Songs You Never Knew Kelly Clarkson Covered

Kelly Clarkson earned the title of "American Idol" after winning the inaugural season of the show in 2002. Since that iconic win, the singer has continued to excel in the music industry and beyond. Insider ranked her as the most successful winner on the show — and for good reason. A glance at her history on the Billboard Hot 100 reveals three number ones and 11 top 10 hits (via Billboard). She also has three chart-topping albums on the Billboard 200 (via Billboard).

Frankly, her solid-gold discography speaks for itself. Then there's the fact that everyone and their mother has tackled at least one Clarkson tune at some point in their lives. For instance, "Since U Been Gone" was reimagined several times over in the movie "Pitch Perfect" alone (via YouTube). While her discography is certainly iconic, Clarkson has proven it's not just her music that rises above.

She clearly possesses the pipes to take on just about any song. Seriously. Fans of the "Breakaway" singer already know she incorporated fan-requested covers into her concerts for years. She once referred to the tradition as her "favorite part" of the show and spoke to the variety of artists she's covered, from Katy Perry to Foo Fighters (via YouTube).

Of course, her history with covers extends back to "American Idol." However, she's delivered some of her most memorable ones during the Kellyoke segment on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." There have been so many greats, we're willing to bet you forgot some.

Kelly Clarkson introduced the Kellyoke segment with a Dolly Parton classic

There's no denying Kelly Clarkson is a pop juggernaut. However, she introduced the concept of Kellyoke and kicked off the first episode of "The Kelly Clarkson" by covering a country classic — Dolly Parton's "9 To 5" (via Smooth Radio).

While a typical cover on the show is delivered in front of a live audience, this one was different. Since it was a special occasion, Clarkson introduced the song with a music video, which brought the lyrics to life. The segment paid tribute to working women and showcased Clarkson's renowned charm. Then cameras cut to the studio where Steve Carrell introduced a live segment with a reference to his famous line from "Forty Year Old Virgin" (via YouTube). What a way to kick things off, huh?

This wasn't Clarkson's only Parton cover. She transformed the country legend's defining anthem "Jolene" into a heart-rending ballad on tour in 2015 (via YouTube) and reinvented "Hard Candy Christmas" for a 2020 episode of "The Kelly Clarkson Show" (via YouTube). Today noted that fans commended her modernized take on the decades-old number.

They've never performed together (we can still dream), but sources claim Parton offered Clarkson some support after she split from her husband earlier this year (via OK). Speaking of country covers ...

Kelly Clarkson covered fellow American Idol winner Carrie Underwood

Artists compete for the win on shows like "American Idol." That hustle doesn't end once the season is over, even if they take home first place. The music world is competitive, with a multitude of voices fighting to be heard, which means you won't always be friends with your peers. Take Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj for example; they developed a lasting feud while acting as judges on "American Idol" (via MTV)

Kelly Clarkson doesn't seem to have that problem. She shouted out fellow "American Idol" alum and country superstar Carrie Underwood with a Kellyoke cover in late 2019. Clarkson gave an electrifying rendition of Underwood's "Before He Cheats." And she owned it. Underwood clearly agreed. "Saaaaaaaaang, gurl," she enthused on Twitter.

The Carrie and Dolly covers aren't Clarkson's only country detours. She also covered "Rainbow" by Kacey Musgraves (via YouTube), "Sin Wagon" by The Chicks (via YouTube), "Something To Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt (via YouTube), "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack (via YouTube), and "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" by Shania Twain (via YouTube) among others. When are we getting Clarkson's country album again?!

Kelly Clarkson put her spin on classics by Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Cher, and Madonna

Longtime Kelly Clarkson fans remember her trying out for "American Idol" by singing Madonna's "Express Yourself" (via YouTube). She went on to reinterpret classics by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dione Warwick, and Celine Dion on the show. That was the first time we heard the hitmaker channel classic divas, but it wasn't the last by a long shot.

In fact, she's frequently paid tribute to the greats that come before her on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." She pulled out "Think" by Franklin on one of her earliest episodes (via YouTube) and later dusted off "Chain of Fools" (via YouTube) and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (via YouTube). Other divas who've gotten some love include the likes of Cher (via YouTube), Whitney Houston (via YouTube), Tina Turner (via YouTube), Etta James (via YouTube), Janet Jackson (via YouTube), and Cyndi Lauper (via YouTube). She even showed respect for former "Idol" judge Paula Adbul (via YouTube).

While Clarkson will sometimes make a song her own while covering it, that's not usually the case with the classics. Jason Halbert, Clarkson's music director, told Billboard that they typically stay pretty close to the source material in these cases. However, he revealed that the singer toyed with trying something unique for a cover of Madonna's "Borderline." Ultimately, she opted to stay true to the original, though (via YouTube).

Kelly Clarkson showed loved for bops by Adele, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Adam Lambert

Obviously, Kelly Clarkson knows a thing or two about covering the classics, but she's no stranger to putting her own spin on a contemporary banger, either. She has reimagined bops by many artists that she shares space with on the modern-day charts. Sometimes they stay true to the source material; other times she makes them her own.

For instance, Today noted that Clarkson reinvented Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" as a rollicking rock number (via YouTube). It seemed to be a real crowd pleaser. A take on "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" stayed closer to Adele's original recording (via YouTube). She also showed some love to fellow pop-rock "Idol" alum Adam Lambert with an impressive rendition of "Whataya Want From Me" (via YouTube).

Considering her massive pipes, Clarkson seemingly has no problem covering songs by other artists renowned for their belting. She effortlessly sang the soaring chorus of Sia's "Chandelier" (via YouTube) and transformed Harry Styles' "Watermelon Sugar" with an equally electrifying vocal take (via YouTube). What else? How about "Roar" by Katy Perry (via YouTube) or "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith (via YouTube).

Sometimes she'll even tackle a totally unexpected number. Take Lizzo's "Juice" (via YouTube). NME deemed the daring take "brilliant." The song went over so well that Clarkson later added "Good As Hell" to her repertoire (via YouTube). 

There have been several Britney Spears songs on Kellyoke

Kelly Clarkson's voice is a perfect fit for songs by many of her fellow pop belters, but is it also equipped for different vocal styles? The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Fans of both Clarkson and Sia may be aware that she covered the latter's breakout hit "Breathe Me," which is a somber ballad (via YouTube). While the song can really take off in the back half, the "Because Of You" siren delivered a restrained take.

Here's another prime example of her versatility: Their voices are as different as night and day, but Kelly Clarkson has certainly shown her love for Britney Spears and her discography over the years. She tackled the Princess of Pop's defining ballad "Everytime" on tour way back when (via YouTube). Spears dubbed the rendition "beautiful" on Twitter.

Several additional Spears songs have been featured on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." Clarkson took on her sing-along anthem "Till The World Ends" (via YouTube) and also showed us what "Toxic" would sound like in her hands (via YouTube). There's no denying that her voice sounded every bit as beguiling over the track's defining strings . Billboard went as far as to dub her take on the classic one of the 11 best Britney Spears covers of all time.

Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man got the Kellyoke treatment

It can't be easy to cover a song knowing that the artist who originally gave it life is listening along backstage. That's exactly what Kelly Clarkson did when she tackled Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man" in 2019 (via YouTube). The big-voiced diva did the jazzy bop justice. Thankfully Aguilera agreed when she hopped onstage for the interview. "I've always loved your voice," the "Fighter" hitmaker gushed (via YouTube).

The duo chatted about the industry and their similar experiences with Aguilera saying they were "like twins separated at birth" (via YouTube). While these soul sisters never hit the studio together, their careers charted a similar path. Both acted as judges on "The Voice" and dominated the charts over the years. The Los Angeles Times noted that they were part of a group of strong women who planned to headline Las Vegas residencies in 2020 (Clarkson's residency was delayed by COVID-19).

Clarkson seems to be a bona fide fan of the '90s pop princess. She's covered several other numbers on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" over the years. That included reimagined takes on her A Great Big World-assisted ballad "Say Something" (via YouTube), the "Blake Shelton duet "Just A Fool" (via YouTube), and a soulful "What A Girl Wants" update (via YouTube). 

Can we get her take on "Genie In A Bottle" next, please? Or what about Aguilera's rendition of "Miss Independent," since she co-wrote the song (via MTV)?

She's covered several other The Voice coaches including Ariana Grande and Gwen Stefani

Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson never overlapped as coaches on "The Voice." However, Clarkson has paid musical tribute to several coaches that she did compete against on the show. Let's start with her most current competition — Ariana Grande.

Before Grande joined "The Voice," Clarkson covered three of her songs. First up was her Jessie J and Nicki Minaj-assisted "Bang Bang" (via YouTube). Clarkson appears to be a fan of Grande's albums "Sweetener" and "Thank U, Next." She highlighted "No Tears Left To Cry" (via YouTube) off the former and "Imagine" (via YouTube) off the latter for the show. The ladies have since partnered up to cover Aretha Franklin's "Respect" on primetime (via Billboard) and recorded a festive duet for Clarkson's new Christmas album (via Billboard).

Clarkson also gave us her best Gwen Stefani impression a few times. We were treated to takes on Stefani's solo hit "Misery" (via YouTube), a collab with Eve (via YouTube), and a pair of perfect throwback No Doubt covers (via YouTube). Don't think Nick Jonas didn't get love. There are Kellyoke imaginings of "Close" (via YouTube), "Jealous" (via YouTube), and the Jonas Brothers' "Sucker" (via YouTube). Adam Levine and Blake Shelton's discographies have both also been featured on the show. If that alone doesn't highlight Clarkson's musical versatility, we don't know what will.

Covers of Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish prove Kelly Clarkson has her finger on the musical pulse

Is Kelly Clarkson daunted by the prospect of covering songs from an up-and-coming class of musicians? The answer to that is seemingly no. She had no qualms taking on teenage angst with a version of Olivia Rodrigo's breakout hit "Drivers License ” (via YouTube). She's also reinterpreted several of Billie Eilish's songs. ET noted that she changed one line of "Happier Than Ever," the title track to Eilish's sophomore album. Fans presumed that the decision may have served as a reference to her divorce proceedings.

Proving she has her finger on the pulse of the music industry, Clarkson bared her heart with a rendition of Tate McRae's heartbreaking viral single "You Broke Me First" (via YouTube). This is one of those times when we know exactly how an artist feels when they get the Kellyoke treatment. In a chat with ET Canada, McRae revealed that she didn't know the cover was coming and added that it was very affirming for Clarkson to take on the song.

Clarkson has covered several other songs of a similar style. For example, she morphed her voice to fit Julia Michaels' "Issues" (via YouTube), "Lose You To Love Me" by Selena Gomez (via YouTube), and even "Circles" by Post Malone (via YouTube). Clearly she can cover just about anything ...

Kelly Clarkson is 'afraid' to cover Despacito

Considering the fact that she's covered everyone from Dolly Parton, to Sia, to Justin Timberlake, you might think that Kelly Clarkson is fearless when it's time to pick a number to cover. That's because she mostly is. As it turns out, there is one song she is nervous to tackle. That would be Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber's chart dominating "Despacito."

"You have the one song in history I'm afraid to cover," Clarkson told Fonsi during an episode of "The Voice" (via Twitter). "I have practiced so hard because I love singing in Spanish or different languages. It's like the biggest song of all time. You're kind of like 'You know what, I'm gonna leave that one alone.'" Fonsi tried to convince her to sing the chart-topper, but the diva would not budge from her decision. And she hasn't yet; however, we still have hope that she'll try it one day.

Clarkson is right that "Despacito" was a massive force. In 2017, it tied Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" for the record for the longest-running number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (via Billboard). One song has since toppled both — Lil Nas X's oft-remixed "Old Town Road" (via Billboard). Maybe the "American Idol" baddie will give us a Lil Nas X cover in the future? 

Here's how the show pulls off a Kellyoke segment

Kelly Clarkson's longtime music director Jason Halbert told Vulture that the idea for Kellyoke stems from taking song requests on tour. He also said Clarkson graciously gave him credit for coming up with the idea. What a cool boss! How do they pull it off? It takes a lot of work, a solid understanding of Clarkson's voice, and, by the sound of it, a little luck.

The covers that make it on air are still largely fan-requested. Once a song is approved, Halbert cuts it down to a tight, minute-and-a-half runtime. After that, he'll record himself playing it on as many instruments as possible. Then the show's vocal director lays down a track for the band to rehearse and for Clarkson to use as a guide.

Halbert knows to expect the unexpected, such as a last-minute request on Clarkson's part to include a favorite part of the song. Other times she's never heard the song before (via Billboard). There's also discussion of how many artistic liberties to take with each number. As a rule of thumb, they tend to leave the classics — like Aretha Franklin — true to the original.

Clarkson typically records two songs each time she tapes. She gets both while in makeup, rehearses twice with the band, and then shoots in front of a live audience.