Kelly Clarkson has been missing in action since sweeping 2009 power ballad "Already Gone" reached No. 13 on the Hot 100 and top 5 at top 40 and AC radio. Her 2010 follow-up release "All I Ever Wanted" tanked, peaking at No. 96 on the singles chart—although she saved face this year as guest vocalist on country singer Jason Aldean's fluffy "Don't You Wanna Stay," which catapulted her to No. 1 on the country singles chart in February and top 10 at AC.
She releases long-delayed fifth album Stronger Oct. 25, which Kelly says is influenced by Prince, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow and Radiohead, whatever that means.
First single "Mr. Know It All" (which sounds akin to 2002's "Miss Independent," huh?), goes to radio Sept. 5. Meanwhile, tepid pop/rock retread "Let Me Down" "leaked" to the webbie July 6, which radio promptly ignored... Why do I find myself minimally interested in the whole thing?
Meanwhile, kudos to Katy Perry, who becomes the first woman and second artist in history (behind Michael Jackson) to log five No. 1 singles from one album. Her phenomenal summertime anthem "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" at last dethrones synth-silly "Party Rock Anthem" from LMFAO, which spent six wearisome weeks at the chart summit.
The caveat: a new version of the song with Missy Elliott splattering the track with an annoying hijacking rap. God awful—though the label discounted the version to 69 cents on iTunes to boost sales, which obviously pushed it over the edge to make history. So be it.
"T.G.I.F." follows previous No. 1s "California Gurls" "Teenage Dream""Firework" and, "E.T." Katy's rock-solid album Teenage Dream debuted at No. 1 in September and has sold 1.7 million copies.