Happy Birthday, Kelly Clarkson!

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As Crystal Bowersox and company battle it out for the season nine crown, they should stop and give thanks to Kelly Clarkson.

If that singer had not gone on to a successful post-American Idol career, avoiding any major scandals in the process, it's likely that Idol would not be what it is today.

So fans should keep that in mind today, as Clarkson celebrates her 28th birthday. Send in your best wishes to this star and enjoy the photo montage we've published in her honor...

Kelly Clarkson in Self

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