On Thursday’s episode of The Tonight Show, Kelly Clarkson told host Jimmy Fallon how she ended up singing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration — unknowingly choosing the same song Aretha Franklin performed four years earlier at his first.
“That’s like every time you sing a national anthem everyone always talks about Whitney Houston’s and it’s like, ‘Can you not compare me to her?'” said Clarkson, recalling her belated panic upon discovering the coincidence. “‘Like, that’s not fair.'”
Fortunately Franklin approved of her rendition, calling it “magnificent” and moving Clarkson to tears.
“I cried,” said Clarkson. “Not joking, I was in the studio making a record at the time and I bawled, ’cause I was like, ‘I’m done. I have succeeded.'”
Clarkson also gave a shoutout to charity Feeding America, which is trying to feed millions of children who no longer have access to school lunches due to the coronavirus lockdowns. “I was one of those kids that was poor and survived off [school lunches] a lot of times,” said Clarkson.