Here’s how Kelly Clarkson inspired Vanessa Hudgens’ career

Kelly Clarkson broke into the limelight in 2002 when she became the first winner of American Idol.  And Vanessa Hudgens says Kelly’s Idol journey is what inspired her own career.

Appearing Tuesday on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Vanessa revealed she wanted to follow in the “Breakaway” singer’s footsteps and compete on American Idol, to be just like her.  She said she “grew up doing theater” and acting has “always been a passion of mine” — just like Kelly — so she committed to being on Idol.  But life had other plans when she was ready to try out.

“That next week I got an audition for High School Musical and booked it. So then I was like, ‘Never mind,"” she laughed. “But I was like, ‘I’m doing it.’ And you were the catalyst.”

Kelly and Vanessa then bonded over the audition process, with Kelly disclosing, “People don’t know that, but there were many auditions before you even got to the TV part.”

As for the Princess Switch star, she “remember[s] all the auditions” she had to go through to play Gabriella Montez on High School Musical.  Noting that the the hit Disney Channel movie turns 16 this year, Vanessa says, “It’s wild, the time just keeps flying.”

Marveling on American Idol turning 20, Kelly agreed it “feels weird” that the show is celebrating its platinum anniversary this year, because she was “so young” when it became a part of her life.

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