Fourteen years ago, Kelly Clarkson became the first American Idol winner. Last night, Clarkson returned to its stage, for an incredibly powerful performance of “Piece by Piece.”
Clarkson brought the series, which bows after this season, full circle. She wrote the piano ballad for her little girl and now that she’s pregnant with a boy, the song has even more meaning to it. There’s not much we can say about the performance other than, “wow.” The catharsis Clarkson must have felt singing it overflowed into the audience, bringing tears to the judges’ eyes. (It moved Billy Eichner to tears, in the back of an Uber.) She fought back tears and powered through it, with the audience cheering her on. After it wrapped, Clarkson jokingly blamed it on being “super pregnant and normal.” She added, “It’s nostalgic. I can’t believe it’s the last season. I’m really sorry I just balled. I’m actually quite proud I made it that far.” Grab some tissues, press play below, and be proud, too.