“Starry, starry night/ Paint you palette blue and gray/ Look out on the summer’s day/ With eyes that know the darkness in my soul/ Shadows on the hills/ Sketch the trees and daffodils/ Catch the breeze and winter chills/ In colors on the snowy linen land,” the singer intoned, accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar.
The tribute to Vincent Van Gogh was originally released by McLean in February 1972 as a follow-up to his No. 1 hit “American Pie.” Though the track didn’t quite reach the stratospheric heights of its smash predecessor, it did ultimately peak at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 — giving McLean his second consecutive Top 40 hit off his 1971 sophomore album, also named American Pie. (Additionally “Vincent” also came up just short of topping Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, settling at No. 2 a month after it was released.)
Following her performance, Clarkson welcomed both Vanessa Hudgens and Utkarsh Ambudkar to the studio, where the latter delighted the audience with his ability to create a freestyle rap on the fly about his fellow stars’ trips to their local malls as teenagers.
Other Kellyoke numbers the talk-show host has performed on her eponymous talk show as of late have included “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas, Dusty Springfield‘s “Son of a Preacher Man,” Brandy‘s “Almost Doesn’t Count” and “High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves.
Watch the OG American Idol champ’s stirring rendition of “Vincent” below.