With all the fevered anticipation, there’s no denying that Beyonce‘s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at today’s Presidential Inauguration was the main event, but Kelly Clarkson more than delivered with a showstopping delivery of “My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee” — so much so, in fact, that when she finished, a dumbfounded Senator Chuck Schumer walked up to the mic and said simply, “Wow.”
And while Clarkson may have tweeted that she was “incredibly nervous and cold,” she overcame her nerves and impressed, well, everyone. Even the President. And definitely the critics. Read below to see what the reviewers thought of Clarkson’s performance.
:: Rolling Stone called Clarkson’s rendition “electrifying,” noting that she built up steam: “The singer looked meek early on but cracked a smile as she enjoyed the moment, then settled into a commanding groove soon enough, delivering a gigantic ending that left Senator Chuck Schumer in awe.”
:: Entertainment Weekly called Schumer’s big “Wow!” entirely “merited,” writing: “Clarkson, thoroughly charming as she scurried anxiously to the microphone, rendered a thoughly-in-command belting of ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee.’”
:: MTV called the rendition “heartfelt,” writing: “Wearing shades of purple, a color also worn by the President’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, the former “American Idol” dazzled with her version of the track, helping to celebrate Obama taking office for the second time.”
:: AOL Music wrote that she displayed “the pipes that not only won her the first American Idol but kept her famous for the dozen years since,” adding: “Clarkson took to the podium on the national mall first, looking out at the hundreds of thousands of people who had just heard President Obama’s moving inaugural address, and withstood the pressure of her opening act with an incredibly powerful rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.’”
:: Mother Jones, not usually a source on pop culture matters, wrote as an addendum to their political post: “Also: that was a helluva performance of America from Kelly Clarkson, wasn’t it?”
:: Spin wrote, “Kelly Clarkson began somewhat tentatively but ended on a commanding note in a performance of ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee.’” We’ll take it.