Since winning the first season of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson has had a long and illustrious career.
Auditioning for the inaugural season back in 2002, the Fort Worth, Texas, native received a golden ticket sending her directly to the Hollywood rounds. Later, during a suspenseful finale, Kelly took home 58% of the final vote, winning the competition against runner-up Justin Guarini.
Since her big break, Kelly’s gone on to sell over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. She was hailed as “one of pop music’s greatest singers” by Billboard and has won a myriad of honors and awards. Back in 2016, however, Kelly went full-circle, finding herself back on the very stage that’d made her famous so many years before.
Joining the show’s panel as a special guest judge, Kelly ended the night with a performance of her own.
At this point, she was pregnant with her second child and had chosen to sing “Piece by Piece”, the title track off her 2015 album.
Co-written by producer Greg Kurstin, “Piece by Piece” juxtaposes Kelly’s abandonment by her father with the love given to her (and her children) from her husband. Afterward, she said: “A lot of the reason why I wrote ‘Piece by Piece’ was I guess I didn’t realize the gravity of the [father] situation until I had a child of my own, and until I experienced love like I do with Brandon on the daily.”
“I guess you don’t realize something is missing until you feel it. I can’t imagine walking away from my little girl.”
Taking the stage in a gorgeous, black dress, a very pregnant Kelly begins to sing— quickly bringing the entire room to tears.
Most notably, country singer and father Keith Urban was spotted tearing up at the judges’ table. Afterward, he told ET Online: “The song is insane. I figure you’re either crying at this performance or you need to check your pulse. It’s an amazing song.”
The emotional lyrics coupled with Kelly’s voice and pregnant belly make for a phenomenal viewing experience.
Towards the end, she’s so emotional she can barely get to the end.
“The humanity in that moment was just incredible,” Urban later said.
“You never see that, let alone on TV, so I was grateful to be there to witness it.”
On the Z100 Morning Show, Kelly told Elvis Duran: “Stars aligned for me to be really screwed up emotionally that night. It was just he last time I was on Idol and my little kid is running around the same hallways that I was running around at 19.”
Nowadays, you can spot Kelly, mom of two, acting as a coach for contestants on the most recent seasons of The Voice. In September of this year, she also announced a TV talk show, called The Kelly Clarkson Show, that is set to premiere in the fall of 2019. Network executives said: “The incomparable Kelly Clarkson takes everything she touches to another level and we couldn’t be happier to bring her talent, humor, generosity and compassion to daytime [television] next year.”
Watch her emotional performance below.
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