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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
American Idol's album tops chart
Kelly Clarkson
Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol
American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson has seen her debut album top the US charts as she celebrates her 21st birthday.

The singer landed a $1m (£628,000) recording contract after beating more than 50,000 hopefuls to win the US version of the talent show.

Her first single, A Moment Like This, was released immediately after her triumph and went straight to number one in the Billboard chart.

Now Clarkson, who turns 21 on Thursday, has seen her album follow suit with sales of nearly 300,000.

American Idol is now in its second series and is down to the final seven contestants who are hoping to emulate the success of the series one winner.

No rush

The US show was launched following the popularity of the British version which saw Will Young crowned winner.

Young and runner-up Gareth Gates have had continued success since the finale in February 2002.

But whereas in America a second series of the show quickly followed the first, there has been no rush to repeat the British version for fear of audiences tiring of TV talent shows.

The format was created by Simon Fuller of 19 Management, whose latest show is ITV1's Reborn in the USA.

The show, which reaches its climax on Saturday, saw a group of British singers who had hits in the 80s tour America in the hope of winning back fans and resurrecting their careers.

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