OFFSTAGE: Would You Accept a Country Kelly Clarkson?

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

New York magazine thinks Kelly Clarkson might want to go country and that she’s in denial. And that since her American Idol win in 2002, she has tried all kinds of pop roads that have led her to this: Stronger, her fifth album, which was released this week. The writer doesn’t care for the album, calling it mature but hit-less. But then the story says this, which gives me hope, “Trapped in the midst of all the blaring guitars and random synths is a new possibility for Kelly Clarkson: a career as a very solid country music star.” The story cites her duet with Jason Aldean, “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” “Breaking Your Own Heart,” “I Forgive You,” “Honestly” and “Don’t Be a Girl About It” as country possibilities. Not that they are 100 percent country now, just that they could be with the right instrumentation and something called hillbilly swagger. “So why not indulge her Nashville instincts?” the story asks. I’m with them. It seems like she’s ready for country. And country’s definitely ready for Clarkson.