Students await Kelly Clarkson’s upcoming campus performance

Some people wait a lifetime for fame, for a moment like this. Fifteen seconds on a reality singing competition and feisty, straight-talking lyrics can catapult a person to stardom.

Best known as the first winner of Fox’s “American Idol,” Kelly Clarkson will bring her small-town Southern charm to Assembly Hall on Saturday.

Since breaking into the music scene after her stint on the reality show, Clarkson has spawned four hit albums – 2003’s “Thankful,” 2004’s “Breakaway,” 2007’s “My December” and 2009’s “All I Ever Wanted.”

Fresh from singing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVI and from her duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Jason Aldean on the Grammy stage, Clarkson is currently touring to promote her fifth studio album, “Stronger,” released last fall. The album, which features the hits “Mr. Know it All” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

“She’s right at the peak of her career, so this is really great timing to have her here performing at the University for the first time,” said Jenny Larson, assistant director for marketing at Assembly Hall.

Larson said pop music is a popular genre among college students, especially as a secondary market.

“We are a university venue, and most artists within her genre like to tour at college campuses, and we have a strong student fan base,” she said. “Her Assembly Hall date was booked as part of her national tour.”

Clarkson will be performing at the location’s Star Theater, which is a more worthwhile experience for concertgoers, said Sue Lyman, promotions and publicity director at Assembly Hall.

“The set up will be more intimate, and people will be a lot closer to her, so they’ll really see her performing at her best,” she said.

Dave Roesch, production manager for Assembly Hall, said the set up is a typical show at the Star Theater.

“We’re supplying about 50 local people that will help set up,” Roesch said. “(Kelly) will be bringing in five trucks, and we’ll be providing four main spotlights.”

Singer Matt Nathanson will be joining Clarkson as her special guest. Nathanson is headlining his own “All Night Noise” tour and promoting his new album, “Modern Love,” released last summer.

Lyman said Nathanson will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m., and Clarkson will emerge at 8:45.

“It’s weird to think she burst onto the music scene eight years ago, and yet so many people still associate her with American Idol,” said Katie Nauss, a 2008 University alumna. “But I love her music. She’s always seemed so real and unaffected by any fame she’s encountered. She’s really great at balancing darker, edgier tunes with upbeat songs, and always adds feeling in her lyrics. I love her sense of humor on her new album, and I’m really excited to hear it live.”

For a moment like this, Lyman said the show is one not to miss.

“Everyone knows of every word to her songs because she has so many hits and has been one of the few contestants to be so successful after American Idol,” Lyman said. “I know she’s going to give a great performance.”

Tickets are still available at the Assembly Hall Box Office and online at Ticketmaster.com. Prices are $43 for floor seats, $39 for Sections A and B, $35 for Section C, and $30 for Section CC. A $5 discount is available for all University students.