Kelly Clarkson has come a long way since she became the first-ever “American Idol” winner in the fall of 2002.
In the nearly 21 years since she captured the hearts of judges and viewers of the show, Clarkson has used her dynamic voice and down-home appeal to springboard into a career that has brought her three Grammy Awards for her music and five Daytime Emmy Awards over a three-year span for her nationally syndicated talk show, “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
Currently, she’s in the throes of “Chemistry … an Intimate Night with Kelly Clarkson,” a 10-concert residency on the Las Vegas Strip, and a first for her.
During her opening Friday at Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood, Clarkson more than met the expectations of the sold-out crowd.
Out of the box, she performed “Favorite Kind of High,” one of the five cuts she sang from her newly released album, “Chemistry” — her 10th studio album and the first since a rocky divorce from music act manager Brandon Blackstock. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Clarkson said the song, which she co-wrote with singer Carly Rae Jepsen and producer Jesse Shatkin, was “about that high when you first see someone and you say, ‘Oh (wow).’ ”
Wow is just what she did from the start. It was apparent, with that first song and throughout the night, how powerful and ranging the singer’s voice is.
From there, she sang “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” off of her 2004 album, “Breakaway.” That song, like many throughout the evening, resulted in a thundering singalong by the audience.
“Y’all are so loud, I don’t need to sing,” she said, noting “I have a lot of duet partners tonight.”
That’s how it went with her hits like “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “Heartbeat Song” and “Miss Independent.”
Clarkson said she loved to sing in front of a large audience but mostly had been singing only before small studio audiences on her talk show.
“I’m so excited,” she confided to the audience. “I haven’t done a (big) show in like 9,000 years, and I’m super stoked to come and do some shows in Las Vegas.”
Clarkson promised that each of her Las Vegas concerts would be different, saying that she and her band had to learn “like 70 songs” for the residency.
One of them was “Broken and Beautiful,” from the 2019 soundtrack to the film “UglyDolls.”
“I put this in tonight, because I just love Pink,” who wrote the song, Clarkson said.
During the song, an audience member tossed an UglyDoll onstage, which Clarkson picked up and carried throughout the tune. Referring to much-
publicized incidents in which concert fans have become more brazen in what they throw onstage to or at performing artists, Clarkson joked, “If you’re gonna throw (anything) at me, throw diamonds.”
The bond between the singer and the audience was strong. At one point, a sign in the audience grabbed Clarkson’s attention. “My girlfriend gave me a hall pass for you,” Clarkson read aloud from the sign. “If I was into chicks, I’d take up the offer,” she answered to roars from her fans.
Later, she waded into the audience while singing “Breakaway,” shaking hands, exchanging high-fives and hugs as she made her way around the lower sections in the theater.
Her one “Kellyoke” of the evening — the term is from the cover songs she performs on her TV show — was Harry Styles’ “As It Was.” And as it was, Clarkson put in some of her own lyrics, “Answer the phone. Kelly, you’re no good alone. Why are you sittin’ at home on the floor? What kind of pills are you on?”
In all, Clarkson and her band performed 22 songs during the show, which ran just over 90 minutes. She finished with a three-song encore highlighted by rousing renditions of two of her most popular hits, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and “Since U Been Gone.” She performed the curtain call barefoot, spinning and dancing in delight as the audience gave her its last standing ovation of the night.
For Clarkson, a moment like this emphasized just how far she has come since her “Idol” days.
“Chemistry … an Intimate Night with Kelly Clarkson,” continues at 8 p.m. today, Saturday and Wednesday, plus Aug. 9, 11, 12, 18 and 19. Ticket information is available at ticketmaster.com/kellyvegas.
Source: Las Vegas Sun
Preview Image: Shutterstock
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