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Kelly Clarkson: I didn't want to win American Idol

EW’s new cover star walks us through her 2002 victory

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To read more on Kelly Clarkson in EW’s Fall Music Preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Kelly Clarkson won American Idol 15 years ago this week — and she’s looking back on her victory night in a new video for EW.

“I do remember Justin [Guarini] and I having the conversation before, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to win, I don’t want to win,’ because we found out we had to do a movie,” Clarkson says in the clip, above. “He really wanted to do a movie. And I really didn’t want to do a movie. I was like, ‘It would be really super cool if I got second and you got first, because the winner has to do the movie and the second one doesn’t.'”

America, of course, had other plans: Nearly nine million people voted to crown Clarkson a winner — and then she had to star in From Justin to Kelly, a box-office bomb she once vowed to never tell her children about.

PHOTOS: Kelly Clarkson Rocks Out in EW Cover Shoot

In EW’s new cover story, Clarkson says she’s grateful for her Idol win, noting how it’s given her the freedom to pursue different genres — like with her upcoming soul album, Meaning of Life, out Oct. 27. “I got to showcase all these different sides of me,” she says. “Artists never get the opportunity to do that the first time out the gate.”

It’s one of the many reasons she’s excited to join The Voice next year as a coach: “It’s such a cool thing to have that leverage, to have an audience into you before you even have a record deal. I want to give someone that opportunity.”