Country legend Garth Brooks teared up as Kelly Clarkson performed his classic song, “The Dance” as part of the Kennedy Center Honors Sunday night (June 6).
The song holds a special place in the OG American Idol winner’s heart, as she told Garth when he visited her The Kelly Clarkson Show last year. She spoke about how the song helped her through her divorce from estranged husband Brandon Blackstock.
“So I’m going through a divorce and there’s been like a lot of books and people always give you stuff to help, especially when you have kids and stuff,” Kelly said at the time. “And there’s so much shame and guilt.”
“I couldn’t quite nail down the feeling,” she continued. “Like you don’t want to crap on it, like, you don’t want to say that [relationship] doesn’t count or matter, but you don’t know what to put in it because it didn’t work out like you wanted. So, anyway, I kid you not, I was listening to my playlist and ‘The Dance’ came on. And I was like, ‘No, that’s the thing. That’s it.'”
Kelly’s rendition of “The Dance” was so emotional and heartfelt, that Garth himself teared up as he sat in the audience with his wife, Trisha Yearwood. James Taylor and Gladys Knight also performed in tribute to Garth, while Bradley Cooper, Jason Aldean, John Travolta and Wayne Gretzky served as special presenters.
The 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors also celebrated Joan Baez, Debbie Allen, Dick Van Dyke and Midori in a two hour special that aired on CBS Sunday night (June 6). Paula Abdul (Allen), Derek Hough, and Pentatonix (Van Dyke) and more participated in special tributes.
Watch Kelly Clarkson’s FULL performance of “The Dance” on The Kennedy Center Honors below.