Kelly Clarkson, the season one winner of American Idol, could barely hold her composure when returning to the show on Thursday night to perform the title track from her new album, Piece By Piece.
The moving performance brought the audience and contestants to tears. Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. looked utterly distraught while country superstar Keith Urban was on the brink of completely bawling.
Clarkson herself had to pause several times, apologizing for becoming so emotional. It really was a full-cycle moment, Clarkson singing of her incredible life on that stage that made it all happen.
A self-penned message of retribution, “Piece By Piece” addresses the sensitive subject of Clarkson’s father abandoning her. She praises her husband Brandon Blackstock for restoring her faith in men for his compassion manner and loving parenting. She also speaks of her own parenting with daughter River, singing how she could never imagine leaving her child.