the Basement" (originally by Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto) for McBride's album Everlasting and with Trisha Yearwood on "PrizeFighter" for Yearwood's compilation PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit. [94] Clarkson also performed a rendition of "All I Ask of You" with Josh Groban on his seventh studio album, Stages, and its companion television special. [95] She was featured on Ben Haenow's "Second Hand Heart", the lead single from his debut studio album. [96]

In February 2015, Clarkson released Piece by Piece, her seventh and final studio album under her recording contract with RCA Records. [97] Musically, it is an electropop and dance album, featuring collaborations with Kurstin, Jesse Shatkin, Sia, John Legend, and Shane McAnally, among others. Piece by Piece received a reasonably positive response from music critics [98] and became her third album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. [99] To promote the album, Clarkson appeared in several televised performances, including the fourteenth season of American Idol, where she became the only alumnus ever to be dedicated with a competing week featuring her discography. [100] She also supported the Piece by Piece Tour throughout 2015, which was cut short of its worldwide visits following medical recommendations for a vocal rest during the year. [101]

Piece by Piece spawned three singles. The first one, "Heartbeat Song", peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a top-ten hit in the UK, Austria, Poland, and South Africa. However, Clarkson failed to achieve a similar success with the second single, "Invincible". The third and final single, "Piece by Piece", debuted and peaked at number eight on the Hot 100 chart, following Clarkson's emotional performance on the fifteenth season of American Idol. It became her eleventh U.S. top-ten hit and matched "Never Again" as her highest debut on the chart. [102] [103] At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, the album and "Heartbeat Song" were nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance, respectively. At the following year, the title track also received a nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance. [104]

2016–2018: Children's books, Meaning of Life, and The Voice

In February 2016, it was announced that Clarkson had signed a book deal with HarperCollins. Her first children's book, River Rose and the Magical Lullaby was released on October 4, 2016. The book features an original lullaby written and performed by Clarkson. [105] On the possibility of writing any more books in the future, Clarkson told Publishers Weekly, "I've got a few ideas – there could be a lullaby for each book. We've got a plethora of stories, and I've already written seven songs, full out, so we'll just have to see which ones might pan out to be a book. But yes, there will definitely be more." [106] The second book featuring River Rose, River Rose and the Magical Christmas, was released on October 24, 2017, and included an original song written and sung by Clarkson, "Christmas Eve". [107]

On March 15, 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama released "This Is for My Girls", a collaborative track featuring vocals from Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Kelly Rowland, Lea Michele, Zendaya, and Missy Elliott to coincide with Barack Obama's SXSW speech and to promote the First Lady's third-world educational initiative Let Girls Learn. [108] Clarkson recorded a solo version of "It's Quiet Uptown" for The Hamilton Mixtape. Her version was released on November 3, 2016, as a promotional single for the album. [109] She also recorded a duet called "Love Goes On" with Aloe Blacc for the original soundtrack of The Shack, which was released in the United States on March 3, 2017. [110] On May 11, 2017, it was announced that Clarkson would join The Voice as a coach for the series' fourteenth season. [111]

On June 24, 2016, Clarkson announced she had signed a long-term worldwide deal with Atlantic Records, with the intentions of releasing a soul-influenced eighth studio album in 2017. [112] In November 2016, Clarkson announced her intention to release a new single in April 2017, with the album to follow in June. [113] On September 4, 2017, Clarkson announced her new lead single "Love So Soft", which was released on September 7, 2017, along with the song "Move You". [114] On September 6, 2017, Clarkson announced that her album, Meaning of Life, would be released on October 27, 2017. Clarkson opened the 45th American Music Awards with P!nk, and together they performed R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" to honor first responders. Later in the show, she performed "Miss Independent" and "Love So Soft". [115] "Love So Soft" was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. She now holds the record for the most nominations in that category with four. [116] With the release of Meaning of Life, Clarkson revealed that she had discussions with Atlantic Records about the sound of the follow-up record and has expressed interest in venturing deeper into R&B and soulful pop music.

Clarkson lent her voice in the computer-animated film The Star, alongside Oprah Winfrey, Steven Yeun, Tyler Perry, and others. The film is based on the Nativity of Jesus. Developed by Sony Pictures Animation, the film was released on November 17, 2017. This was the first film in which Clarkson performed a voice role. [117] Clarkson also had a guest voice role in the Netflix animated series Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, portraying herself in the series' 2017 animated Christmas special, Home for the Holidays, alongside Ben Schwartz. [118] In March 2018, Clarkson released "I've Loved You Since Forever", a ballad version of the children's book by Hoda Kotb. [119] On May 10, 2018, Clarkson's return to The Voice for the series' fifteenth season was announced. [120] Clarkson hosted and performed at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on May 20, 2018. [121] In the fourteenth season of The Voice, Brynn Cartelli was crowned the winner, giving Clarkson her first victory. [122] In the fifteenth season of The Voice, Chevel Shepherd was crowned the winner, giving Clarkson her second consecutive victory and making her the first female coach to win multiple seasons.

2019–present: Voice roles, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and upcoming ninth studio album

On February 25, 2019, Clarkson returned as a coach for the sixteenth season of The Voice. [123] Three days later, it was announced that she would return to host the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, which aired on May 1, 2019. [124] Clarkson voiced Moxy and provided original songs in the animated musical comedy film UglyDolls, which was released on May 3, 2019. [125] On March 27, 2019, she released "Broken & Beautiful", the lead single from the UglyDolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. [126] Clarkson also began hosting the daytime variety talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, which premiered on September 9, 2019. [127] Clarkson returned as a coach on the seventeenth season of The Voice, which premiered in September 2019. Jake Hoot was later crowned the winner of the seventeenth season, giving Clarkson her third victory as a coach in four seasons.

On October 7, 2019, it was announced that she would return as coach for the eighteenth season of The Voice, alongside Legend, Shelton, and new coach Nick Jonas. The season premiered on February 24, 2020. [128] Because of the coronavirus pandemic, major alterations were made to the show, and all the judges and contestants had to pre-record their performances from home. It was announced that she had joined the cast of Trolls World Tour, voicing Delta Dawn. The film was released on April 10, 2020. [129] In November 2019, Clarkson announced a Las Vegas residency, Kelly Clarkson: Invincible. The residency will take place at the Zappos Theater. It was originally supposed to run from April to September 2020, but it was later postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. [130] [131] In February 2020, Clarkson became a brand ambassador for Wayfair. In addition, Wayfair released "an 'exclusive' collection of furniture and decor inspired by Clarkson and her Texan roots." [132] On April 16, 2020, Clarkson released the standalone single "I Dare You" in English, as well as duets in five different languages with five native-speaking artists. [133] In May 2020, Clarkson was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards for The Kelly Clarkson Show, including Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show and Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host. The show itself earned seven nominations, the most for any talk show, [134] with Clarkson winning in the category Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host. [135]

In June 2020, it was announced that Clarkson would be returning as a coach for the nineteenth season of The Voice. [136] That same month, it was announced that she would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2021, being inducted into the category of Recording. [137] Clarkson plans to release a new album in 2021. [138]


Clarkson is a soprano, with a range spanning from E ♭ 3 to G6. [139] [140] [141] [142] [143] Clarkson can ascend to the whistle register, as well as possessing the ability to sing complex melisma. [144] Describing Clarkson's voice, Arion Berger of Rolling Stone wrote that "her high notes are sweet and pillowy, her growl is bone-shaking and sexy, and her mid-range is amazingly confident." [145] In reviewing a live performance of Clarkson's, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said she "showed off a voice that moved in all sorts of ways, without ever appearing to strain", continuing "Ms. Clarkson, who has a malleable voice and a boatload of vocal confidence, might be a soul siren in the making". However, in a separate review of Stronger, Caramanica said Clarkson's voice is "too huge, too violent" for warmer and sweeter vocal stylings, stating "she's on a par with Taylor Swift when it comes to vengeance, and she'll do it louder and with more brutality in comparison to her contemporary." [146] [147] In a live review as part of her Stronger Tour, Sophie Sinclair of Hit The Floor said "Kelly's strong and powerful voice was flawless throughout the night, and some may even say she sounds better live than she does on her albums". [148] Mark Deming from Phoenix New Times stated that "in an era when pop music means over-singing a song into a bloody pulp, Clarkson has consistently displayed both charisma and a welcome sense of restraint, knowing how to sound passionate and heartfelt without forgetting where the melody and the root note is supposed to go." [149]

Dr. Luke, who produced some of Clarkson's hits, said "She has powerful lungs. She's like the Lance Armstrong of vocal cords." [150] In an interview with Good Morning America, Simon Cowell was asked of the then six American Idol winners, who he thought had the best voice. Cowell immediately answered that Clarkson did "by a mile", noting that she was "up there" with other great singers such as Celine Dion. [151] Esquire wrote that Clarkson has "the best voice in the history of pop music". [152] Reviewing Stronger, Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone states, Clarkson has "one of music's most remarkable voices." [153] Jason Lipshutz from Billboard considered Clarkson as one of the greatest singers in pop music. [3] Regarding the controversial practice of lip-syncing, Clarkson says she never has and never will lip-sync, elaborating in an interview with Cory Myers, "I've actually never done that because I'm terrified if I ever did that, something horrible would happen, the track would skip. I have a really unhealthy fear about it. So no, I've never done that". [154] Clarkson has earned the title "Queen of Covers" for her ability to perform songs from artists of various genres. [155]


At age eight, Clarkson was first inspired to venture into music during a visit to an African-American church in Fort Worth. She recalled: "I was like, 'Wow, whatever they're feeling, I want to feel it too'." [156] Clarkson has been influenced by musicians across various genres. She cited soul singer Aretha Franklin as her major influence. Many of her chosen Idol numbers were Aretha Franklin covers, including "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", which is considered her breakout moment during the competition. [157] Other soul acts who influenced Clarkson were Mariah Carey, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, and Whitney Houston. [158] Clarkson was also influenced by rock acts such as Radiohead, Garbage, Aerosmith, and Jimi Hendrix, [158] [159] as well as Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, and Rosemary Clooney. [12] Regarding her musical influence, Clarkson explained:

I grew up with three totally different parents that were into different music. My stepfather is into Willie Nelson and Elvis and all that kind of stuff. And my real father is into Mariah and Whitney and Aretha, all those soulful singers. My mom is into more, like, adult contemporary—Celine Dion, Barbra [Streisand], Bette Midler, all those types of things. And then my brother is a big influence on me. He's like ten years older than me, so you always wanna be around your cool brother and hang out, so I grew up loving Guns N' Roses. I was all about Metallica. I was all about all those bands, and I still am. I love Aerosmith and No Doubt. I have so many influences on me that are so different. And even country. I love Reba McEntire. I could listen to her all the time. [160]

—Clarkson on her career longevity. [161]

Clarkson has scored over 100 number ones on the Billboard charts and sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide, [162] [163] [164] including 14 million albums and 35 million digital singles in the United States alone. [63] She became the first artist to top each of Billboard ' s pop, adult contemporary, adult pop, country and dance charts. [165] She was ranked nineteenth on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Television channel Fuse included Clarkson among "30 Greatest Musicians to Come From Singing Competitions" list. [166] Music executive Simon Cowell believed that "What [Clarkson] sold in the UK, Europe, Asia had nothing to do with American Idol. It had everything to do with the fact that she made a great record and she's got an incredible voice. She's not a girl who got lucky in a talent competition we got lucky to find her." [167] According to The Hollywood Reporter, Clarkson is "the embodiment of the perfect pop star. Her unmistakable pipes are a powerful presence in top 40 and country, with forays into anthemic rock and dance." [168] Nolan Feeney from Time asserted that Clarkson "has had more of a lasting impact on the pop music landscape than casual listeners might realize." [169]

According to Billboard, Clarkson was a "phenomenon" who "helped legitimize" the impact of talent shows. [170] The Washington Post wrote that "Clarkson's powerhouse voice and dynamic presence signaled that the music industry should take these reality show contestants seriously: Her first two albums, Thankful and Breakaway, sold about ten million copies combined, and her pop tunes became empowerment anthems across the globe." [171] Glenn Gamboa of Newsday believed Clarkson "has set the standard for all singing competition contestants with her savvy mix of pop, rock and country." [172] Fox Broadcasting Company said that Clarkson gave "lasting credibility" to American Idol and "in so many ways she cleared a road" for all of the next contestants." [173] George Varga from The San Diego Union-Tribune underlined the difference of Clarkson from most other talent show contestants is that she "writes or co-writes a fair number of [her] own songs. She is also the only one whose quest to follow her artistic instincts—the better to rock out and break free from the Idol cookie-cutter pop mold—prompted her to fire her management team and engage in a prolonged public battle with her record company, RCA." [174]

Jon Lisi from PopMatters cited Clarkson as one of the forces of female domination in pop music of the 2000s. He explained that "Clarkson's anti-sexual image appealed to those who were uncomfortable with Britney Spears' overt exhibitionism. When Clarkson performed "Since U Been Gone" at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, for instance, she only showed her midriff, and it was clear that she was marketing herself to an alternative group of young females who liked pop music's conventional sound but didn't want to be confronted with sexual imagery." [175] Mickey Rapkin of Billboard magazine, who called Clarkson a role model and compared her vocals to golden-era Aretha Franklin, stated that Clarkson "has never shied away from speaking her mind, whether in her propulsive pop anthems or on her filter-free Twitter feed." [176] Clarkson has also been an influence on other artists. Singer Demi Lovato, who cited Clarkson as their musical inspiration, said Clarkson "stays out of the tabloids. You hear about her through how talented her music is, not what's going on in her personal life." [177] [178] Country music singer Kelsea Ballerini cites Clarkson as her inspiration and her most favorite female artist of all time, calling her "the best vocalist in the whole world." [179]

In 2012, she began dating talent manager Brandon Blackstock, son of her former manager Narvel Blackstock and former stepson of Reba McEntire. [180] Clarkson and Blackstock married on October 20, 2013, at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. [181] Since their marriage, Brandon has been her manager. [182] Clarkson is the stepmother to Blackstock's daughter and son, from his previous marriage. [183] Together, they have a daughter born in 2014, [184] and a son born in 2016. [185] In June 2020, Clarkson filed for divorce from Blackstock, citing irreconcilable differences. [186] [187] On November 30, 2020, court documents obtained by USA Today revealed that Clarkson won primary custody of both of their children. [188]

In October 2019, Clarkson said that she has been managing an autoimmune condition and a thyroid condition since 2006, [189] [190] a fact which she had previously addressed on Today in 2018. [191]

In April 2007, Clarkson took part in "Idol Gives Back", a fundraiser for people in poverty in both Africa and the U.S., performing "Up to the Mountain" along with Jeff Beck. [192] She would also perform a five-song set later that year on the American leg of Live Earth concerts opting for environmental awareness about climate change. She has served as ambassador for the March of Dimes since she was on American Idol, raising money regularly and assisting in volunteer service, having walked for "March for Babies", for the cause of improvement of the health of mothers and babies. [193] Clarkson, additionally, got involved in the organization "Houses of Hope", who take care and build orphanages for children in South Africa who have been affected by HIV/AIDS, abuse and poverty. [194] She has visited those children and also participated in "A Night for Hope" fund-raiser concert (held by Clarkson's background vocal singers, Jill and Kate), where she performed a song she wrote after her trip to South Africa, "You Still Won't Know What It's Like". Clarkson also supports the charities Save the Children, UNICEF, "Do Something" and "STOMP Out Bullying" and music causes like the Save the Music Foundation. [195] [196]

Clarkson had a ranch in Texas for unwanted animals, which included amputee goats, blind dogs, and horses that survived colic there are more than 80 animals at the sanctuary. She helped provide veterinary care for them and found them an adoptive family. [ citation needed ] Clarkson performed in a benefit concert on March 1, 2013, supporting the Omaha based Opportunity Education Foundation, an organization that provides access to education for children around the world, stating "Education was a key part of my childhood, and I am better for it. Anything for education I am really into and especially for kids. A lot of people don't have computers, and they can't afford them. Without education, you get far behind. As long as they have a chance, you know, I think that's important. I want every kid to have a chance." [197] In 2013, Clarkson teamed up with State Farm Insurance to support teen safe driving as a part of Celebrate My Drive program. [198] In 2013, Clarkson supported Feeding America, The Ad Council and their Child Hunger PSA Campaign, which provides food for children facing hunger. [199] Also in 2013, Clarkson participated in Green Mountain Coffee's Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Choose Fair Trade campaign by traveling to coffee farms in Peru to draw attention to the importance of being Fair Trade Certified. [200]

Shake Shack Teams Up with Cronuts for Longest Line Ever - Recipes

New York might be all hustle bustle - the persistent sound of honking car horns hits you as soon as you step onto the street - but there are patches of greenery and calmness throughout the city. Union Square Greenmarket is a welcome oasis among the skyscrapers, popping up on alternate days and offering city workers - and tourists! - a chance to mingle and purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and gourmet products.

Shoppers at the Union Square Greenmarket

The Union Square Greenmarket first started in 1976 with only a handful of farmers offering their produce to city folk. Today the market sprawls across the entire square. During peak season, there are up to 140 farmers, fishermen and bakers each day, travelling from the far reaches of New York, New Jersey, New England and Pennsylvania. In the summer months, they can expect 60,000 people browsing their wares.

I can never resist a farmers market, not just because it allows you to see what is in season and chat with the producers, but it gives such an insight in how people eat. Prices give you a benchmark on what is commonplace and what is luxury (or out of season), and then of course there's always the chance to people watch - and buy a few treats as well!

Kale walnut and nettle walnut pestos

New Yorkers, it would seem, make no hesitation in paying for good quality fresh products. You can't help but be uplifted by the sight of bountiful produce: luscious ripe strawberries, straight and tall asparagus stalks, blooming florets of broccoli and teetering towers of shiny apples.

And look out for walnut pestos made with kale and nettles coming soon to a market near you!

Fresh bunches of asparagus

Fresh broccoli florets

Root vegetable rainbow: radishes, carrots and beetroots

The neat stacking of vegetables was also impressive!

Strawberry season

Sunshine and shoppers

We'd ended up in the Union Square / Flat Iron district of New York and found ourselves spending much of the day here - every place in this post is within six blocks of each other. Beecher's Handmade Cheese was on our list but the promise of the World's Best Mac & Cheese made us all stop in our tracks immediately.

Cheese production within the Beecher's store

Beecher's started in Seattle's Pike Place Market, expanding to New York eight years later in 2011. Before founder Kurt Beecher Dammeier started the business, he had no cheese making experience, just a long-held love of cheese. He attended a cheese making course and hired Brad Sinko, a former manager of his family cheese business, as his chief cheese maker. Over time Beecher's has acquired its own dairy herds.

Milk being pumped into stainless steel troughs

In both the New York and Seattle locations, the public can watch the cheese making process through glass windows. It's a fascinating view of steel troughs, white hygiene suits and glimpses of cheese in various stages of production.

Both facilities now make cheese 24 hours a day to keep up with demand. The New York facility can produce up to three tonnes of cheese a day.

Raking up the cheese curds

Curds being stacked into moulds

Beecher's "World's Best Mac & Cheese" US$6.50

But we'd come for the World's Best Mac & Cheese, a title given by Beecher's themselves! It's a modest serve for US$6.50 but after a forkful we realise why - it's incredibly rich. The penne is swathed in a thick blanket of heavy molten cheese. They use two kinds of cheese in the sauce - their Flagship and Just Jack cheeses - which is melted into a bechamel sauce with garlic powder and chipotle chilli powder.

The secret, Dammeier says, is to slightly undercook the pasta before adding the bechamel, allowing the pasta to finish cooking to al dente in the oven. If you want to experience the cheesy goodness yourself, you can find the Beechers "World's Best" Mac & Cheese recipe here.

Only a few doors down the road we find Craftbar, one of the more casual restaurants run by Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio. The voice of reason, the guy who pulls no punches, the quiet onlooker who puts more doubt into contestants' minds with one raised eyebrow than anything he could voice, has always been one of the best things about Top Chef. Recipient of five James Beard awards, Colicchio knows good cooking and good chefs.

We press our noses up against the window, check out the menu, and vow to return for an early dinner.

Craftbar dining room with pig portraits

At 6pm there are several people propped up at the bar but we're the first people in the dining room. There's a relaxed and comfortable feel to the place that puts us at ease straight away. Service is warm and attentive, and although there's no linen on the table, the stemware gleams and the cutlery is heavy.

Chicken liver pate with strawberry compote US$10

Suze and I had both been lusting after the chicken liver pate and it's a sensuous turret of delight. There's a heartier and meatier taste to this offering, an oomph and gutsiness I prefer over the light and airy mousse we'd eaten at Bouchon. The liver has been roasted and pureed with shallots and bourbon, and the stronger flavours of the pate are countered well with mustard seeds and a bright and zingy strawberry compote.

Croque Monsieur US$15

Is there any surprise that Suze ordered the Croque Monsieur? I love that the offerings here seem to carry through what Colicchio often implores contestants - to not overly fancify food but deliver what is promised, and deliver it well.

It's one helluva Croque Monsieur, with good quality bread that's been basted with butter and then grilled until the surface is outrageously crunchy. There's a generous huddle of country ham and dijon mustard but it's the oozing puddle of melted gruyere cheese in the middle that will make your day.

The homemade kettle chips on the side are brilliant too - sliced just the right width so they have an earth-shattering crunch but thick enough to provide a sense of substance.

Buttermilk fried young chicken US$27
with BBQ heirloom beans, Anson Mill white grits and braised escarole

And did you expect me to order anything but the buttermilk fried young chicken? It arrives in its own Staub oval cocotte, heaped with a pile of golden fried chicken. It's got everything you're looking for: juicy tender flesh and a sheath of crunchy fried batter that you just can't stop eating.

Anson Mill white grits

The barbecue heirloom beans are hearty, with a toothsomeness that comes from cooking dried beans from scratch. Under the chicken is a bed of sauteed escarole - from the endive family and slightly less bitter.

But it's the Anson Mill white grits that are the groundbreaker. Thick and fluffy, buttery and rich, it's a lightbulb moment akin to eating stove-cooked porridge made by an Irish grandma. All other grits I'd eaten so far on this trip pale in comparison to this one. The texture is creamy, the grits swollen with butter, and you can feel it sticking to every rib on its way down. This stuff is awesome.

Bowl of popcorn US$10
Buttered popcorn ice cream, cherry, hot fudge and caramel corn

We share dessert. A bowl of popcorn that turns out to be a buttered popcorn sundae, scattered with real cherries and clusters of caramel corn, all drizzled with hot fudge sauce.

I love the irreverent approach to the artwork here too.

And you can't visit New York without visiting Shake Shack. We'd heard so much about the burgers - and the queues - we knew to arrive extra early to beat the lunchtime crowd.

We head to Madison Square Park, home of the first ever Shake Shack, originally set up as a temporary hot dog cart in 2001 to provide snacks for visitors to a temporary art installation. In 2004 they won the bid to open a permanent stand, designed by architecture firm SITE Environmental Design. It's an impressive facade, deliberately designed to be harmonious within the park, and the hanging fairy lights overhead give a festive, almost magical, atmosphere.

Shake Shack pick-up counter

At 11.30am the queue is manageable, with only a dozen in queue. By the time the clock hits 11.50am, however, the queue has exponentially swollen to a hundred. There are office workers, uni students and tourists all patiently waiting in line. I notice a couple of lunch couriers re-packing orders for deliveries all over town. Impressively the Shack Shack site also boasts Shack Cam with live videostreaming of the current queue.

Double ShackBurger US$7.20
with cheese fries US$3.70 and Shack-made lemonade US$2.50

Lunch is a Double ShackBurger, a double patty cheeseburger with special Shacksauce. I love how the slices of tomato peek out just beneath a fringe of lettuce. There's not much bun here, dwarfed by the patties which are super soft - perhaps eerily so - and layers of melted cheese. Overall I'm more of a fan of In-N-Out burgers but the fries are better here.

Glorious melted cheese

Even without the hot lava of melted cheese across the top, the crinkle cut fries are addictive, with crunchy outsides and fluffy innards. The cheese sauce - a mix of cheddar and American cheeses - just makes it even better.

Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Flatiron District
900 Broadway, New York, New York
Tel: +1 (212) 466 3340

Opening hours:
Open 7 days 11am - 9pm (cafe closes 8pm)

Craftbar New York
900 Broadway, New York, New York
Tel: +1 (212) 461 4300

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 12pm - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 10.30 - 4.30pm
Monday to Wednesday 5pm - 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 5pm - 11pm,
Sunday 5pm - 9.30pm

Shake Shack - Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park, southeast corner near East 23rd Street
11 Madison Avenue, New York, New York
Tel: +1 (212) 889 6600

Opening hours:
Open 7 days 11am - 11pm

Union Square Greenmarket
Union Square, Manhattan, New York, New York
Tel: +1 (212) 788 7476

Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 8am - 6pm



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