Kelly Clarkson opened Wednesday night’s (May 1) 2019 Billboard Music Awards in style. The two-time host, wearing a sparkly black dress, made her entrance through the audience and took a seat next to Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews to commiserate about Taylor Swift’s eye-popping opening “Me!” performance before running down the list of the other amazing sets on tap, pausing to let the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas scream in anticipation when she got to the much-anticipated live debut of BTS and Halsey’s “Boy With Luv.”
A familiar-looking security guard — yes, former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski — cut her off, though, booting the host out of her seat to let Florida Georgia Line get to their spots. “My name’s Kelly Clarkson,” she said as Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard pretended not to recognize her. “Oh, you got jokes, you got jokes? Okay. I’ll prove it,” she said as she summoned her guitarist and busted into a the duo’s smash “Meant to Be” as her backup singers appeared out of nowhere.
The spontaneous medley continued, as Clarkson sidled up to Ella Mai and broke off a chorus of “Boo’d Up,” hitting the stage surrounded by a pair of dancers who dipped and did the splits to Maroon 5’s “Girls Like you” and Zedd bopped his head to her country-fried take on “The Middle.”
The run through this year’s smashes continued as BTS snapped along to Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss,” Cardi B made sure not to mess up her yellow nails clapping to “I Like It” as male dancers made it rain with their cash cannons. Clarkson did it all, rapping Cardi’s parts and even taking on Bad Bunny’s Spanish verse as Offset nodded his head and Khalid busted out into a big smile. Elsewhere in the rotation: Panic! At The Disco‘s “High Hopes” and Madonna‘s “Material Girl.”
Dan + Shay were also happy to hoist their shot glasses for a chorus of “Tequila” as Clarkson brought the house down with her flawless revue of the year’s chart-toppers.