“I wish I could audition with Mariah Carey in the room, “ she told The Hollywood Reporter. “That would be awesome.”
The season one winner also believes Mariah’s star power proves how far the show, which is now more than a decade old, has come since her “ghetto season” when everyone believed it was just a “crap show.”
“I was the first winner and every artist in the world rained on that parade,” she told the magazine. “It’s kind of a cool thing for me ten years later to have somebody like her, one of the biggest female artists ever, embracing that show.”
Kelly says it brings validity to not only Idol, but to artists like her, Carrie Underwoood, Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, who’ve been working hard to become more than just contestants on a reality show.
The singer even jokes that her parents didn’t know she was a star until recently when she wrote an anthem for her hometown team, the Dallas Cowboys,
“I think when you are born in Fort Worth, Texas you kind of come out of the womb yelling for the Cowboys,” she said. “My family now thinks I’ve made it… Ten years of working your butt off means nothing until you have done something for the Cowboys.”
Though Kelly has no plans to become a judge, she did enjoy her time as a mentor on this summer’s Duets. She has even stayed in touch with her two partners, Jordan Meredith and Jason Farol, who ended up taking home third place.
“I actually have Jordan Meredith, my girl, out with me on tour for a week and then we are going to get her in the studio,” she says delightedly. “Jason Farol came out with me at the Hollywood Bowl and sang with me. We are getting him hooked up with some writers and helping him develop his sound.”
The desire to help other artists is one of the things Kelly says she got out of her time on Duets.
“A lot of times in this industry people are always trying to climb a ladder. I don’t need to climb a ladder,” she said. “I love that I could help someone accomplish a dream. I think what I got out of that experience is I love being involved in that.”
–Shannon Carlin, CBS Local