Kelly Clarkson Reveals Her Duets Judging Style: I'm A 'Crier'

Kelly Clarkson attends the Entertainment Weekly & ABC-TV Up Front VIP Party at Dream Downtown in New York City on May 15, 2012 Kelly Clarkson attends the Entertainment Weekly & ABC-TV Up Front VIP Party at Dream Downtown in New York City on May 15, 2012

Kelly Clarkson – the original “American Idol”— is fairly confident that her 2002 stint on the FOX reality hit properly prepared her for her upcoming reality singing competition, “Duets.”

However, the 30-year-old superstar said filming the ABC show (where professional singers will duet with amateurs in a competition setting), has proven far more challenging than she initially expected.

“I will admit it’s been hard, the first three episodes,” Kelly told Access Hollywood correspondent Jill Martin at the ABC Upfronts after-party in New York City on Tuesday. “But yesterday we shot the fourth episode and it’s getting way easier.

“I think that I came in thinking I was from ‘[American] Idol’ and I had all this like, expertise on it and [thought] ‘Oh, this is going to be easy,’” she added. “No — it’s a lot of work!”

Kelly returns to her reality roots alongside fellow “Duets” judges/stars Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland), Robin Thicke and John Legend – who stepped in at the last minute after Lionel Richie was forced to bow out due to scheduling conflicts.

Of the four judges, Kelly said she and one other judge are prone to waterworks when it comes to critiquing their fledgling hopefuls.

“There’s two criers – that would be me and Jennifer,” she admitted with a laugh. “That’s OK – we’re in it together. I just can’t help it! I get so passionate about it [and] it’s so touching, the stories.”

While other shows may attempt to attract ratings by tearing contestants down in a cringe-worthy verbal lashing, the “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” singer said the “Duets” team aims to build up their contestants, while still delivering truthful feedback.

“We’re all honest, but we’re all very positive about it,” she said. “We sat down together and really wanted to make sure we weren’t the show that was just like, ‘Oh, you suck’ or ‘You’re not good.’ I don’t ever want to tell someone that.”

Adding, “So, we’re very positive, but we do give constructive criticism. We’re very honest.”

Watch Kelly, Jennifer, John and Robin hit the stage with their contestants when “Duets” premieres – May 24 at 8/7c on ABC.

--Erin O’Sullivan

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