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Kelly Clarkson is going back to her TV competition roots — but not on the show that made her famous.
In May, just two days after ABC announced that it was reviving American Idol, news broke that Clarkson would be joining The Voice next year as a coach on the show’s 14th season. In the new EW cover story, on stands Friday, Clarkson admits that an Idol comeback might be premature. “It’s a little too soon, because I was pregnant with my son when it ended, and he’s only 1,” she says with a laugh.
But Clarkson says her decision to join The Voice really came down to her husband and her kids. “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 explains.
Because Clarkson’s husband and manager, Brandon Blackstock, also manages fellow Voice coach Blake Shelton, Clarkson is often on set with her children and is already well acquainted with the workings of the show. The chance to work alongside her husband was an offer she couldn’t pass up. “We’re used to the Voice schedule, we already have to work around it because of our family,” Clarkson says. “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.”
Clarkson says she’s been in talks with The Voice for almost four years but couldn’t commit until now because of her pregnancies. It’s also why she hasn’t snuck onto one of the show’s famous spinning chairs when the cameras weren’t rolling. “Part of the reason why I never sat in the seats is because I knew one day I’d probably do the show,” she says. “I knew it was going to happen. I’m a little superstitious.”
In recent years, TV talent competitions have struggled to produce stars at Clarkson’s level. She’s hoping that, as someone who has been through the TV wringer herself, she can change contestants’ fortunes. “Would it have been awesome to come back to the show that started me and help give someone that start? Yes!” Clarkson says. “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.”
Yet why Clarkson has succeeded where few Idol alumni have is something she isn’t sure how to answer, even now. One theory? Her willingness to do the work and make the sacrifices that longevity requires. “A lot of people that I know, especially from Idol, don’t necessarily want to be singers or artists; they just want to be famous,” she says. “That is not going to bring you happiness. And a lot of it falls through the cracks because people make decisions based on what they think will make them famous instead of what will be good for them. I don’t really care about being famous. … I’m not trying to impress anyone. I’m just me, and if you like that, cool. If you don’t, that’s totally cool too.”