Kelly Clarkson – “My Country Tis of Thee” – Obama Inauguration (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Watch Kelly Clarkson sing a POWERFUL version of “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” at today’s inauguration of American president, Barack Obama, for a second term.

Obama looked to be in a total state of rapture while he listened to her sing. Fabulous and perfect. Kelly performed right after Obama delivered his 2nd inaugural speech.

After, Kelly tweeted, “Wow ….I was incredibly nervous and cold ha! I just wanna officially thank President Obama for opening for me haha! Just kidding :)”

Beyonce sang The National Anthem, but it was a bit of a letdown after Kelly killed it. James Taylor crooned a sweet version of America The Beautiful after Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in.

Watch the performances below:

Kelly Clarkson – My Country Tis of Thee

Beyonce – National Anthem

James Taylor – America the Beautiful

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  • alonzo7

    Holy Moly-I was awed by her performance-so was the speaker-she was totally great and cute-bet she was nervous-loved the President kissing her on her cheek.

  • ??EvHeaD??ozzy??

    Kelly just sings so effortlessly it’s unbelievable… One of the voices of our generation

  • Robert

    That was incredible under normal circumstances but to deliver that kind of performance on that kind of stage is extraordinary.

  • BostonCookie

    And with that performance alone the show is justified. ;)

  • Landon Cox

    Her little fangirl moment was so adorable. I tweeted her if she wanted to hang out and talk about our hometown in Burleson while she’s in DC today lol

  • Kobe

    As Senator Schumer said – “WOW!” That was just an amazing superb performance.

  • Van

    So proud of Kelly!!! Such an amazing honor to be picked by the president to sing at his inauguration!

    Here’s a photo of Kelly and her fiance Brandon Blackstock arriving.

  • Bentley1530

    What is so great about Kelly is that she always rises to the occasion   A really wonderful, moving performance.  

  • Nicole P.

    Just amazing!

  • Valentin432

    That performance capped ten years of being awesome.
    Thank you Kelly.

  • Pixie Baker

    I was so proud of Kelly……amazing performance….amazing talent! I was so moved……..

  • 1rollbounce2

    I cried! 

  • Alexandre Oliveira

    jesus, that was tremendous

  • Li Wright


  • girlygirltoo

    That was fantastic. She must have been nervous, but she didn’t look or sound like it at all. Go Kelly!

  • vtu

    Loved Chuck Schumer’s “wow!” after she sang.  Totally deserved.  She did a wonderful job.

  • No Thanks

    American Idol needs to get on their knees and thank the Lord DAILY that Kelly Clarkson was their first Idol. Talent, personality, brains and just a good person all around.  YOU GO MISS KELLY!!

  • Lori

    Incomparable! No bells. No embellishments. Just a powerful singer performing a beautiful and extremely tasteful rendition. And she looked adorable.

  • No Thanks

    I loved how she approached the President and Vice President.  I half expected her to shout “Hey Y’all!”

  • Liteasy

    Do you know that she was chosen specifically by the President or a Committee?

  • ellen8

    I am in tears.
    An awesome moment w 2 of my favorite people.

  • alonzo7

    She was chosen by the committee-apparently the Chairman is a huge fan!!!
    Just read about it in an article online.

  • Van

     I read several news reports saying he picked all 3 music guests. :)

  • 1rollbounce2

    I love how she always does nicely doing an “Aretha” cover- or cover of a cover also done by Aretha.  :)

    Was it 3 in season1? 

    And funny greeting and exit…I think that’s her nerves speaking when she gets that way – and I love that about her!!!  I imagine “hey y’all” too! hahaha

  • potatorocks

    I am so glad I got to listen to it here.  Perfect.
    I listened to it originally on NPR and there were technical issues that made me think she had blown it.  I am sure most people watched on tv and heard this incredible performance as it was meant to be.

  • tierbee

    My mother called me and said “Did you see Kelly? She was amazing!” Love her. Fabulous.

  • Van

    Kelly, her music director Jason Halbert, and Marine Band arranger Staff Sergeant Ryan Nowlin did the arrangement for My Country Tis of Thee.


  • CB40

    From last year’s Super Bowl to this year’s Inauguration to her nightly “covers” during her concerts, Kelly’s proven time and time and time again that she is just INCREDIBLE. In my opinion, she’s the best live performer of this entire generation. 

  • Terry Ormiston Fowler

    She was superb.  I got teary-eyed too.  Well done Kelly.

  • Alexandre Oliveira

    good grief, Beyonce was superb too

  • girlygirltoo

    #Wow ….I was incredibly nervous and cold ha! I just wanna officially thank President Obama for opening for me haha! Just kidding :)

  • aj rabin

    She’s got talent and personality but I beg to differ about brains. After all she supported the lunatic Ron Paul and then went ahead and voted for the radical left wing president. But idol should be thankful for her as she legitimized the show in the very beginning.

  • justhoo1

    Kelly did a wonderful job today.  Who knew that a little summer replacement show would create such superstars that would be heard and known around the world.  Kelly did the AI franchise proud today.

  • 1rollbounce2

     hahaha classic picture of Kelly….I mean CLASSIC…
    sorry, just a link:

    that sums up why i love her!

  • girlygirltoo
  • kmd23

    So proud of Kelly. Great job.

  • No Thanks

    Just two girls from Texas having a gab fest.

  • IrisandLilies

    I never thought I’d ever say this, but I actually thought Beyonce’s performance was better than Kelly’s.  Beyonce was more low-key than I expected (i.e., she was very restrained in her use of runs).  To me, Kelly’s performance came across as a very divaish performance — it was more about her voice than the song itself.  However, I thought both Beyonce’s and Kelly’s performances paled in comparison to James Taylor’s.  That performance was simply heartfelt and beautiful and truly conveyed the message of the song “America the Beautiful.” 

  • Damien Roberts

    Am I the only one who thought all three performances were exceptional?

  • hellomusicgirl

    The whole inauguration was beautiful. Very well done by James, Kelly & Beyonce. The choir that sang was great too.

    Kelly has such a recognizable voice — the clarity and power is fabulous. Definitely one of my fav voices ever. And, to borrow a phrase from my grandma, she’s just cute as a button!! lol


    Loved Obama’s speech first and foremost. Kelly and Beyonce were both awesome, respect.

  • No Thanks

     They all did a wonderful job.  Hard to do considering the considerable pressure and the cold air.

  • Jake W.

    Both Kelly and Queen B were amazing.

  • MaxxS

    A pretty big honor for Kelly – especially ironic since she endorsed Republican Ron Paul.  I was disappointed that it seemed like she had her eyes closed most of the time – and was looking down at lyrics.  But this is an incredible moment (like this) that lives on in history.  Glad she didnt flub…and reassuring to see folks like Kelly, Beyonce, James Taylor who actually can sing live…so rare for the top pop stars of the day

  • MaxxS

    wonder what wouldve happened to tamyra gray if she had won.  From what I remember she had a great voice too but maybe lacked some in personality – too bad she never made it

  • DaisyMagnolia

    Beyonce sang The National Anthem, but it was a bit of a letdown after Kelly killed it.

    I have to disagree with this.  Beyonce did a great job, incredible control throughout, and there was no letdown.  All the singers/musicians were wonderful.  I was impressed with all of them.

  • Liteasy

    I’m not watching – just want to see Kelly’s performance, and thanks to MJ I can do that.

  • jan


    especially ironic since she endorsed Republican Ron Paul

    Kelly endorsed Ron Paul in the Republican primary. She endorsed President Barack Obama in the general election.

    Kudos to Kelly for doing a great job – what a fantastic year she is having!

  • Miz

    The sound on these clips is much better than the TV station I was watching. The camera angles seem better too.

    I was sadly disappointed with James Taylor. I guess it was due to the cold and less than ideal acoustics. (I’m watching him do commentary on NBC now)

    I thought Kelly started out a touch rough, but turned it around quickly. She was stunning. What a tremendous honor to be asked to sing at the inauguration. I’m cracking up over her tweets.

    Beyonce was great too.

  • sdmama

    Looks like I am minority here, but I loved James Taylor the most, which is a shocker because I am not a fan. With just a guitar, he sounded so solid and tender and it was fantastic and moving. 

    I love Kelly, but am I the only one who thought she started out a little weak and shaky during the first verse?  Of course, once she passed that, she was fabulous! Regardless, anybody should get a huge applaud for performing so well on such nerve wrecking situation in bitter cold.

    And I need to point out, that was the champ from American Idol, not Voice, not X Factor, not America Got Talent. ;)  Kelly Clarkson Rocks!

  • mjsbigblog

    I think Beyonce makes great records. I’m not a big fan of her voice, if that makes sense. #myopnion.

  • Chicagolaw

    Kelly was awesome! What an amazing opportunity.

  • CB40

    LOVE this pic — awesome! 

  • alonzo7

    Thought Kelly was awesome as I stated but thought Beyonce and James Taylor were also great-Kelly is such a dork-so cute!!

  • abbysee

    Kelly is amazing! Just exquisite! Beyonce’s anthem was pretty. James Taylor’s spare America The Beautiful was very touching! Wonderful performances!

  • justmefornow

    No, you’re not the only one.
    I saw it live on TV. She started out very shaky in her lower register, but recovered nicely when she hit her mid range. Some of her high notes towards the end sounded somewhat shrill on my TV, but over all very solid job.

    Not a fan of Beyonce, but on my TV she actually sounded better on the NA.

  • Bentley1530

    Just heard JT say that he asked if he could sing ATB (instead of one of the other 2) because he had been singing it at many campaign events and felt very comfortable with the arrangement he had worked up.  It really was a lovely performance.  

  • Liteasy

    P2’s Home was performed also:

  • Lynn DiResto

    This is why Idol is the best reality show on TV. Many great singers got their start on that great show. I just wish Simon was still on. He always told the contestants like it is. KELLY CLARKSON IS THE FIRST AND THE BEST IDOL

  • elliegrll

    Amazing performance by Kelly.

  • curly_yenta

    I’m totally with you.  I could have listened to James Taylor all day and I enjoyed his performance FAR more than Clarkson, who sounded pitchy at the beginning.  I also thought she sounded shrill, whereas James was his usual understated self.  Very beautiful.

    Beyonce did a good job.

  • RockiDreams

    Kelly wasn’t shaky at all.  She was sheer perfection.  How I lucked out to catch her performance without watching the rest is beyond me but glad I did.

  • Tinawina

    I thought so too. Overall it was a nice display of American excellence in the arts IMO. :) It was a lovely event.


    OT but watching the parade route carefully. My daughter is one of the Navy personnel on the way. So proud, but haven’t spotted her, lol.

  • jpfan2

    Idol should be proud. It was amazing to see Kelly sing on this important day.

  • B

    “Wow” is right…!

  • DaisyMagnolia

    Fair enough.  But your original statement came across as a putdown of Beyonce (albeit a very mild one) when, IMO, all the singers did great.  They should all be proud of how they presented themselves today!  :-D

  • heartly

    I’m going to be a little all over the place with my comments…

    – I thought the whole ceremony was very nicely done.  I was so nervous for Kelly because she’d been talking about doing a new arrangement of the song and was worried how that would come off.  Why do I worry?  Nailed it. So very typical of Kelly to get all giddy afterward.  lol

    – Did we go back to 2002 where both Kelly and Justin Guarini were trending on twitter at the same time?

    – FINALLY got a cute new photo of Kelly and her man, only took 11 months.  And then this one amuses me for many reasons.  Would love to know what was being said here. 

  • standtotheright

    My opinion is that all three singers started out a little shaky and then smoothed out their performances by the end. Which is an entirely natural consequence of singing to 750,000 people when the ambient temperature is 38 degrees.

    They should be proud of what they accomplished.

  • 1rollbounce2

    Hey, the 49ers started out shaky yesterday – look what happened to them!

    I loved it and Kelly the most.  I am also not a huge fan of Beyonce’s voice so can relate to the letdown feeling.  And James was not the James of 35 years ago but really great nonetheless. 

    No Aguilerra missed words or Hudson oversinging…so it’s all good!

  • Caro3278sweet

    Kelly sings everything like she really MEANS it. Sure, she’s got a great voice, and lovely phrasing, and she’s cute as a button. But…

    She makes me say, oh yeah babe, when she sings Mr. Know It All. She made me say, oh yeah, when she sang RESPECT on AI, and she made me cry today.

    This is the key, IMHO, for an artist – any artist – singer, writer, painter, on and on.

    You must move me. Please.

    And that’s heart. Not talent or pitch or writing or paint. Or maybe it’s all above mixed with the essential.


  • Larc

    Sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree a bit here.  Patriotic songs performed for solemn occasions such as Presidential Inaugurations are not appropriate vehicles for vocal gymnastics that all but make the song’s melody unrecognizable, IMO.  With another song for another occasion, Kelly’s treatment would have been great.  She did a good job overall, but I think it would have been even better if the song had been pitched down about a step.  Some of her high notes sounded a little strained.

  • HopeForMusic

    I thought that Kelly was magnificent, and probably the only one who could have done that song.  When the music intensified toward the end, she managed to keep up with it without getting screechy or shrill.  What an amazing time for Kelly, and I agree that she is a perfect “first” Idol.

  • CB40

    Kelly did NOT start out shaky. She just started softly so she could build to that crescendo at the end. It was AWESOME!

  • Lucie Laniel

    OMG Beyonce is the most beautiful woman and such an amazing singer. IMO the star of the 3 singers.

  • Lucie Laniel

    good grief, Beyonce was superb too

    And I might add, her stage presence is comparable to none.

  • milwlovesadam

    Wow. Just wow. All three were wonderful. But, gotta say, Kelly was simply fantastic. That is such a hard song to sing, kudos!!

    Always love a chance to see sweet baby James. Never disappoints.

  • Beaugard Stevens

    I love Kelly, but that was ……. odd.  She didn’t seem in time with the arrangement, it was strange.  She hit the notes, but there were times the melody seemed lost.  I didn’t like Beyonce, it has grown very tiresome these singers trying to compete with Whitney Houston’s performance on this song.  Whitney was a boom and a curse for the National Anthem.  It was perfection, but ever since she did it, singers have tried to do it like her- and always come up short.  You can’t recreate that magic the same way, it has to be done differently.

  • Jenna

    She didn’t change it that much, it was a pretty straightforward rendition imo, she just has an exceptional voice, but she used it tastefully, it’s not like she added endless trills… And I felt the changes she did make (particularly her phrasing) actually emphasized the lyrics more and really brought out the emotion of the song.

  • Jenna

    Shes a pretty immaculate technical singer but I tend to feel the same way, I often find her voice a little bland. Her NA was beautiful though

  • mtlfan2

    Kelly was great and so was Beyonce!!

  • windmills

    I really appreciated enjoyed all the musical performances at today’s inauguration, including and especially the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. James Taylor delivered as James Taylor does: simple and sincere. I couldn’t be happier for Kelly that she had this opportunity and delivered. Beyonce surprised me in that I’m not really a fan but I actually really dug her version of the anthem. The thing that I wound up appreciating most about Kelly and Beyonce’s performances, and I hope I can say this without taking away how they honored the US with their singing today, is the human elements they brought to it – their obvious nerves, Kelly’s relief when she was done singing, Beyonce’s wide smile as she reached the home stretch of the anthem. They were professionals but I loved that they showed that this meant something to them. It cut through the pomp of the ceremony and that was welcome. 

    On a side note, Richard Blanco’s poem moved me to tears and I was pleasantly surprised by President Obama’s speech. 

  • Kariann Hart

    James Taylor delivered as James Taylor does: simple and sincere.

    There is a comfort element to James Taylor’s voice.  I often feel like he’s here in my living room.  As people age, there voices change; however, often a great singer remains great.

    Kelly and Jennifer did American Idol proud.  I found myself rooting for them as part of my love for the show.  What a great honor to be part of history!

  • breakdown

    I thought Kelly was wonderful, Beyonce did fine, and James Taylor’s voice is still smooth after all these years. I couldn’t stand JHud but the only time I’ve liked her voice was in Dreamgirls.

  • lovetheusa1776

    Deeply admire any performer who has the guts and skills to perform our vocally challenging National Anthem on a cold January day – outdoors – in front of millions of people.  Whitney is often held up as the gold standard of NA performances, but one must remember that the performance the Super Bowl patrons and national audience heard was prerecorded.  Whitney sang/lip-synched to that recording.

    While I prefer other performances to Beyonce’s – Pia, Lambert, Durbin – she did an excellent, subdued version.  She’s also a beautiful, elegant woman and think she did herself proud.

  • LA944

    I enjoyed all the performances. My fave was James Taylor though. Of course, he is my fave artist. I don’t think he has lost  much off his honeyed voice–he will be 65 in March-and still sounds wonderful. Plus, it’s freakin cold here today. The reason why I respect an artist like JT so much is that he is a composer and lyricist-with a beautiful, distinctive voice and very good musician. He does it all. This guy actually put out 9 original albums in a 10 yr period 69-79. All wonderful too. He did a cover on each album–but the rest of the songs were written by him (very rarely any co-writer-if ever) No lyricist like Elton John, no group like CSN&Y or Fleetwood Mac with each member contributing a couple songs. All him. And since then he has put out a lot of other original work. He’s the best.

  • Sunny Mc

    Kelly was amazing as usual. Loved her coat! If anyone knows who make’s it, I’d love to know.

    Now does anyone think that song sounds like God Save the Queen?

  • heartly

    Now does anyone think that song sounds like God Save the Queen?

    Yep! Same song, different words.

    Looks like she got to go to the Ball tonight.  I’m actually a little surprised she finally tweet a picture of her and Brandon tonight. It’s been a crazy day on that front.

    Kelly Clarkson ?@kelly_clarkson
    Me and Brandon in our “fancy” attire :) Fun night!

  • Fan Dja

    Perfect sense.

  • lovetheusa1776

    Agree – James also sang “America the Beautiful” – a melody not only easier to navigate than our NA, but a song with lyrics of surpassing beauty.  Love his voice – Sweet Baby James.

  • revolution

    Agreed, Kelly was amazing and so was Beyonce…Kelly had a song she could go more places on…Beyonce took the national anthem as far as its tasteful to go.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I thought that all three performers gave wonderful performances! James is my favorite artist ever, Kelly just killed it, and Beyonce sang so beautifully. Diverse artists, all giving their best.

    “What is so great about Kelly is that she always rises to the occasion   A really wonderful, moving performance. ”

    You can always count on Kelly to deliver the goods in these high pressure situations. :)Some tweets about Kelly’s performance at the inauguration:Rolling Stone ?@RollingStone
    Watch Kelly Clarkson belt “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee’ at the Inauguration  #Inaug2013

    Miranda Lambert ?@mirandalambert“@kelly_clarkson: Me and B just hangin’ out ….don’t worry about it. Seriously, God did” what?! No fairHoda Kotb ?@hodakotb
    “AMAZING!!!! #gotteary xo @kelly_clarkson:@hodakotb thanks girl! I was so nervous :)”Maria Shriver ?@mariashriverWow, Beyonce! Her work brought her here, as didKelly Clarkson’s. Hard work pays off. Greatest country on earth.Reba McEntire ?@reba
    Great job @kelly_clarkson on singing today at the Inauguration! So proud of and for you!!!

    Andy Cohen ?@BravoAndyKelly Clarkson a tough act for a poet – or anybody – to follow!Sandra Bernhard ?@SandraBernhard#kellyclarkson gave us a little bit of black lady today honey prayerful and soulful quite beautiful!Jennifer Nettles ?@JenniferNettlesWay to go @kelly_clarkson !!! Beautiful job. Nailed it!!!The Fray ?@TheFrayDamn @kelly_clarkson. That’s how you do it. -BWBette Midler ?@BetteMidler”My Country Tis of Thee” never sounded better! Thank you @KellyClarkson and US Marine Band!BET ?@BETWOW! Kelly Clarkson kinda *kilt* that!!!!!!!#BETObamaMLK

  • fuzzywuzzy

    One of the few times I agree with Simon was when he said that American Idol was lucky to have found Kelly.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “Beyonce sang The National Anthem, but it was a bit of a letdown after Kelly killed it.”

    I didn’t feel any letdown. I thought that Beyonce’s rendition of the NA was really outstanding, and on par with Kelly’s performance.

  • hillstreetblooz

    ITA – thought Beyonce delivered a soaring version of the Anthem. Of course I thought Kelly was aces – she like Beyonce are 2 performers who can be counted on to rise to the occasion and consistently deliver the goods… I think she’s gonna put on a helluva good Superbowl show too. I predict Kelly will be doing the same in 5 years or less…

  • Miz

    Agree with you 100%

  • YaminaC

    Those of you wondering how Kelly got the gig –

  • Molly Weber

    Kelly’s performance gave me chills! She owned it.

  • guinness 416

    What age is James Taylor now?  He still sounds great, I would listen to him sing anything.  Three great performances really, it must be so tough with the weather and the lack of room on that stage and so on, three total pros who sounded amazing.  (Also did anyone think Diamond Joe Biden looked a bit upset he didn’t get a kiss from Beyonce like the Os did?)

  • Tess

    James and I are the same age…though he’s a few weeks older.  When the rest of you catch up to us you’ll figure out that age is only of concern to the young and inexperienced, when some of you think life would definitely be over, those of us at that age know that it is still just beginning.

  • Sassycatz

    According to this article, Beyonce may have been lip-syncing The Star Spangled Banner:

    Confirmed: Beyoncé Lip-Synced the Star-Spangled Banner

  • suenigma

     Just came in to post the same thing. I wondered to myself, but then she adjusted her earpiece and I was convinced that she must have been singing live. Ah well, she sounded good, and if it’s good enough for Whitney…It just makes you appreciate the guts and talent of the Idols all the more. If nothing else that show gives them balls of steel.

  • tucker davis

    So only American Idols are confident enough to sing live???? And people want to cancel this show? No way!

  • justmefornow

    lol. That would explain why she sounded better.
    Kudos to Kelly then for having the guts to sing live.

  • Tera2

    I saw that live and Kelly did a really good job.  I especially liked how she started the first half and gave it appropriate soul.  Kelly is so good at delivering emotional slow melodic songs with right amount of soul (like her rendition of Carrie Undewood’s “I know you won’t” which is perfect) She and Jennifer Hudson were great at the innuguration and represented Idol well.  And I like that Kelly said she ended up voting for Obama even if she was for Ron Paul in the beginning.  Also, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Leona Lewis are great diva singers to come out these shows – and Carrie Underwood too even if she’s pop/country.  I hope for more like them to be discovered. 

  • Jaejae1

    I’m late to this party but Kelly’s performance, just…wow. Really incredible.

  • Jaejae1

    As for Bey, still love her but I believe the lip sync story. There was this odd sort of doubling to the vocal that I didn’t hear with Kelly. I thought she sounded good but Kelly just sent that song to heaven.

  • CB40

    It’s never too late to join the party when we’re talking about Kelly’s sterling vocals :) 

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “Kelly Clarkson’s Inauguration Diary: From Photo-Bombed by President Clinton to Partying With Lady O”