For her Kellyoke rendition, the American Idol champion uses the lightest of touches and all the right vocal flourishes to make the slinky song completely her own — and entirely separate from the 2001 version recorded by Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Missy Elliott for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.
“He met Marmalade down in old New Orleans/ Strutting her stuff on the street/ She said, ‘Hello/ Wanna give it a go?’/ Gitchi, gitchi, ya ya, da da/ Gitchi, gitchi, ya ya, here/ Mocha chocolat-a, ya ya/ Creole Lady Marmalade,” she sang, accompanied by an accordion, guitars and a lone back-up singer.
Originally released by LaBelle in 1974, the sultry tale of the sex worker became the girl group’s defining single and lone No. 1 hit when it peaked at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in March 1975. Of course, the girl power-inspired collaboration by Xtina and co. ultimately eclipsed the success of the OG single, spending five consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the summer of 2001.
Other “Kellyoke” numbers Clarkson has knocked out of the park as of late include The Mamas and The Papa’s “California Dreamin’,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.” Meanwhile, The Kelly Clarkson Show was recently renewed for two more seasons through 2025.
Watch Clarkson transform “Lady Marmalade” below.