Kelly Clarkson Shades ‘From Justin to Kelly,’ Ariana Grande Defends It

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Kelly Clarkson Ariana Grande Give Their Takes From Justin Kelly
Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande on ‘The Voice.’ Trae Patton/NBC (2)

Sorry, Justin Guarini! Kelly Clarkson is throwing major shade at her 2003 movie From Justin to Kelly — and Ariana Grande isn’t having it.

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On the Monday, October 4, episode of The Voice, the 39-year-old Clarkson poked fun at her acting debut while trying to beat out the “Positions” singer, 28, for a performer they both thought was worth turning their chairs around for.

The up-and-coming musician happened to be from Grande’s home state of Florida, so, in hopes of gaining this contestant’s trust, she used her connection to the Sunshine State — but that didn’t stop Clarkson from trying to do the same.

“I know that the obvious choice here is … I mean, I know you’re like, yeah, Florida … I’ve been to Florida!” the “Since U Been Gone” singer joked, adding, “I made a terrible movie in Florida,” alluding to the spring break-set musical that she was contractually obligated to make after winning American Idol.

While From Justin to Kelly, which starred fellow American Idol season 1 alum Guarini, was considered a box office bomb, earning just $4.9 million in its theatrical run, the movie has become a bit of a cult hit since its release. The low-key fanbase that developed for the film might be why Grande chimed in with a very different opinion.

“That movie is a classic!” the R.E.M. Beauty founder said. “That movie is iconic.”

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Some fans of the film might agree with Grande, but it’s unlikely Clarkson is one of them. The “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You)” singer has made it clear that it was not a fun experience for her, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2019 that she cried throughout the making of the film.

“It was a very miserable time of my life,” she said. “I feel like it’s one of those things where, ‘There are plenty of people that would love to do this—why don’t you ask one of them?’”

Kelly Clarkson Ariana Grande Give Their Takes From Justin Kelly Justin Guarini
Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini in ‘From Justin to Kelly’ (2003). Jon Farmer/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

She even said she “talked to many lawyers and could not get out of the movie.” In March, she told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that she feared the movie would kill her career. “And here’s the thing,” she said. “I never wanted to be an actress.”

The talk show host, who is currently in the middle of a messy divorce with her estranged husband, Brandon Blackstock, has gone on to act in a few other movies including 2019’s Ugly Dolls and the following year’s Trolls World Tour — but by choice.

“I get really nervous acting, so I don’t generally do it,” she told the L.A. Times, but doing a voice in Ugly Dolls seemed “awesome,” she said, “Because I thought: I’m not going to have to act … this is basically my character in life.”

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Being herself is something Clarkson is very good at — just ask her fellow From Justin to Kelly-loving Voice coaches.

The Voice season 21 airs on NBC Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.