Kelly Clarkson has been a beloved celebrity since winning American Idol in 2002. Her fame increased with the rise of The Kelly Clarkson Show, on which she performs many covers, from The Weeknd’s “Take My Breath” to Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License.” However, things behind the scenes aren’t as peachy as they seem.
In a new Rolling Stone article, employees both present and former told the publication that they are “overworked, underpaid, and that working at the show was traumatizing to their mental health,” according to writer Krystie Lee Yandoli.
A former employee said, “NBC is protecting the show because it’s their new money maker, but Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is.” Another former employee added, “I remember going up on the roof of the stage to cry, being like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what am I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?'”
One former employee described the show’s executive producer Alex Duda as a “monster,” saying, “I have a friend who’s an executive producer who warned me about taking this job, because apparently she has done this on every show she’s worked on.”
According to one current employee and 10 former employees, Clarkson is unaware of the toxic environment of the show, not realizing the struggles of lower-level staffers who have other jobs as babysitters, dog walkers, and Uber Eats drivers. A former employee clarified, “Kelly is fantastic. She is a person who never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative. I would be shocked if she knew. I’d be floored if she knew the staff wasn’t getting paid for two weeks of Christmas hiatus. The Kelly that I interacted with and that everyone knows would probably be pretty aghast to learn that.”
Kelly Clarkson is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.