Back in 2002 Kelly Clarkson was the first ever winner of American Idol. The talent show that is airing for a last season on Fox at the moment launched her as the next big thing and she actually managed to become a worldwide sensation with hit singles like ‘Since U Been Gone’, ‘Because Of You’, ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ and ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’. She managed to stay successful for a long time, especially in her home country, so it was disappointing to say the least that her latest album Piece By Piece did not sell that well and did not produce any major hits. Now it turns out she only needed 4 minutes of screen time, a piano and a mic to turn things around!
As American Idol is ending, they asked Kelly Clarkson once more to be part of the show, this time as guest judge and performer. She decided to sing a piano only rendition of her latest single ‘Piece By Piece’, which deals with the story of a young woman having her faith in love and family relations restored by her husband, after her father left her family at the age of 6. Of course a very personal story to Kelly and this became very much apparent when she performed the track during the live show. Vocally she was strong and impressive as always, but halfway through her emotions got the best of her, which caused her to pause before being able to continue. Both the judges and the audience were mesmerized by the heartfelt performance and everybody was screaming Kelly’s name when she finished. It takes courage to share such an emotional and personal story in a fragile manner.
The love for her performance was widespread after the airing. Music critics praised her and the song is still on the first spot in the American iTunes charts. Even the album by the same name has regained interest and found a steady spot in the top 5 of most sold albums on iTunes. Clarkson is known for her sleeper hits that take a while to make an impression on radio and in the charts, but this sudden success exactly a year after the album release is quite unique. This shows how it only takes one perfect performance that speaks to peoples minds to be back in the game.
Clarkson, currently expecting her second baby, has had to deal with a lot of body shaming in the past couple of years over weight gain. Even the reactions on YouTube on her American Idol performance are filled with ‘jokes’ about her weight. The woman is 8 months in her pregnancy for crying out loud! Her new found success however shows that in the end, your body size doesn’t really matter as long as the voice and songs manages to move people (if Adele didn’t prove that enough yet). Who cares if she gained some pounds? She looks great and sounds even better.
The sudden success of the piano version of the pop tune ‘Piece By Piece’ also shows what some of her fans have been saying for quite a while. Her voice is just too unique and powerful to be only used for catchy radio pop. I for one certainly hope for some more single worthy moving ballads on her next record, because those vocals are here to stay!