4/24/1982 (40 years old) Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Not only does this diva have the distinction of being the very first American Idol winner, she’s also one of the most successful. With her powerhouse vocals and down-to-earth charm, Clarkson literally became an overnight sensation on Idol in 2002. Despite an embarrassing big-screen debut in the critically lambasted movie musical Justin to Kelly (which she was contractually obligated to star in opposite runner-up Justin Guarini), Clarkson made 2003 her year, with her best-selling debut album Thankful spawning a number of hit singles. Her 2004 follow-up, Breakaway, was also a smash and earned the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. And she’s maintained steady success since: her albums My December (2007) and All I Ever Wanted (2009) were both critical and commercial hits.