Over 20 years after Kelly Clarkson won “American Idol” with Justin Guarini as the runner-up, the two are taking a stroll down memory lane. During a recent episode on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” the former costars reflected on their backstage memories and revealed there was even some friendly competition off stage.
Guarini said he and the former judge on “The Voice” passed the time while they weren’t performing by playing the popular card game Speed. “If you ever have the chance to see Kelly and she ever says, ‘Hey do you want to play a card game?’ Don’t,” Guarini told Clarkson’s other guest, Alexandra Daddario.
“I’ve always been competitive,” Clarkson replied. Guarini laughed, “She’s a killer,” recalling that he only won a couple of the hundred games the pair played together.
This isn’t the first time the accomplished vocalist and mother of two has opened up about her early days of fame. On a more serious note, Clarkson recalled facing pressures to be more sexual as a rising pop star in an interview with Variety in September 2022. “It was just really hard for me to navigate the industry,” she told the publication. “I remember this one tool I worked with — this dude came over my house and put down some magazines and was like, ‘So this is what you’re competing with.’ There were naked people on the cover! I have no problem with nudity. I’m, like, a total nudist. But that’s just not my vibe, artistry-wise. A little mystery goes a long way for me. But I literally looked at this older white man and was like, ‘Uh, no. That’s not what I’m competing with.’”
Despite being thrust into the spotlight at 20 years old, Clarkson has carved out her own lane, and it’s a pleasure to see her and her “American Idol” and “From Justin to Kelly” costar reunite all these years later. Check out Clarkson and Guarini’s playful dynamic in the clip above.