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In 2005, singer Kellie Pickler landed a spot in the fifth season of American Idol. Though she finished sixth, the former waitress and Miss North Carolina contestant charmed American audiences with her Southern twang and blonde ambition, resulting in a contract with BNA Records that yielded her debut album, Small Town Girl, in the fall of 2006 and an eponymous sophomore release in 2008, which yielded Pickler's first Top Ten hit, "Best Days of Your Life," a song she co-wrote with Taylor Swift. Her third album, the Frank Liddell-produced 100 Proof, appeared late in 2011. Despite being greeted by strong reviews and encouraging initial sales, 100 Proof didn't generate a hit single (the closest was "Tough," which peaked at 30). Pickler and Sony Nashville announced that they were parting ways in the summer of 2012.
In 2013, she appeared as a contestant on the TV show Dancing with the Stars and subsequently won the contest with dance partner Derek Hough. She also announced details of her fourth studio album, The Woman I Am. Released on Black River Entertainment and preceded by the singles "Someone Somewhere Tonight" and "Little Bit Gypsy," the album saw release in November 2013.
Kellie Dawn Pickler (born June 28, 1986) is an American country music artist and television personality. She gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, and finished in sixth place. In 2006, she signed to 19 Recordings and BNA Records as a recording artist, releasing her debut album, Small Town Girl, later that year. As of 2014, it has sold over 900,000 copies. The album, which was certified gold by the RIAA, produced three singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts: "Red High Heels" at number fifteen, "I Wonder" at number fourteen, and "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind" at number sixteen. She released her self-titled second album in Fall 2008 and has produced the singles "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" at number twenty-one, "Best Days of Your Life" at number nine (which she co-wrote with Taylor Swift and her first Top 10 hit), "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You" at number fourteen, and "Makin' Me Fall in Love Again" at number thirty. In 2012, she was ranked as the 14th best American Idol alumna. She also parted ways with her former record label. In October 2012, she signed with Black River Entertainment. On May 21, 2013, Pickler and her partner Derek Hough were declared the winners of sixteenth season of Dancing with the Stars."Top 24 'American Idols' Of All-Time". Billboard.com. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2012-07-29.
Pickler was born at Stanly Memorial Hospital in Albemarle, North Carolina, a small town near Charlotte, to Cynthia Morton and Clyde "Bo" Raymond Pickler, Jr. Her mother left when Kellie was two years old. Her mother returned and took custody of Kellie for two years. After this, the court returned Kellie to her grandparents when she was 12, as her father was in and out of jail during her childhood. From this age to adulthood, she was raised by her grandparents. Pickler says the major influences in her life are her grandfather, Clyde Raymond Pickler, Sr., a former electrician, and grandmother, Faye Pickler. Pickler graduated in 2004 from North Stanly High School in New London, North Carolina. She was a cheerleader and beauty queen. She sang "On the Side of Angels" by LeAnn Rimes at her high school graduation.
She worked as a waitress at a Sonic Drive-In franchise and, in 2005, she made an appearance on WSOC-TV's Gimme the Mike! Charlotte contest. She finished in second place. She participated in the Miss America circuit and won the "Miss Stanly County" pageant at age 17 and subsequently competed for Miss North Carolina 2004."Country singer's runaway mom comes out of hiding :: Lowdown". Lansinglowdown.com. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
The 19-year-old Pickler auditioned for American Idol in the fall of 2005 in Greensboro, North Carolina. She sang both Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" and Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing". The judges sent her to Hollywood. Pickler advanced through the semi-final rounds in February. On March 9, she reached the Top 12.
Pickler was among judge Simon Cowell's favorites. He once predicted Pickler would be in the final three, and said he preferred her over the previous season's winner, Carrie Underwood. Recognized for her "quirky" personality and Southern charm, Pickler gained attention on the show by saying that she had hardly ever performed before real audiences, and by mispronouncing words. She was compared to Jessica Simpson in a March 27 story in US Weekly magazine titled "Kellie: The Next Jessica Simpson", due to her "sweet Southern style and ditzy demeanor". Pickler has stated several times that she was not heavily exposed to modern pop culture.
Performances and results (during voting weeks)American Idol.Recap of Season 5 Episode 12] Retrieved on 2006-03-07. American Idol Top 24, Top 11 and Top 9
ContentsPost-Idol career1.1 2006–07: Small Town Girl1.2 2008–10: Kellie Pickler1.3 2011–12: 100 Proof1.4 2013: The Woman I Am1.5 Dancing with the Stars
After her elimination, she appeared in numerous shows promoting the TV show and performed the song "Walkin' After Midnight" in some of her appearances.
On May 6, 2006, she returned to Albemarle, North Carolina, for a parade and a reunion with her father. She received a key to the city from the mayor of Albemarle. The mayor also proclaimed the day as "Kellie Pickler Day". Pickler also received numerous awards from local and statewide government officials praising her accomplishments as a contestant on the American Idol television show.
Pickler pursued her recording aspirations in Nashville, Tennessee, shortly thereafter. On July 17, 2006, she signed a record deal with 19 Recordings/BNA Records. She later announced it herself on The View. She was part of the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2006, performing for three months in various cities. During that period, Pickler worked on her album in collaboration with top industry experts in different cities wherever the tour took her.
2006–07: Small Town Girl
Her first single, "Red High Heels", debuted on September 13, 2006, and its music video was officially released on October 20, 2006. It received a nomination for the CMT Video Awards for "Breakthrough Video of the Year".
Her debut album, Small Town Girl, released on October 31, 2006, topped Billboard's Top Country Albums and landed at number nine on the Billboard 200 selling over 79,000 copies in its first week, making Pickler the highest-selling first-week sales for a new artist in 2006. The album includes five songs that Pickler co-wrote with songwriters Chris Lindsey, Aimee Mayo, and Karyn Rochelle.
On January 18, 2007, Pickler co-hosted The View and was presented with a gold record by Rosie O'Donnell, certifying that her album has reached the 500,000 sales mark. She also performed her second single, "I Wonder", which is a personal song about her absent relationship with her mother, Cynthia Morton. It was the first performance of the song on national television.
Pickler was nominated for "Top New Female Vocalist" for the 42nd Academy of Country Music Awards.
She was also part of Brad Paisley's "Bonfires & Amplifiers" concert tour from April 2007 through October as one of the opening acts. The tour was booked in at least 37 cities across North America including a couple of stops in Canada.
Pickler appeared in country music artist Brad Paisley's music video "Online" in 2007.
On September 2007, Pickler released a version of "Santa Baby" for a Christmas country compilation. A month later, at the ASCAP Awards in Nashville, Pickler received a songwriter award for co-writing "Red High Heels". She performed "I Wonder", at the 2007 CMA Awards. During the performance, she was visibly overcome with emotion and struggled to even finish the song before bursting into tears. The performance received a standing ovation. She was also nominated for the Horizon Award. The performance led her to receive 3 CMT awards the following April.
2008–10: Kellie Pickler
While "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind" was climbing the country charts (it eventually reached number sixteen), Pickler returned to the studio to record her second studio album for 19 Recordings/BNA Records. She performed the debut single, "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" at the ACM Awards on May 18, 2008 and received a good response from the audience. She was nominated for "Top New Female Vocalist", but the award went to Taylor Swift.
"Don't You Know You're Beautiful" was released to radio in June 2008 and was a Top 25 hit for Pickler, peaking eventually at number twenty-one. Her second album, Kellie Pickler, was released on September 30, 2008 and debuted at the top of the country chart, as well as number nine on the Billboard 200, selling over 43,000 copies in its first week. It matched the debuting spots of her first album, Small Town Girl.
On November 12, 2008, Pickler performed the second single from her album Best Days of Your Life at the CMA Awards. She was also nominated for "New Artist Of The Year" for the second year in a row, but lost to Lady Antebellum. "Best Days of Your Life" made its radio debut in November 2008, and debuted at number 56. The song climbed very slowly up the chart, but ended up becoming Pickler's first Top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. After nearly 40 weeks on the chart, the song peaked at number nine in August 2009. A music video was made by Roman White, featuring Taylor Swift, who co-wrote and sang background harmony vocals on the song.
Pickler was nominated for "Female Video Of The Year" at the 2009 CMT Music Awards for "Don't You Know You're Beautiful". She lost once again to Swift. She also presented the award for "USA Weekend Breakthrough Video Of The Year" with Idol judge Randy Jackson.
Pickler accompanied Swift on the first leg of her Fearless Tour 2009. In June, she launched her first ever headline concert tour in promotion of her self-titled album. On October 8, it was announced that Pickler would be part of the second leg of Fearless Tour.
"Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You", a re-recording from Picklers' first album Small Town Girl, was released as the album's third single on August 30, 2009. The song debuted at number 55 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and became her fifth Top 20 hit, peaking at number fourteen in February 2010.
On October 26, Pickler won the title of Country Weekly's poll of most beautiful woman in country music for the second year in a row. Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood were the second and third places, respectively.
"Makin' Me Fall In Love Again" was released as the album's fourth single on April 19, 2010. It debuted at number 53 and peaked at number 30.
2011–12: 100 Proof
It was announced that Pickler's third album would be produced by Frank Liddell, known for producing country artist Miranda Lambert's albums. "Tough" was released on June 13, 2011 as the lead-off single to Pickler's third album, 100 Proof, which was released on January 24, 2012. The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 and at number two on the Top Country Albums chart. "Tough" reached a peak of number 30 on the Hot Country Songs chart, while the album's title track, which was released as the second single in April 2012, peaked at number 50 on the same chart.
On June 27, 2012, ABC News Radio reported that Pickler parted ways with Sony Nashville. Pickler's manager told ABC News Radio, "Kellie's contract with Sony came to an end and they mutually decided not to renew it". On July 10, 2012, she sang "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. On October 8, 2012, CMT reported Pickler had signed with the independent record label Black River Entertainment.
2013: The Woman I Am
Pickler's first single with Black River Entertainment, "Someone Somewhere Tonight," was released on May 14, 2013. After eight weeks, it reached a peak of number 49 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in July 2013. "Little Bit Gypsy" was released on August 19, 2013 as the second single from her forthcoming fourth studio album.
Pickler's fourth album, The Woman I Am, was released on November 11, 2013. Pickler wrote the title track with her husband, songwriter Kyle Jacobs.
Dancing with the Stars
On May 21, 2013, Pickler and Derek Hough were announced the winners of the sixteenth season of Dancing with the Stars. She performed a well received super sized freestyle, scoring a perfect 30 and garnered effusive praise from the dance judges. She performed "Little Bit Gypsy" on November 25, 2013 episode in the seventeenth season.Hometown support links: Stanly County Board of Commissioners, Downtown Albemarle Development Corporation, Official City of Albemarle Website Rick Ellis (October 30, 2006). "Q&A With Kellie Pickler". allyourtv.com. Retrieved 2006-11-22. "CMT 2007 music Awards". www.cmt.com. January 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-02. "Red High Heels music video on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. October 20, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-21. "Kellie Pickler Debuts First Single". Fox American Idol. September 12, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-13. "CMT Loaded: CMT Top 20 Countdown 10.26.06 Kellie Pickler Interview 1". CMT.com. September 23, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26. "Red High Heels – Kellie Pickler". songmusiclyric.com. September 22, 2006. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. Retrieved 2006-10-28. ""Montana" soundtrack, Manilow lead U.S. charts". Yahoo! News. November 8, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-10. "Top recordings". Belleville News-Democrat. November 10, 2006. Archived from the original on July 2, 2007. Retrieved 2006-11-10. "Nominations Announced for the 42ND ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC(R) AWARDS Country Music's Party of the Year (R)". biz.yahoo.com. March 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-05. "siti di incontri". Kym Kilgore (January 9, 2007). "Brad Paisley rolls with 'Bonfires & Amplifiers'". Livedaily.com. Retrieved 2007-01-17. Mike Zeppieri (June 28, 2007). "Calendar of Canadian concerts for June 29 to July 29'". news.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-01. "Broadcast Yourself". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-05-01. "Billboard.com". Billboard.com. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2012-07-29. CMT.ca Hazel Smith (2009-12-07). "Cmt News". Cmt.com. Retrieved 2012-07-29. "Kellie Pickler's Camp Confirms Split with Sony Music Nashville - Music News - ABC News Radio". Abcnewsradioonline.com. 2012-06-27. Retrieved 2012-07-29. "Kellie Pickler Signs to Black River Entertainment". CMT. Retrieved October 8, 2012. "iTunes - Music - Someone Somewhere Tonight - Single by Kellie Pickler". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-06-01. Gold, Adam. "Kellie Pickler Branches Out on New Album 'The Woman I Am'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 13, 2013. "Dorothy Hamill and Andy Dick among 'Dancing' stars". New York Post. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
Pickler's mother was repeatedly charged with writing bad checks and was convicted in 1988 for passing a forged prescription for Valium at the Albemarle Wal-Mart, where she worked. The day after Pickler's second birthday, her parents split up. A year later, in July 1989, her mother vanished. During periods when her father, Bo, was incarcerated, she would live with her grandparents, outside Albemarle, which is 45 miles northeast of Charlotte. In 1992, Pickler's mother returned to Albemarle, but rarely made contact with Pickler. But in March 1995, with Bo Pickler in prison for armed robbery, her mother was granted custody. Pickler was in the fourth grade. "She got custody of me for two years," Pickler said in a February 2006 interview with The Observer. "During that time, she was physically and mentally abusive of me." In a 1997 court filing, Pickler's grandparents said that her mother had moved to Union County with the girl and treated the child harshly. The court restored custody to the grandparents. Her mother vanished again, and Pickler has not heard from her since. Her father, whom she describes as an alcoholic and drug addict, served a three-year, nine-month prison sentence at Florida State Prison for aggravated assault and battery stemming from a 2003 stabbing incident. He was released on May 6, 2006, a week after her elimination from Idol. In an April 2006 interview with NBC Pickler said, "One thing that's so important in life is we learn to forgive others. I ask the Lord every day to forgive me for my sins and for things that I've done wrong. And who am I to not forgive someone for what they've done?" ..."God tells us to love everyone."
On February 26, 2007, she met her personal "idol" and strongest influence, Dolly Parton. The surprise was arranged by Sony BMG Nashville chairman Joe Galante.
In 2007, Pickler was in a relationship with Nashville Predators player Jordin Tootoo and visited his family in Nunavut. Later that year, the two broke up.
Pickler's best friend has been Summer Miller, who Pickler met when they were teen pageant hopefuls. Pickler is close friends with Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, the latter of whom co-wrote Pickler's second single "Best Days of Your Life" from her album Kellie Pickler, with her American Idol roommate Katharine McPhee, for whom she was a bridesmaid at McPhee's 2008 wedding.
In June 2008, she joined Carrie Underwood, a long-time vegetarian, in giving up eating meat. Pickler says she first decided to go vegetarian for health reasons, but a TV ad that vegetarian Pamela Anderson did for animal rights group PETA piqued her curiosity. "One night I couldn't sleep and I was up and just Googling random stuff and I'm like, 'Hmmm, PETA.' I saw all the videos and I just thought it was horrible. It's animal cruelty. A lot of it has to do with knowing what happens to the animals and it really bothered me and so I will not eat meat." In May 2009, it was announced that Pickler was nominated for, and won, the title of "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" by PETA.
After two and a half years of dating, Pickler became engaged to songwriter Kyle Jacobs on June 15, 2010, the day of her late grandmother's birthday, after he proposed on a beach at sunset. Pickler related for a background piece on Dancing with the Stars that the couple had planned an elaborate ceremony, but as the date approached, "I looked at him and said, 'Baby, this ain't us.'" On January 1, 2011, she and Jacobs eloped and married in a "small, intimate ceremony on a private island in the Caribbean".
On September 4, 2012, Pickler shaved her head on Good Morning America in support of her friend, Summer Holt Miller, who started chemotherapy after breast surgery.
Pickler actively supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where she helps raise funds and gives kids special visits. She also participates in charitable events to help raise funds for various organizations. She has performed to help raise funds for the "N.C. Children's PROMISE" to benefit the Children's Hospital on Nov. 12, 2006, to help refurbish the Hurricane Katrina-damaged NFL Youth Education Towns Boys & Girls Club of New Orleans on December 16, 2006, visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on January 12, 2007, and visited Pennington Elementary School on February 1, 2007. "When you're able to give back to your communities and organizations like St. Jude, it's a great thing," Pickler said. "It's been a great experience, and I encourage anyone and everyone to help."
Pickler was part of a country-artist-studded online auction for charity by Mario Magro: Kiss for a Cause Foundation Celebrity Auction held June 15–25, 2007, in support of orphaned and abandoned children. The event auctioned off celebrity lip prints and signatures pressed on the inside of Mario Magro Crystal Le Coop handbags at the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. In November 2007, Pickler appeared on a celebrity edition of the quiz show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, playing for the charities of her choice, (American Red Cross and the AARP's Grandparenting Program). During the show she was asked to name the European country for which Budapest is the capital, to which she responded "...I thought Europe was a country ...I know they speak French there." She chose the copy cheat, allowing her to go along with the 3rd grader's correct response of Hungary. She has participated in three USO tours. The first, in late 2007 and early 2008, took her to Iraq; the second, in December 2008, included stops in Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and England. In January 2010, Pickler made stops in Iraq and Kuwait on a 10-day tour with Randy Houser and Jamey Johnson. The three country stars "played remote bases on the front lines of the war zone, and the sound of gun fire became their frequent companion at night."
In early August 2009, Pickler participated in ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's rebuilding of James Terpenning's family home in Beavercreek, Ohio. Pickler performed a free concert at the home, and helped during reconstruction.'American Idol's' Pickler: Singer and survivor, Charlotte Observer, 17 February 2006. Retrieved 05 July 2006.  "Idol meets Idol – Pickler & Parton". KelliePickler.com. February 26, 2007. Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved 2006-02-27. "Kellie Pickler's New Love". US Magazine. 2007-05-23. Archived from the original on May 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-27. Nunavut hockey star introduces American Idol girlfriend to family. CBC News. 2007-06-21. Aarthun, Sarah. Kellie Pickler breaks it off with 'hockey guy'. The Charlotte Observer. WCNC-TV. 2007-10-02. Tauber, Michelle (2006-11-13). "Kellie's Wild Ride - American Idol, Kellie Pickler". People.com. Retrieved 2010-05-01. Willman, Chris (2008-02-01). "Swift Kicks | Music". EW.com. Retrieved 2010-05-01. "Kellie Pickler Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-10-03. Finan, Eileen (2008-10-28). "Kellie Pickler Gets Help Eating Her Veggies from Carrie Underwood - Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler". People.com. Retrieved 2010-05-01. "Kellie Pickler and Milo Ventimiglia Voted Sexiest Vegetarians Alive of 2009". PETA.org. Retrieved 2010-05-01. Derschowitz, Jessica (June 23, 2010). "Kyle Jacobs and Kellie Picker are Engaged". CBS News N.p. Retrieved June 23, 2010. YouTube video of Kellie Pickler segment of "Most Memorable Year" episode of Dancing with the Stars Season 16, aired April 8, 2013. "Kellie Pickler & Kyle Jacobs Have a Surprise Wedding". People.com. January 4, 2011. "Kellie Pickler At Durham Fair. - Hartford Courant". Courant.com. 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2013-06-01. "RADIOTHON/TELETHON". ncchildrenspromise.org. November 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-07. "CMT, Cox Restock N.O. Kids' Haven". MultiChannel.com. December 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-07. "St. Jude". kelliepickler.com. March 1, 2007. Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-07. "Kellie Pickler Adjusts to Spotlight". gactv.com. February 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-07. "Country stars visit St. Jude". stjude.org. January 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-07. "Mario magro kiss for a cause foundation to hold online celebrity auction". Kissforacause.org. June 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-28. "Kellie Appears on "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader". KelliePickler.com. November 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cey35bBWXls "Can she be THAT stupid?". youtube.com. December 7, 2007. Retrieved 2014-08-29. Kellie Pickler (2008). Kellie Pickler: My USO Diary (TV-Documentary Special). Iraq: GACTV. "Kellie Pickler to Perform on USO Tour". Dave. December 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03. Kellie Pickler's USO Tour People Magazine, December 22, 2008 "Randy Houser puts his army boots on". Blog.gactv.com. February 4, 2010. "Dayton Daily News | Photo Galleries | Kellie Pickler performs at 'Makeover' site". Projects.daytondailynews.com. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2010-05-01.