When you’re Kelly Clarkson, who’s going to tell you that you can’t be non-country at a country award show?
The first winner of “American Idol” remains one of the contest’s most mega-successful alumni — and to win that competition, she had to perform all sorts of music styles. She still does, as evidenced by her spot Sunday (April 7) during CBS’ telecast of the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
Her song “Don’t Rush” played more as an easy-listening tune at the ACMs, with a turquoise-clad Clarkson looking completely at ease singing it that way. Its roots are as a country song, though … to the extent that in its original incarnation on her “Greatest Hits: Chapter One” album, Vince Gill sings backup, and country veteran Dann Huff produced it.
The audience at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand was likely to accept “Don’t Rush” any way Clarkson wanted to do it, since Trisha Yearwood introduced her as “everybody’s friend.” After such other endeavors as her mentoring on last summer’s ABC contest “Duets,” it’s a pleasure to see (and hear) Clarkson get back to the pure business of being one of today’s top music-crossover superstars.
And with the happiness she’s also experiencing in her personal life these days — as the fiancee of Brandon Blackstock, Reba McEntire‘s stepson — there’s no reason Clarkson shouldn’t be having fun now. And it doesn’t stop with the ACMs: Thursday (April 11), she’ll be back where it all started for her, performing on FOX’s “American Idol.”
So, what did you think: Was Kelly country enough for the ACM Awards?