It’s official: Any song can sound sad when it’s slowed down and played on piano. Kelly Clarkson proved it to be so when she turned one of ABBA‘s happiest hits, “Dancing Queen,” into a melancholy ballad on the Thursday (April 7) installment of Kellyoke, The Kelly Clarkson Show‘s live music cover series.
The American Song Contest host usually takes the stage with her full band Y’all backing her up, but rather than employing back up singers, 1970s synths and tambourines to recreate ABBA’s famous Europop sound, she instead opted for bringing just one other musician up with her. Accompanied simply by emotional solo piano, the three-time Grammy winner’s powerhouse belt had more room than ever to soar.
“Dancing Queen” was a massive success for the Swedish four-piece group, and remains their only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 to date. Released in 1976 on their fourth LP Arrival, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.
Though Clarkson didn’t choose to lean into the disco fever of “Dancing Queen” this time, she’s still no stranger to hopping from one genre to the next. Kellyoke has found the 39-year-old vocalist putting her spin on everything from Motown (“Dancing in the Street” by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas) to honky-tonk (“Boot Scootin’ Boogie” by Brooks & Dunn). Just this week, she took a stab at ’90s boy band music, honoring her talk show’s guests The Backstreet Boys with a cover of “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.”
Watch Kelly Clarkson put an emotional spin on ABBA’s classic hit “Dancing Queen” below: