The Grammy-winning pop star stood center stage and praised McEntire as one of her music idols. She also thanked her for being a “rad Grandma” to her children. Clarkson said, “I’ve been a fan of Reba’s since I was a little girl. Her voice has always felt nostalgic for me. Even as an adult, there’s something about her tone and her storytelling that just feels like home.”
She added, “Sometimes when we meet our heroes, it doesn’t always pan out how you hope. But meeting Reba, being friends with her and eventually becoming family has been one of the highlights of my life.” She became emotional while thanking McEntire for listening to her vent as an artist and comforting her through her tears.
Clarkson then performed a spectacular rendition of “Fancy,” McEntire’s Billboard Top 10 hit that was featured on her album Rumor Has It. Her version of the Bobbie Gentry track would go on to become one of McEntire’s signature hits and was also part of an Iggy Azalea mashup in 2014.
McEntire watched her daughter-in-law’s performance from her balcony seat with a big grin, clapping for her. A camera pan in the audience also found “American Idol” alum Adam Lambert grooving along with the song.
The Kennedy Center Honors recognize members of the performing arts for their lifelong artistic contributions to American culture. Reba McEntire was one of five honorees this year including Cher, Philip Class, Wayne Shorter and the “Hamilton” musical.
Dubbed “The Queen of Country,” Reba McEntire’s prolific career has spanned more than four decades. She’s a three-time Grammy Award winner and has won 16 ACM Awards out of 47 nominations. She’s a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among many other accolades. She hosted CMA Country Christmas this year.
Watch Kelly Clarkson’s performance of “Fancy” at the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors above and stay tuned to AXS for Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire updates.