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Kelly Clarkson's 'American Idol' Victory, 10 Years Later

On this day in history, the Fox singing competition series launched the career of a then-cocktail waitress from Texas.

Kelly Clarkson Performing - H 2012
Mark Sincavage

It's hard to believe a decade has gone by since Kelly Clarkson was crowned as the original American Idol on Sept. 4, 2002.

It was then that the cocktail waitress from Burleson, Texas emerged victorious over runner-up Justin Guarini in a voting contest that was a "58-42" split, according to Ryan Seacrest.

She was the people's choice then, and the people's choice now. Clarkson is the embodiment of the perfect pop star. Her unmistakable pipes are a powerful presence in top 40 and country, with forays into anthemic rock and dance. She has been invited to mentor on other singing shows (The Voice), helmed her own reality show (Duets) and even has a film credit (yes, we are referencing From Justin to Kelly).

PHOTOS: 'American Idol' iHeartRadio Concert in New York

Since her iconic victory, Clarkson, 30, has amassed 73 Billboard hits, with the most number one records of any Idol in the show's history. Just this summer, Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" was certified as the best-selling Idol single of all time. Her current single, "Dark Side," is currently the most played Idol single at radio, and Youtube videos of cover songs from her "Stronger" tour (like her much praised rendition of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" -- in a hoodie -- and a reverent performance of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" showcasing her country side) are viral smashes.

There is no arguing with her track record -- two Grammys, four American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Awards, three VMAs and a healthy worldwide sales record of 36 million singles and 23 million albums, natch. Plus, what other Idol was asked to write an anthem for the Dallas Cowboys?

VIDEO: 'American Idol's' Summer of Covers: Adam Lambert Does Marley, Kelly Clarkson Takes on 'Call Me Maybe'

To think, it all started on a show that Clarkson described in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter as "a ghetto season."

"On our season we were like kids in camp. Nobody knew what to do. The show was ever changing every day," she told THR's Idol Worship. "It was a hard season, but it prepared me."

Happy 10th Anniversary, Kelly! We at Idol Worship look forward to the next 10 years!

Check out Kelly's historic victory below, and relive Randy Jackson's orange fedora, Paul Abdul's ascertation that "if you look up 'it' in the dictionary" Guarini's picture would be there, Simon Cowell admitting that the talent in America is better, Seacrest clearly overpowering co-host Brian Dunkelman, and judges offering opinions on who should win. Do you remember where you were the night she won?

Twitter: @Idol_Worship