Kellie Pickler Biography:
Kellie Dawn Pickler was born on June 28, 1986 in Albemarle, North Carolina. Kellie was brought up in the small town of Palestine with her father because her young mother gave up her custodial rights when Kellie was only two years old. Kellie describes her father, who was incarcerated for almost four years for aggravated assault and battery, as an alcoholic and a drug addict. Her mother also had some trouble with the law and when Kellie was placed under her care after Kellie's father was arrested. Due to Kellie's mother's abusive treatment, Kellie was then placed in her grandparent's custody. Kellie continued to live with her grandparents and younger brother Eric until she joined season 5 of American Idol. She is a graduate of North Stanly High School in New London, North Carolina and was a waitress at a local Sonic Drive In. In 2004, she became a contestant in the Miss North Carolina beauty pageant, where she earned a scholarship from the Stanly Community College School of Cosmetology, but later shifted to paralegal studies.
After receiving her associate's degree, Kellie auditioned for season 5 of American Idol in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she sang two songs, namely "Since U Been Gone" by season 1 American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and "A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride. She received three yeses, and went on to perform well during Hollywood week and the semifinals, and eventually landed a spot on the Top 12. Like the rest of America, Simon was amused by Kellie's charm and rather ditzy but sweet personality, consequently placing Kellie above the bottom three for six weeks. Her rendition of "Unchained Melody" on the seventh week was the one that not only sent her to the bottom three for the first time, but also what ultimately led to her elimination.
Kellie has become quite the celebrity after American Idol. She has appeared in many events, where she has talked about her experience as an American Idol Finalist. She also went back to North Carolina to take part in her hometown's annual parade and to reunite with her father, who was released from prison a week later Kellie's elimination. In 2006, Kellie was signed by 19 Recordings/BNA Records and performed in several events, which included the NASCAR Race in Concord, North Carolina. She has also been seen singing in the Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The View. Her first album, Small Town Girl, came out on Halloween in 2006 and has made a music video for her song "Red High Heels." The album was a success, having placed ninth on the Billboard Top 200 and first on the Country Album Chart.