Every day, country superstar and TV personality Kelly Clarkson opens up her talk show with a gorgeous cover of a popular song, from Whitney Houston to Kelsea Ballerini to ABBA. The show calls this segment “Kellyoke,” and the singer kills it every single time.
This past week, Kelly Clarkson absolutely nailed a haunting rendition of “Peter Pan” by Kelsea Ballerini. According to TODAY, the traditional song features upbeat moments accompanied by “strong” instrumentals. But when Clarkson performed it, she made it more emotional and only had piano accompaniment. Her longtime music director Jason Halbert took to the keys, and together, the two created something magical.
“You’re just a lost boy, with your head up in the clouds/You’re just a lost boy, never keep your feet on the ground,” Clarkson sang. “Always gonna fly away, just because you know you can/You’re never gonna learn there’s no such place as a Neverland.”
You can check out her incredible performance below. And make sure you check out the Kelly Clarkson Show’s YouTube page for more “Kellyoke” performances. Recently, she’s killed renditions of “Dancing Queen” by Abba, “King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West, and “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins.
Kelly Clarkson’s Music Director Talks Her ‘Kellyoke’ Segments
As soon as “The Kelly Clarkson Show” started airing in 2019, fans fell in love with how she opened up the show doing a musical number. It only felt right that the show would include some kind of performance, given Clarkson’s background.
But little did Clarkson know how popular her “Kellyoke” performances would become. In a 2019 interview with Vulture, right when the show started airing, her music director, Jason Halbert, talked about the creation of the segment.
“I think because of how she started on Idol, covering so many great songs on the show, when I first started with her, I used to get tons of emails from fans requesting that she cover certain songs,” Halbert explained.
“So I brought her the idea of, ‘Why don’t we do a fan request every day?'” he continued. “She loved the idea, and I think we’ve been doing it since almost the very beginning. Whenever they were coming up with a concept for the show, that sort of morphed into ‘Kellyoke.’
Halbert and Clarkson tape about six episodes per week, spread out over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. They use Mondays to rehearse all six “Kellyoke” performances, per Halbert. These rehearsals play a key role because Clarkson has such a wide range to work with.
“The most important thing for Kelly is for her to be able to emote the song in the ways she’s most comfortable,” Halbert explained. “Sometimes that’s moving around through a crowd; sometimes when it’s a really wordy song, it’s being planted somewhere so she can focus on emoting it.”
He added, “Right now, I’m prearranging all the songs. Once I know what songs we’re doing, I get them down to about a minute-and-a-half, trying to figure out a way to condense the most important parts of the song as well as making sure that we choose the best sections that make her vocals shine the most.”