Kelly Clarkson Talks To Jay Leno

‘American Idol’ champ was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday. Kelly, with her voice admittedly shot, talked to Jay about winning, how she ended up on the show on the verge of being broke, what she thinks about Simon Cowell, living together with the other contestants, having to sing right after she won, and more. Read on for a transcript.

Jay: Please welcome “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Jay: How are you? Good to see you. How are you?

[ Cheers and applause ] Congratulations.

Kelly: Thank you.

Jay: Has it sunk in yet?

Kelly: Not really. I’ve been going, you know, one thing after another, as you can tell. My voice is, like, shot.

Jay: Well, there’s some water there if you’d like.

Kelly: No, I’m good. I’m good.

Jay: Have you gotten any sleep? I know you were on the new york shows at about 4:00 this morning.

Kelly: Yeah, I got like 45 minutes last night.

Jay: Do you think you could have slept? Or is it just the adrenaline keeping you going?

Kelly: No, we had some press to do afterwards, my family was there. Then we had some more press. And then I had to pack because I’m leaving tonight.

Jay: Where do you go tonight?

Kelly: Out to new york to do some shows out there.

Jay: Okay. Now, is it what you thought it would be or is it like more hectic or is it exactly what you think?

Kelly: It’s exactly what I pretty much thought it was going to be. I’ve always had like three jobs at one time, so I’ve always been busy. But it’s just a different kind of busy.

Kelly: Man in audience: We love you, Kelly!

Kelly: We love you! Kelly! Yeah!

[ Cheers and applause ] Thank god you won because the guy with the hair and all that stuff — I know he’s a good guy, but you just saved America from what could have been like the worst fashion trend.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ] Like balloon pants, like buttaffuoco. Thank you very much.

Jay: So tell me how —

[ Laughter ] How did you get into the contest? How did this happen?

Kelly: Actually, I just moved home from L.A. My apartment burned had down here. Yeah, I was living out here working. I just had to move home real quick for financial reasons.

Jay: Okay, you were broke.

Kelly: Yeah, basically.

Jay: Before you were broke, now, you have financial reasons. You’re broke. You moved back home.

Kelly: I was broke off my butt.

Jay: Were you brokenhearted?

Kelly: No, I knew I was going to go back. I was working with Jerry, actually. He kind of noticed me. And so, anyway, my friend — long story short — she shoved these papers in front of my face and was like —

Jay: What friend?

Kelly: Jessica, my best friend.

Jay: Is this like from high school?

Kelly: No, actually it’s from — I was in high school, but she’s older than me. She’s 24. 23, 24. Oh, my god. She’s going to kill me.

Jay: What, she tells you about this contest?

Kelly: Yeah, and she signed everything. And I just signed my signature and showed up, and here I am.

Kelly: Well, cheers to Jessica, right?

Kelly: Oh, no, no. I’m buying her a ’69 Corvette.

Jay: ’69 —

Kelly: Yeah.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Kelly: I said cheers to Jessica. I don’t know who she is.

Kelly: I’m buying her a ’69 Corvette.

Jay: Oh, she wants a ’69 Corvette.

Kelly: She didn’t ask.

Jay: Well, that’s a nice —

Kelly: No, that’s nice.

Jay: Did you think you would win? Were you that confident? You can be modest. ‘Cause I’m not sure, when you enter these contests, do you have it in the back of your mind, “I can win this”? Or do you just try to go week to week?

Kelly: Very day by day. I don’t like to think too far ahead or I will stress me out. Nobody coming into this thought this show — I didn’t think it was going to be that huge. And then nobody thought you were going to be the winner. 1 out of 10,000, what are the odds?

Jay: Well, that’s pretty odd.

[ Laughter ]

Kelly: There you go.

Jay: We’ll take a quick break. I want to ask you about Simon. ‘Cause he was here. I want to get your opinion. We’ll talk. More with Kelly right after this.

[ Cheers and applause ] Last night I had a bowl of refried refried beans.

[ Cheers and applause ] Welcome back. Talking with Kelly Clarkson, winner of the “American Idol” show or contest. Whatever they call it. Now I got to ask you about Simon now. Was he really sort of — is he a mean guy?

Kelly: The thing about Simon is that he just pushes you. He wants you to be your best and he wants everybody to see your best. So he’s gonna push you until you get there.

Jay: Now did you guys fraternize with the judges? Could you see the judges at any other time? Like, did you see em away from the show or —

Kelly: No, no, no. Yeah, you’re not allowed to do that.

Jay: Okay, that would be fraternization?

Kelly: Yeah.

Jay: But you all lived together in L.A. All the contestants.

Kelly: Yeah, I lived in a big house.

Jay: How was that?

Kelly: A big ol’ mansion. I’m so not a big house girl.

Jay: Yeah.

Kelly: There was like five floors, six floors. I don’t even remember. And everybody kinda — we had our own little floor, our own little, like, wing. So, I mean, it was really cool.

Jimmy: Did Justin do that dance he does? That dance?

Kelly: Oh, my god! You are so mean. He is so —

Jimmy: I think it’s a good dance.

[ Laughter ]

Kelly: Seriously, oh, my god. He can dance so well.

Jimmy: It’s a good dance.

[ Screams ] It’s a good dance. It’s like a he-man doll or something.

Kelly: You’re awful.

Jimmy: Move his legs. He’s good. He’s good. I like him. Actually, I like him.

Kelly: No, he’s a good dancer.

Jimmy: He’s a good singer. I like him, too.

Jay: Now was it hard —

[ Laughter ]

Kelly: He’s so mean.

Jimmy: I’m not mean. Seriously.

Kelly: Okay.

Jimmy: No, I really do like him.

Kelly: Yeah, right.

[ Laughter ]

Jay: So when you won, you had to sing right after you won.

Kelly: Yeah.

Jay: So how — how did —

Kelly: Oh, well, it’s been a tough week, vocally anyway. As you can tell you if you’ve seen the show. I can’t speak when I cry.

Jay: Right.

Kelly: Let alone sing a song, a big ballad. So I was like, “oh, god.” I was like, “please sing through me ’cause I can’t do this.” And I cried. So, you know —

Jay: We have a little clip here. Take a look.

Kelly: Oh, great.

[ Laughter ]

I can’t believe it’s happening to me whoo!

For a moment like this sorry.

[ Cheers and applause ] I haven’t seen that.

Jay: You haven’t seen that.

Kelly: No, I haven’t seen the show, yet.

Jay: Have you seen this? This is your cd.

Kelly: You know what?

Jay: You have not even seen this picture, you have?

Kelly: No, I saw that today.

Jay: Do you not like this picture?

Kelly: It’s a great picture, I just look 12.

Jay: Well —

Kelly: No, it’s a good picture. It’s cute.

Jay: When you’re my age, you are 12.

[ Laughter ]

Kelly: Yeah, I’m like, “hey! My name’s Kelly.”

Jay: You’re like, “whee!” I want to buy some girl scout cookies.

Kelly: I’m selling thin mints, does anyone want some? Yeah.

[ Cheers ]

Jay: Are you going to stop by the old place you used to waitress? Can you go back there?

Kelly: I haven’t even been back to Texas, yet. But, yeah. Whenever I get back there, yeah. I’m still friends with all those girls. Yeah.

Jay: Now the place you used to waitress used to be a comedy club?

Kelly: Yeah. Hyenas comedy club.

Jay: Yeah, I know that place. Sure.

Kelly: You do?

Jay: Well, it used to be — what was it? The funny bone.

Kelly: Funny bone, yeah.

Jay: It was the funny bone, now it’s what? Hyenas?

Kelly: Yeah.

Jay: That’s a huge difference. Yeah.

[ Light laughter ]

Kelly: No, yeah. I was — I started there actually two weeks before I turned 18. And you’re supposed to be 18 to serve. But that’s okay, because I trained.

Jay: Oh, you trained. You’re are a professional.

Kelly: Yeah, I’m a professional waitress. “Here’s your drink, sir.”

Jay: So you were 17 —

Kelly: I was two weeks until —

Jay: Wait a minute. So you are now disqualified.

Kelly: Yeah, right.

Jay: You have to step down. I’m sorry. The second runner up must now step —

Kelly: Okay.

Jay: No, I’m teasing. What was the biggest tip you ever got as a cocktail waitress?

Kelly: Actually, my friends used to come in all the time and give me $100 tips. They’re just nice. Actually, this is my big thing. Wess Craven came in.

Jay: Oh, the horror director.

Kelly: Yeah, yeah. Freddy krueger. He came in, and he just bought one drink, and he left me like a $40 tip. And I was like, “okay.” So that’s kind of cool.

Jay: Well, that’s pretty cool.

Kelly: Yeah, and I was like, “Wess Craven.” You know?

Jimmy: I’m sorry. I should say I’m playing at hyenas next week. I’ll be opening for jay.

Kelly: Shut up. You are not.

[ Laughter ]

Jimmy: I’m sorry.

Kelly: Yeah.

Jay: So you’re now pretty much devoted to your music career. This is it. There’s no more side jobs. You’re all set now, right?

Kelly: Yeah, hopefully no more — I’ve done everything. I’ve worked at the zoo, book stores, telemarketing, door-to-door sales. I have done it all.

Jay: You couldn’t hold a job?

Kelly: No.

[ Laughter ]

Jay: No wonder you are in show business.

Kelly: No. It’s ’cause I just wasn’t happy. You have to find a job you are happy with. Hopefully, I get to stick with it.

Jay: And you’re gonna come back and sing one of the songs?

Kelly: Maybe. Yeah, maybe when my voice here.

Jay: Okay, good. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks. Congratulations on everything. It’s very exciting. Kelly, good to meet you.

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