Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what’s on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.
This week, special guest Kelly Clarkson reminisces about her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, “A Moment Like This,” which also became the first leader on the list for an American Idol contestant, on the chart dated 15 years ago today: Oct. 5, 2002. Clarkson caps a countdown of the Hot 100’s top 40 on that date, when she joined the likes of Nelly, Avril Lavigne, a then-newly-solo Justin Timberlake and more in the ranking’s upper reaches.
“I never thought that would happen. Then it happened,” Clarkson recalls of winning the inaugural Idol season and crowning the Hot 100. “Then you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m that person in the story …’ It sounds cheesy, but that night [winning Idol] changed my life.”
Clarkson also previews her new album, Meaning of Life, due Oct. 27 and recalls her perhaps unlikely ties to two former First Ladies: Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, as the latter’s new book, What Happened, sports the line: “‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger.’ – Friedrich Nietzsche (and Kelly Clarkson).”
Plus, Fred Bronson, who authored Billboard‘s Chart Beat column from 1993 to 2009 and contributed to Idol over the years (after suggesting to the show’s Nigel Lythgoe that the competition should include Billboard chart-themed shows, which it subsequently did), recounts the impact that Idols from Clarkson to Carrie Underwood and others have made on various rankings over the past 15 years, even if that legacy couldn’t be known when Clarkson first topped the Hot 100. “I was just looking at this week’s charts and I see that [2011 runner-up] Lauren Alaina is No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales,” Bronson notes, as Alaina is featured on Kane Brown’s “What Ifs.”
“So, after all this time, Idols are still going to No. 1.”
Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!