Welcome back, Kelly Clarkson — and welcome to New York. To celebrate the return of her daytime talkshow The Kelly Clarkson Show, the fourth season of which premieres Monday (Sept. 12), the three-time Grammy winner pulled out all the stops for her first Kellyoke back by singing an action-packed medley of hits by Willie Nelson, Madonna, Aretha Franklin and Taylor Swift.
Most of the comeback performance was prerecorded, and followed Clarkson as she and her band pack up their show’s home base in Hollywood into tour buses and hit the road. As they head out east, the “Stronger” singer aptly covers Willie’s 1980 country anthem “On the Road Again” before pulling over for an outdoor performance of Madonna’s 2000 hit “Music.”
Then, as she and her band kill time onboard the bus, she belts out Aretha’s 1985 classic “Freeway of Love” before taking it home with Taylor’s 2014 single “Welcome to New York.” At that point, the pre-taped video turns into a live performance for Clarkson’s audience in New York City, where The Kelly Clarkson Show has set up shop for its season four premiere.
“It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat forevermore,” Clarkson sings as she and a fleet of backup dancers marches out from the dressing rooms and onto the stage. “The lights are so bright but they never blind me.”
In the summer weeks leading up to the talk show’s new season, Clarkson hosted a #KellyokeSearch tour through cities across America in search of talented singers to sing duets with and potentially feature on The Kelly Clarkson Show. In June, the former American Idol star won her third consecutive Daytime Emmy for outstanding entertainment talk show host as well as her second for outstanding entertainment talk show.
Prior to that, she released her Kellyoke EP, which featured a handful of songs previously covered by the vocal powerhouse on her talk show — including Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” The Weeknd’s “Call Out My Name” and more.
Watch Kelly Clarkson’s epic return to Kellyoke — and The Kelly Clarkson Show — below: