04/08/2011 at 08:50 AM EDT
As season 10 of American Idol
winds down to its final eight contestants
, the woman – and the voice – who helped make the singing competition a household name is showing off just how far she's come since her season 1 win nearly a decade ago.
, who will take on the Idol
stage for a performance next Thursday alongside Rihanna
, rocked through a medley of her top hits on Wednesday's The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Clarkson, 28, kicked off the mash-up with her 2003 hit "Miss Independent" before launching into "Walk Away" and "Since U Been Gone."
And with a powerhouse performance that might give Idol
hopefuls some inspiration, it's anyone's guess whether this season's top contenders, like Scotty McCreery and James Durbin, will enjoy success like Clarkson – or even Carrie Underwood
. Clarkson, according to Nielsen SoundScan, is the highest-selling winner to the tune of 23 million albums and 36 million singles sold.
Season 10's contestants are a promising bunch but now that Pia Toscano, formerly considered an obvious frontrunner
, is out of the mix, do any of the remaining contestants have what it takes to be the next Clarkson?