Women in Music 2018

Kelly Clarkson Reveals Why She Chose 'The Voice' Over 'American Idol'

"I want it to be a great experience for my whole family," she tells Entertainment Weekly.

Kelly Clarkson could have gone back to the beginning. It was 15 years ago this week that Clarkson went from being an unknown bar singer to one of the most iconic pop stars of her generation after winning the first season of American Idol. And then, well, the upcoming reboot of Idol came knocking earlier this year to see if she'd be willing to take a judge's chair next to Katy Perry when the show revamps on ABC next year and the answer was: so sorry, I have a gig already.

As she tells Entertainment Weekly in this week's cover story, faced with a choice of returning to Idol or spending more time with her family, Clarkson opted to be a coach on the upcoming 14th season of The Voice. Was it a diss to her foundational home? Nope, she just thought that the Idol reboot might be a bit hasty. "It's a little too soon, because I was pregnant with my son when it ended and he's only 1," she laughed about bringing Idol back after one year.

The reality, though, is that Clarkson -- who is prepping the release of her soulful new album Meaning of Life -- chose The Voice because it's all about family, specifically hers. "I want it to be a great experience for my whole family, and that's what I have to think about at this point in my life," she said. Clarkson's husband and manager, Brandon Blackstock also manages Voice coach Blake Shelton, so Clarkson spends a lot of time on the Voice set with her four kids already. 

“We’re used to the Voice schedule, we already have to work around it because of our family,” Clarkson says of why she couldn't pass up the chance to work alongside Blackstock after four years of talks with the show that didn't advance because of her pregnancies. “We have four children — that can be very taxing with a schedule. It was just a no-brainer for me with The Voice because of that alone. But my thing is, I was kind of bummed too when [Idol] came to me. I hope it’s super successful." 

Though reality singing shows have struggled in the ratings lately, Clarkson knows how great the results can be and she's excited to potentially give someone else a shot at the dream life she's achieved. "Would it have been awesome to come back to the show that started me and help give someone that start? Yes!” Clarkson told the mag. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t do the same thing on The Voice. That’s my goal. I want to have someone on my team, whether they win or not, to have a successful career after being on the show.”

Click here to find out why Clarkson kind of hoped she wouldn't win Idol back in the day. Spoiler alert: it has something to do with From Justin to Kelly.