Her hit new album ''All I Ever Wanted,'' her return to upbeat tunes, and incredible voice make the songstress our pick for March 2009

By Tim Stack
Updated March 27, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

With her new album All I Ever Wanted debuting at No. 1 on Billboard‘s charts and nabbing the second-biggest opening-week sales of 2009, Clarkson has reestablished herself as a pop-music princess — and one of the few American Idol winners who can still deliver a blockbuster. The buzz around Idol, now in its eighth season, may have diminished, but Clarkson’s success is a testament to the show’s ability to discover true talent.

Buoyed by the ridiculously catchy singles ”My Life Would Suck Without You” and ”I Do Not Hook Up,” Wanted marks Clarkson’s welcome return to upbeat tunes after 2007’s dreary My December. And at a time when most of her peers seem to be aiming for smut, not smarts (see: Britney’s ”If U Seek Amy”), ”Hook Up” serves as a refreshingly restrained anthem.

With a publicity blitzkrieg that’s included performances on Idol, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, Clarkson has further proved she’s the real deal. The only pyrotechnics this 26-year-old needs when she walks on stage? Her own explosive vocals.