Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson initially got a lot of guff for being the first American Idol, and for treating every song as though it was her last chance to out-Mariah Mariah. But can you believe it's been a decade since the Texan topped Justin Guarini's 'fro, subsequently mounting a career that's seen the ultimate premeditated pop robot telling her commercial-minded advisers, on numerous occasions, to go piss up a rope? There are times when Clarkson grates, like when she veers into Pink territory on throwaway rock tracks like "Never Again" and "Sober" or takes Ron Paul seriously. But when Clarkson really lets her voice shine—like on "Don't You Wanna Stay," her stunning duet with country stalwart Jason Aldean that singlehandedly restored power to the ballad—she stands in elite company, and her latest hit album, Stronger, is an apt description of her present condition. With Matt Nathanson. MIKE SEELY

Thu., March 22, 8 p.m., 2012

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