Kelly Clarkson tried. She really did. When she was on the very first season of American Idol in 2002, the Texas native tried to get the show to play more country music.
"They're British-based, you know?" she said in a recent radio interview. "So they didn't really get country music. So in the first season, I kept trying to push for a country week, and they would not do it. But now since Carrie [Underwood] and all these other people into country music are involved, I think it's important that they have somebody representing that genre."
I can only think of a couple of country songs the contestants performed that first year, including Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" and John Michael Montgomery's "I Swear." Clarkson herself never did any country on the show even though it sounds like she wanted to. She went on to have major success as a pop artist. (And I mean, how could she not? I remember watching her audition for Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul in that acid-washed denim corset tunic top, singing Etta James "At Last" and thinking she was destined for big pop dreams.)
But Clarkson has also had considerable success in country music since she was crowned the very first American Idol winner exactly 11 years ago Wednesday (Sept. 4). She had "Because of You" with Reba McEntire in 2007, "Don't You Wanna Stay" with Jason Aldean in 2010 and "Don't Rush" with Vince Gill in 2012. Then there was her country remix of her own "Mr. Know It All."
Aint' it something, y'all?