Kelly Clarkson kicked off season three of her syndicated daytime talk show on Monday (Sept. 13) with a rousing, star-studded tribute to New York. The singer seemed elated to be back in a studio surrounded by dancers and some special guests for the kickoff to a tw0-week celebration of the Big Apple.
“We love New York!” she crooned as the house band broke into a quick vamp in honor of the city and the camera panned to a spruced-up set featuring Kelly’s initials lit up in giant letters.
The episode launched with a musical celebration featuring DJ D-Nice, legendary Broadway star André De Shields (Hadestown), astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, cast members of the Moulin Rouge! musical, musical theater icons Kristin Chenoweth, Ben Vereen and Joel Grey and Bronx rap legend Fat Joe collaborating on Imagine Dragons’ “On Top of the World.”
Clarkson revealed that the cover was actually Chenoweth’s idea. “Kristin, I love you and your taste in music. Why do you love this song?” she asked, as Chenoweth ribbed the host about having “her” initials lit up on the set.
“I really wanted to say that I love Imagine Dragons and to try to find the right song … you look back in my history and Kander-Ebb wrote ‘New York, New York,’ which is ‘king of the hill, top of the heap,'” Chenoweth responded. “And this song reminded me of people coming together and being strong, and we as New Yorkers are coming back and that’s why I wanted to do it.”
Hometown hero Fat Joe agreed, saying, “I’m a proud New Yorker, and our city is just a city of hope and inspiration and resilience. Every time they try to knock us down, we always come back up with the help of all of America.”
And Clarkson was feeling on top of the world, pointing out the million-dollar view just outside the enormous windows behind her from the show’s perch inside the Jazz at Lincoln Center building. “I can’t tell you how amazing it it to have an audience filled with real life, in-person humans,” Clarkson gushed, doubling down on Fat Joe’s praise for the city that always gets back up.
“Sure we though the pandemic would be over … and it’s not,” Clarkson admitted. “So, that’s cool. But we’re in the city that doesn’t quit, and I love that, and I love the energy and we can all draw inspiration from New York, no matter what city you live in … I’m not saying that we’re going to ignore the realities of what’s happening around us, obviously. But we do want to celebrate the wins.”
And, Clarkson said, that celebration all starts now.
Check out Kelly Clarkson’s season three opening monologue below: