HONG KONG (AP) -- From one talent show contestant to another: well done.
Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the debut season of "American Idol" in 2002, says she's a fan of surprise British singing star Susan Boyle, adding to a growing number of celebrity admirers that already include Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore.
Boyle, the 47-year-old church volunteer with a powerful voice, overcame a dowdy image to become an Internet sensation after her performance on the talent show "Britain's Got Talent" was posted on YouTube.
"I think it's awesome. I'm bawling whenever I hear her sing," Clarkson told The Associated Press in Hong Kong, saying Boyle's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables" sounded beautiful.
Clarkson was in Hong Kong promoting her new album, "All I Ever Wanted."
The 27-year-old singer said she still tries to catch "American Idol" when she can and defended the show against criticism that it has welcomed candidates with previous record deals or experience in other talent contests. "Idol" rules only require that contestants not be under a record or management contract when they audition.
"I personally think if someone has been affiliated with the industry, who cares? That just means they've been working hard and trying to get in the door," Clarkson said. "Regardless, you're going to be an amateur talent. It's not like you've had a huge record deal and toured the world. It's not like they're going to be some huge threat."
But she said the show' success has put more pressure on contestants.
During the taping of the first season, "No one knew what to expect. No one knew if it was going to be successful," Clarkson said. "But now people know the stakes."