Kelly Clarkson pays tribute to Simon Cowell on the Walk of Fame

Simon Cowell became the latest celebrity to be honored with his own star on the Walk of Fame on Wednesday. On hand to help him celebrate – and to pay tribute to him – was the woman he helped launch to superstardom: Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol.

Saying she was “very honored” to be asked to speak at the ceremony, Kelly noted that it was “right here” – in Hollywood – “16 years ago, when this man helped change my ‘thank you’ is what I really wanted to say to Simon Cowell today.”

Mentioning another attendee, former judge Randy Jackson, Kelly also got nostalgic over the first season of American Idol, describing it as “beautiful, organic...really fresh and innocent...a really beautiful moment.”  She also praised what she believes is Simon’s true talent: “Finding authentic people that have a raw talent and are really themselves and that’s all that they really know how to be.”

Some of the other stars whose careers Simon helped launch were also on hand, including Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, Leona Lewis, Fifth Harmony’s Ally Brooke, Grace Vanderwaal and Cowell’s fellow judges from America’s Got Talent.

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