Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop-shop for all things pop on Billboard’s weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson, every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
On the latest episode, we’re joined by pop superstar Kelly Clarkson for a special edition of the podcast, as we preview the 2018 Billboard Music Awards! Clarkson will be hosting and performing on the show, which will air live on NBC on May 20 at 8 p.m. ET.
Towards the beginning of our chat Clarkson — who called in during a break in rehearsals on The Voice, where she’s a coach alongside Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Alicia Keys — we asked her if this indeed was the first time she’s hosted anything. “Uh, yup!” she says, laughing, “So, it’s like, sink or swim!”
While it’s safe to assume Clarkson will handle hosting duties swimmingly, is she nervous about taking on the gig? “I think I’m so nervous and terrified that I’m like past it.”
“You know, like it’s just not real,” she says. “I might be in denial, and honestly, we have so much going on. Like I’m literally at The Voice rehearsals right now for my contestants so there’s just so much going on. Literally there is no day off between now and then, so I think that’s good ’cause I’ll just keep being busy. And also, we just planned something super fun so I’m excited about it. Now I’m more excited about it.”
What might be the super fun thing planned? Clarkson is mum on the subject, and she won’t even reveal what song she’ll be singing on the show. “It’s actually a surprise what I’m singing.”
Other surprises on the show might be what actually comes out of Clarkson’s mouth while hosting, as she says the show’s producers “know me well to know that I’m not going to read what’s on the teleprompter for some reason. Like, I will try – I will lie if I tell you I will,” she says, laughing.
As for the always important host monologue that traditionally kicks off the show, Clarkson says “that’s the big thing we’ve kinda been working on. I mean, y’all, I’m not a comedian, so like I’m not going to be able to get up there… You know, like you have friends in your group that are able to get away with certain jokes and like you’re not. (Laughs) So like I’m not going to be able to get up there and like make fun of a bunch of artists. And I don’t want to do that ’cause it’s not really my vibe. So, unless it’s like, you know, Blake were sitting there, I’d make fun of him. Or Adam or Alicia maybe, but I don’t know anybody that well other than them to like make fun of anyone.”
Clarkson aims to strike a celebratory tone as a host, she says, highlighting the music and how she wants to make it “a really cool night” for the nominees.
Also in our interview with Clarkson, she teases an upcoming tour in support of her latest album, Meaning of Life. “We actually literally already have it routed.” Though, Clarkson can’t divulge when the tour will start. “It’s going to be soon.”
In addition to the interview with Clarkson, the Pop Shop team details what they are looking forward to on the Billboard Music Awards, along with reviewing chart news about Childish Gambino, Post Malone and Celine Dion.
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