A definitive ranking of Kelly Clarkson’s best covers

Turn up the volume, it’s time for Kellyoke.
April 24, 2020 1:01 p.m. EST
April 27, 2020 1:20 p.m. EST
Calendars have become somewhat redundant recently, but one date we definitely haven’t forgotten is Kween Kelly Clarkson’s birthday. The Voice coach and daytime TV host turns 38 on April 24 and we’ve already got our playlist of one ready. Guess who the featured artist is—Kelly Clarkson, obviously.The Grammy winner is one of the busiest artists in music, bouncing between TV sets, animated films, recording studios and award shows without missing a beat. Literally. Consistency, thy name is Kelly. Not only has Clarkson released some of the biggest pop songs of the past two decades, she’s also earned herself the unofficial title of Cover Queen. If Kelly Clarkson doesn’t cover a song, can it still be considered a hit?Listing our favourite Kelly Clarkson covers was no easy feat, but the best part of a Kellyoke track is that there are no bad ones. We looked. There aren’t.

15. “Dreams,” The Cranberries

Clarkson embodies the strength and the vulnerability needed to deliver The Cranberries' “Dreams,” bringing her own hopefulness to the song made famous by the late Dolores O’Riordan. Clarkson’s cover is pure joy, breathing new life into the timeless track.

14. “The Story,” Brandi Carlile

There are approximately two people in the world who can sing the Mount Everest of a song that is Brandi Carlile’s “The Story.” Those people are Brandi Carlile and Kelly Clarkson. Full of highs and lows and nowhere to hide, the song is frequently performed by other artists, but few have brought the power and emotion that oozes out of Clarkson in her performance.

13. “O Holy Night,” Adolphe Adam

In 2018, Clarkson and her Voice co-coach Jennifer Hudson teamed up to perform the holiday classic “O Holy Night.” We loved seeing the two powerhouses sharing the spotlight and giving a masterclass on harmonizing. A great Christmas present would be a holiday album from the women together. Just putting it out into the universe.

12. “Fancy,” Reba McIntire

The pressure was on when Kelly Clarkson appeared at the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors. Clarkson lived up to the task of performing her step-mother-in-law’s bravado-filled track “Fancy.” The popstar’s nerves can be felt the moment she walks on stage and the display of vulnerability is a nice reminder that even the best singers in the world still get nervous. Delivering a pitch perfect and powerful rendition, Clarkson’s sassy performance managed to unstuff a very stuffy theatre. Kelly cried, Reba cried, and we may have even spotted Lin-Manuel Miranda getting a bit teary in the audience.

11. “Jealous", Nick Jonas

Before Clarkson and Jonas were coaches together on The Voice, Clarkson hit the impossible high notes on the Jo Bro’s 2014 solo single “Jealous.” First performing the song in concert, Clarkson again put a sultry spin on the track for a segment of Kellyoke before she and Jonas teamed with their fellow Voice coaches John Legend and Blake Shelton on Season 18 of The Voice.

10. “Make You Feel My Love,” Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and Adele have all enjoyed sizeable hits with the ballad “Make You Feel My Love” and in 2019, Clarkson put her own mark on the romantic track. Teaming up with Ben Platt for an original arrangement, the pair turned the solo song into a duet. You better sing, Kelly and Ben!

9. “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

During Clarkson’s 2019 Meaning of Life Tour, the popstar performed covers for the VIP ‘A Minute + A Glass of Wine...Bar Experience.’ During her stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Clarkson covered the Oscar-winning “Shallow” from A Star Is Born and talked about the first time she met Lady Gaga. “I remember her first single, we actually did a show together for some event and she is the only artist who has written me a handwritten letter saying ‘thank you so much, it was an honour to open for you.’ She was the nicest human being ever,” said Clarkson, adding “It’s cool to know that someone who is that talented is also really nice.” Clarkson stuck close to the original, belting out the song's massive notes and making Mother Monster proud.

8. “Someone Like You,” Adele

During her 2012 show in Brisbane, Clarkson announced that she would be taking cover song requests through social media as a way to make every show special for the audience, a traditional she’s continued. After multiple requests and multiple avoidances on Clarkson’s part, she finally decided to take on Adele. “It’s very hard to cover people that are rad,” said Clarkson of the British popstar. “Hope I do it justice and I don’t suck.” Going from a quiet delivery to a full-blown rock show, Clarkson was rad and did not suck.

7. “All I Ask,” The Phantom of the Opera

In 2015, Josh Groban released Stages, his seventh studio album. Consisting of covers of songs made famous by Broadway musicals, Groban invited his close friend Kelly Clarkson to perform a duet of the track “All I Ask” from The Phantom of the Opera. Kelly Clarkson, future EGOT winner.

6. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” Frank Loesser

There are many reasons to cringe during the holidays, but outdated lyrics for the winter classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is no longer one of them. Thanks to Clarkson and John Legend’s revamped cover, the classic tune is now a holiday hit post #MeToo. Still a bop, no longer icky.

5. “Dancing On My Own,” Robyn

During her 2019 tour stop in Dallas, Texas, Clarkson performed the ballad version of Robyn’s 2010 single “Dancing On My Own,” adding more ache and pain to Calum Scott’s 2016 Brit Award-winning cover. At least, we think the cover is great. It’s difficult to hear over all the (our) sobbing.

4. “Seven Nation Army,” The White Stripes

After so many years of releasing incredible covers, it’s understood that there’s no genre Kelly Clarkson can’t easily step into and put her own spin on. Case in point, the popstar has taken on The White Stripes' “Seven Nation Army” several times in concert, but performing the rock track on her daytime show while being backed by the USC Marching Band goes down as our favourite.

3. “Run To You,” Whitney Houston

Kelly Clarkson’s years spent in front of the camera being a charming and relatable popstar have helped earn the singer her own TV show, a spot coaching on The Voice, several hosting gigs for major award shows and millions of fans around the world. It’s this approachable quality that often gets Clarkson left off the diva list. To be clear, she’s a diva. Sang, gurl.

2. “Be Careful/Better Now/Ex-Factor,” Cardi B/Post Malone/Lauryn Hill

At Clarkson’s 2019 tour stop in New York, her work as an arranger was at its best when she effortlessly weaved between Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” and Cardi B’s “Be Careful,” which samples the 1998 Hill single. Adding even more difficulty, Clarkson threw in Post Malone’s “Better Now” for a triple cover that highlights the best moments from three incredible songs.

1. “Express Yourself,” Madonna

If we’re talking about Kelly Clarkson’s best covers, it feels incomplete to have a list that doesn’t include the cover that began Clarkson’s career. Cool beans. Score.
[video_embed id='-1']Before you go: How Kelly Clarkson ruined ‘Frozen’ for her daughter[/video_embed]

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