Rewinding the Charts: In 2009, Kelly Clarkson Made a Record Rise to No. 1 on the Hot 100
"My Life Would Suck Without You" vaulted 97-1 for the largest leap ever to the top.
ORIGINAL AMERICAN IDOL CHAMP Kelly Clarkson took no risks with the release of "My Life Would Suck Without You," the blunt and oh-so-impassioned lead single off her fourth LP, All I Ever Wanted.
After the critical and relative commercial setbacks of 2007's My December, the instant hit – co-written by power duo Max Martin and Dr. Luke – reinvigorated the then-26-year-old's career when the track skyrocketed 97-1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated Feb. 7, 2009. The leap marks the biggest surge to the summit in the chart's 57-year history, with the song becoming Clarkson's second No. 1 (of three), following her 2002 Idol coronation ballad, "A Moment Like This."
Upon its coronation, "My Life" led an impressive top five. The other songs in the tier that all stand up well seven years later: Lady Gaga's debut smash "Just Dance," featuring Colby O'Donis (No. 2); Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (No. 3); Kanye West's "Heartless" (No. 4); and, Taylor Swift's "Love Story" (No. 5).
The restored momentum carried over into Clarkson's subsequent releases: 2011's Stronger and 2015's Piece by Piece, which earned her two Grammy nominations. But, her successes didn't just play out in the public eye. Clarkson also found happiness with talent manager (and Reba McEntire's stepson) Brandon Blackstock. They married in October 2013 and have a daughter, River Rose, born in 2014. They are now expecting a son.
As Idol wraps its final season, its inaugural queen will have a role on the show. And, 13 years after defeating Justin Guarini (her former flame and From Justin to Kelly co-star) on Sept. 4, 2002, for the initial Idol title, Clarkson, 33, tells Billboard, "Not everyone gets to make every dream come true."
She adds with a laugh, "Thank God people voted for me and not Justin!"
A version of this article first appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of Billboard magazine.