Garth Brooks and Kelly Clarkson

Pop star turned talk show host Kelly Clarkson paid tribute to country music superstar Garth Brooks with an emotional cover of one of his hits.


During the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, set to air June 6 on CBS, Kelly Clarkson performed a moving rendition of the 1989 Garth Brooks hit "The Dance" and elicited an emotional reaction from the honoree. Brooks and fellow country singer wife Trisha Yearwood watched teary-eyed as Clarkson belted out the song, which held a special meaning for her as well.

In a December 2020 appearance Brooks made on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the American Idol winner opened up about how "The Dance" got her through rough times during her divorce from husband Brandon Blackstock, which she announced in June of last year. In regards to how to song made her feel, Clarkson, said:

"I couldn't quite nail down the feeling. I was, like, well, you don't want to crap on it. Like, you don't want to say that didn't count or matter, but you don't know what to put in it because it didn't work out how you wanted and so, anyway, I kid you not, I was listening to my playlist and 'The Dance' came on and I was like, 'No, that's the thing. That's it.'"

Clarkson and Blackstock, a music manager, tied the knot in October 2013 and had two children together before their June 2020 split.

The Kennedy Center Honors awards those whose work in the performing arts has contributed greatly to American culture. Other stars to be honored at this year's ceremony are actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter Joan Baez, violinist Midori and legendary actor Dick Van Dyke.

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