Kelly Clarkson & Justin Guarini Reflect on ‘American Idol’ Season 1

Justin Guarini & Kelly Clarkson

The Kelly Clarkson Show / YouTube Justin Guarini & Kelly Clarkson

“American Idol” season one champion and “The Voice” coach Kelly Clarkson is reuniting with her “Idol” runner-up, Justin Guarini, in the latest episode of her eponymous talk show.

In a new clip posted to “The Kelly Clarkson Show” YouTube channel, Guarini sits down with Clarkson to catch up on life and reflect on what the “American Idol” experience was like for them behind the scenes.

“It’s wild because we got shot out of a cannon,” Guarini said, “I loved just being around and the fact that we were at the beginning of things, so nobody knew what was up. The stakes weren’t super high for us”.

Kelly Clarkson Has ‘Always Been Competitive’

Justin Guarini opens up about one of his favorite backstage memories with Kelly Clarkson: playing cards during downtime.

“[If Kelly Clarkson ever asks you] ‘Hey do you want to play a card game? Don’t. She’s a killer,” Guarini said, and Clarkson responds, admitting that she’s always been competitive, even when the two would play the card game Speed backstage. “I think I may have won twice in the 100 times we’ve played together.”

Clarkson attributes her success with Speed to her hyper personality, claiming she has “natural caffeine” running through her veins.

This is Guarini’s second visit to “The Kelly Clarkson Show”, after stopping by during season one to say hi and wish his longtime friend luck with her new talk show.

Since his time on “American Idol”, Guarini has released two full-length albums, the first self-titled and the second titled “Stranger Things Have Happened”. He has also found great success on stage, with multiple regional and Broadway musical credits to his name, including “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, “American Idiot” (based on the music of Green Day), and “Wicked”.

Recently, Guarini has also found success as a voice actor, and will be lending his voice to the upcoming premiere season of Disney Junior’s “Superkitties!”

Kelly Clarkson Stole Her Music Director From Justin Guarini

One of Kelly Clarkson’s most important collaborators over her entire career is her music director, Jason Halbert. Halbert is responsible for bringing Clarkson’s daily Kellyoke covers to life on her show and is a key member of the singer’s team.

What fans may not know is that Halbert was originally hired to work with Justin Guarini.

In a March 2022 episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show”, former “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson appeared, and Clarkson shared that she “stole” Halbert while working on “Idol”.

“The reason why I have [career] longevity is the man behind that keyboard right there, and his name is Jason Halbert. And wait, this is the best part, Jason actually was hired by Randy Jackson to be in my band when I won ‘Idol’. Actually, he was hired for Justin but I stole him.” Although Guarini wasn’t in the studio that day, Clarkson pointed out that she and Halbert are both Texas natives, and hopes Guarini forgives her.

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