Kelly Clarkson’s Top 5 Most Memorable Live Performances

We know firsthand how incredible Kelly Clarkson is live — we recently died and went to pop heaven checking out her Troubadour show — but that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the powerhouse vocalist has been delivering fierce and fiery performances her entire career. In celebration of her Stronger album release, we went back in time to find Kelly’s most memorable live performances, from her introduction on American Idol to her soaking, kick-ass number at the VMAs — we even included a whiskey-fueled performance she didn’t even plan! Check out our Top 5 below, and leave your favorites in the comments.

5. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” on American Idol Season 1, 2002
Kelly had more amazing American Idol moments than we can fit here — she didn’t win the show for nothin’, folks — but her cover of Aretha Franklin’s song might be her star-defining moment. (And that incredibly high belt at the end! You’ve still got our vote ten years later, Kelly.)

4. “My Life Would Suck Without You” for Radio 1′s Live Lounge, 2009
One of our favorite songs by the pop star sounds even better in this acoustic performance.

3. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” with Metal Skool, 2006
Kelly was wearing the preppiest outfit of all time when she was called to the stage to perform with heavy metal rockers Metal Skool (who now go by the name Steel Panther). But don’t be distracted by her conservative clothes – she is more than rock-n-roll enough to drink Chivas Regal whiskey straight from the bottle, then bust out Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (alongside her buddy Ryan Key from Yellowcard). The nipple-lick moment at 2:42 and her screeching “I LOVE METAL!” is particularly entertaining.

2. “Up To The Mountain” on Idol Gives Back, 2007
Kelly has returned to the Idol stage many times since winning the title back in 2002, and always delivered a phenomenal performance. But it was her cover of Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain” during Idol Gives Back in 2007 that really made us emotional.

1. “Since U Been Gone” at the 2005 MTV VMAs
Kelly, back in her blonde days, picked up two moonmen for her “Since U Been Gone” video. Her wet-and-wild performance is award-worthy, too — the pop star goes barefoot while busting out her ubiquitous single, and when water starts pouring over her and the crowd, we feel equally drenched in euphoria.

Do you agree with our #1 choice? Which performance did we miss? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

  • le

    “Beautiful Disaster” Live Version on American Idol .Kelly said it was a huge shame for not releasing it as a single.

  • Popservations

    Kelly’s performance of “Already Gone” on ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ in which she stripped away the Ryan Tedder production will always be a fave. She should have released this take as the single rather than the “Halo”-sounding original.

  • nat

    Agree with the ones posted
    would add stuff like that there on idol
    and I know you don’t (Carrie Underwood Cover) recently performed

  • nat

    oops I meant won’t

  • sasi

    You made great choices. I agree that the VMA performance is #1 because it was so freaking awesome! I would like to add Stuff Like That There from Idol and Already Gone at the AMAs. Kelly is so amazing live it is very hard to choose just 5. And Walk Away recently on Dancing With The Stars was epic!

  • Garrett

    Anyone else think at the 2005 VMAs kelly kinda looked (and acted) like Ke$ha?

  • mc

    How about the acoustic version of Behind Those Hazel Eyes on VH1, when she hits the “Anymore” note (at 2:38)?

  • HaleyBailey

    This is the best performance of her entire career. And she did it last Wednesday.

  • John

    I disagree with the author on the #1 performance. Number one should be her perfomance of Natural Woman in 202 on American Idol.

  • KiKi

    Up to the Mountain should absolutely be #1!

  • carly

    Um no.

  • carly

    My previous comment was to the “anyone else think at the 2005 VMAs kelly kinda looked (and acted) like Ke$ha?” comment. Just making it clear. :)

  • Mike

    Garrett, maybe you should say that Ke$ha acts like Kelly did at the 2005 VMAs since Ke$ha wasn’t even around then.. Just sayin’.