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The Voice Performance That Hit Close To Home For Kelly Clarkson Amid Divorce

Kelly Clarkson cries after a performance on The Voice.
(Image credit: NBC)

The Voice coaches Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton like to make fun of their co-star Kelly Clarkson for her over-use of the word “navigate.” She’s navigated a singing competition. She can navigate her team members’ journeys on the show. But there isn’t anyone who deserves to use that word more than Clarkson, who’s been navigating a messy divorce with Brandon Blackstock while holding down not one but two on-air TV jobs. Talk about compartmentalizing. 

And while she may sometimes appear to be a superhero in how she juggles all of her roles, the Voice coach and daytime talk show host is still human, and the emotions of everything going on in Clarkson’s personal life seemed to catch up with her on The Voice in the last round of Knockouts, as she broke down after John Legend team member Shadale gave an emotional performance of Shontelle’s “Impossible.”

The four coaches were on their feet for single mom Shadale’s performance even before she finished the song, where her voice cracked with emotion as she sang the final line. Kelly Clarkson said she needed a minute before giving feedback to the singer and her Team Legend opponent, Samara Brown. Clarkson spoke to Brown first, but her emotions caught her off-guard when addressing Shadale, and Clarkson paused for a moment as the audience encouraged her with applause:

Shadale, it’s such an important thing in the Knockouts to show us who you are and what you’re feeling, and I know at the very end, like… what? Okay. I know… Oh my gosh, that song, it’s really hard to tap into your emotions and still be able to carry the song, and I know at the end you got very emotional. It was just the perfect song choice, and, you know, I obviously connected to your message.

Even after John Legend announced Shadale as the winner of the Knockout, the "Because of You" singer continued to wipe tears away, later saying “Shadale shook me.” Check out the performance below (her song begins around the 2:30 mark), as well as Clarkson’s heartbreaking response:

Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock in June 2020 after seven years of marriage. For over a year, the two have filed lawsuits against each other and argued over their prenuptial agreement, property ownership, and custody of their two children. The Voice Knockouts probably weren’t where she would have chosen to have an emotional moment about everything that’s been happening in her life. However, the singing icon has been using music to get her through this difficult time for her family.

The singer recently released a holiday album that includes the song “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You),” all while recent reports indicate she and Reba McEntire’s son are not seeing eye-to-eye on how to handle Christmas with their children. Clarkson also used the “Kellyoke” segment of The Kelly Clarkson Show to work out some of her personal feelings, as she changed the lyrics to Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” in an apparent shot at her ex.

The Voice continues at 8 p.m. ET on November 2 for a “Road to the Live Playoffs” recap, with the Season 21 Live Playoffs premiering next Monday, November 8, on NBC. Check out our 2021 TV Schedule for premiere dates through the end of the year.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.