Both songs were performed by Clarkson during the season finale of American Idol.After debuting at number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the single climbed to number 52 the following week, and subsequently ascended to number one.She took further creative control for her third album, My December (2007), co-writing the entire album.However, her label was dissatisfied with the direction of the music and reluctantly promoted the album, which became her least commercially successful release.Lack of other career opportunities and a fire incident in her apartment forced Clarkson to return to Burleson, where she worked at a movie theater, promoted Red Bull energy drinks, and worked as a telemarketer and as a cocktail waitress in a comedy club.Upon returning to Burleson, Clarkson was encouraged by her friends to audition for the inaugural season of the reality television series American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in May 2002. I definitely looked like a cocktail waitress." Clarkson went on to win the competition on September 4, 2002, at the Kodak Theatre (now Dolby), earning 58% of the votes against runner-up Justin Guarini and without being sent into the bottom three throughout the season.
It earned Clarkson her first Grammy Award nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" at the 46th Grammy Awards.In 2001, she traveled to Los Angeles, trying to pursue a career in music.She appeared as an extra in a few television series such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Dharma & Greg and briefly worked with musician Gerry Goffin to record five demo tracks in trying to secure a record deal.Clarkson returned to the top of the charts with her more mainstream-oriented fourth album, All I Ever Wanted (2009).Its lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", holds the record for the biggest jump to number one on the Hot 100 chart.Despite receiving a "golden ticket," a pass to the Hollywood rounds, in the series premiere, Clarkson made her first appearance during the second episode. They did one season of Pop Idol in the UK but America is a very different market. Immediately after winning American Idol, Clarkson was signed to a record deal with RCA Records, 19 Recordings, and S Records by talent manager Simon Fuller, who created American Idol; and music mogul Clive Davis, who was slated to executive-produce her debut album.In an interview in 2012, Clarkson referred the inaugural season as "ghetto", explaining: "On our season we were like kids in camp. They dropped us off in a mall and said 'find some clothes to wear on national television'. On September 17, 2002, her debut double-A-side single, "Before Your Love"/"A Moment Like This", was released.Her soul-influenced eighth album, Meaning of Life (2017), debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.Clarkson has sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide.Upon graduating from high school, Clarkson was offered full scholarships to University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas, and Berklee College of Music, but later declined them, explaining: "I've already written so much music and wanted to try a career on my own" adding, "you're never too old to go to college."After graduation, Clarkson worked several jobs to finance a demo, recording material and trying to market it to record labels, but received little response.Clarkson turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records, stating "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act.