Just days before she was set to take the stage as an official inductee into VH1's Diva Hall of Fame, Kelly Clarkson performed for a much different crowd in L.A. Instead of looking out into a sea of industry people when Clarkson took the Jimmy Kimmel Live stage last night at Hollywood & Highland to perform a mini concert as part of the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush Groove outdoor concert series, she was greeted by smiling, cheering, and downright screaming fans.
This was an audience that had been warmed up Samsung Summer Krush Opening Act Competition winners The Lives of Famous Men, a band of five young men from Anchorage Alaska. They performed three of their original songs as the Jimmy Kimmel Live crew tweaked lights and ran camera tests around them. This was their very first television appearance.
Clarkson took the stage just before 8:30 pm in Babylon Court, following in another, earlier, Diva's footsteps with this performance, as just last year Mariah Carey graced the same spot to sing fan favorites from her last album, E=MC2. But the excitement might have been even greater for Clarkson, whose fans were buzzing all evening about her blog post reaction to Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's VMA acceptance speech. Clarkson, who wondered if West wasn't hugged enough as a child, wrote: "It’s absolutely fascinating how much I don’t like you. I like everyone. I even like my @$$hole ex that cheated on me...The best part of this evening is that you weren’t even up for THIS award and yet you still have a problem with the outcome. Is winning a moon man that much of a life goal?? You can have mine if it will shut you up...I was actually nominated in the same category that Taylor won and I was excited for her…so why can’t you be??" Very well said, and last night her vocal talent was in just as high quality.
Although Mariah Carey, in the summer before Clarkson, only performed five songs, Clarkson stayed around for a whopping thirteen, thrilling and surprising the large crowd. She opened the night with a newer rendition of an old favorite, "Miss Independent," and then broke into the ballad "Already Gone" for the Kimmel and other media cameras. Unfortunately for Kimmel, there was a technical glitch-- but the fans were thankful because it meant they got to hear "Already Gone" for a second time. This is what happens when a normally live show pre-tapes a segment; suddenly everything that can, does go awry!
Clarkson got the crowd jumping and singing along to "I Do Not Hook Up," her final song for Kimmel and the media. However, she stuck around for another ten songs for the fans, including "Never Again," "Behind These Hazel Eyes," "Because of You," and a version of "Walking After Midnight" that should put last season's Idol contestant Megan Corkrey to shame.
Taking only one sip of wine early on in the evening, Clarkson performed for just about an hour, offering fans and Hollywood & Highland patrons for free for what many often pay close to one hundred dollars. Clarkson encouraged fans to sing along to choruses of her hits
and then closed the night with another aerobic-heavy performance of "I Do Not Hook Up"-- though earlier in the night she had joked that she hoped she didn't have to do that number again-- and her earlier classic, "Since U Been Gone."
Clarkson never let the energy falter once during the night, even when singing the sad songs (like "Cry") she admitted she likes to write because "sometimes you just need to vent, you know?" The bar was set pretty high last year for the future of the Summer Krush Groove series, but Clarkson jumped over it as easily as she jumped around on stage all night. What/who could possibly match this next year???