Country Music

Garth’s emotional reaction at the end is a clear sign of his approval; Kelly nailed it!

In 2021, Kelly Clarkson showcased her country side by performing Garth Brooks’ iconic ballad “The Dance” at the Kennedy Center Honors. This performance was special not just because of Clarkson’s exceptional rendition, but also because Brooks himself was in the audience. During her performance, Clarkson used gentle piano notes and added a slight twang to the emotional lyrics, complemented by her signature vocal flips​​.

“The Dance,” released in 1990 as part of Brooks’ self-titled debut album, is a significant song in Brooks’ career. It reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and is widely regarded as the song that catapulted Brooks into fame. Interestingly, Brooks revealed in a 2021 interview on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” that he initially hesitated to record the song for his album because he thought it didn’t sound “country enough.” However, his producer, Allen Reynolds, convinced him otherwise, saying, “If you don’t record that song, it’ll be the biggest hit you’ve ever had”​​​​.

Clarkson’s performance was both delicate and powerful, taking place on an outdoor stage in front of a socially distanced audience. Brooks, seated next to his wife Trisha Yearwood, was visibly moved by Clarkson’s rendition, at times closing his eyes with his hand over his face. Clarkson expressed on Instagram that it was an honor to sing “The Dance” for Brooks at the event, emphasizing the personal significance of the song to her​​.

The connection Clarkson has with “The Dance” is profound. She shared with Brooks on her show that the song had been a source of solace during her divorce from ex-husband Brandon Blackstock. She described how the song helped her articulate feelings she couldn’t otherwise express, finding in its lyrics a reflection of her own experiences​​.

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