Kelly Clarkson Brings Everyone To Tears During Her Incredible (And Final) ‘American Idol’ Performance

Kelly Clarkson made her return to the American Idol stage on Thursday to perform her latest single, “Piece by Piece.” When she was done, there wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium, Just Jared reports.

Clarkson, who became the first American Idol winner 15 years ago, showed everyone why she is regarded by many as the best Idol contestant ever. For one, she set a high bar for all contestants that came after her. Kelly Clarkson’s performance not only displayed her amazing vocal range, it was brimming with emotion. So much so that all three American judges were visibly emotional during the performance.. Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. were seen fighting back tears, while Keith Urban, bless his heart, openly wept. By the end of the song, Kelly Clarkson was barely able to contain herself as she finally succumbed to the tears.

The first American Idol champion opened up about the song “Piece by Piece” before the show started. According to her, it was a song about being left by her father as a child.

“I actually wrote it pregnant with my little girl and now I’m pregnant with my little boy,” Kelly told host Ryan Seacrest. “So if I don’t make it through and I start crying, just laugh. It’ll make me feel better.”

As she feared, Clarkson wasn’t able to contain her emotions, but she powered through the performance and was able to wow the audience with her immense vocal talent. Despite the visible effort to pull herself together, it was one of Kelly Clarkson’s best performances. At the end, everyone was overcome with emotion, and Kelly was seen weeping.

Clarkson’s heart-wrenching performance of “Piece by Piece” also brought tears to the eyes of American Idol frontrunner La’Porsha Renae, who Kelly predicted will win the competition after her incredible performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

“If I were you — which, I wish I were — every time I opened my mouth to sing, I’d just be like, ‘You’re welcome.’ It’s such a talent,” Clarkson told Renae after her performance “You’re gonna win. If you don’t win, I don’t understand. I love everyone here, but you’re so, so blessed.”

As popular as reality singing competitions are now, American Idol is the show that started it all. And one can say that it wouldn’t have taken off without the charming personality and the prodigious talent that Kelly Clarkson brought to the show.

While there were many great talents during the first season of American Idol, Kelly dominated the entire competition and wasn’t named in the “Bottom 2” even once. After winning it all, Kelly Clarkson became an instant success, with her first single “A Moment Like This” breaking the record for largest leap to the number one spot in the Billboard singles chart (from #52 to #1).

This wasn’t Clarkson’s first return to the American Idol stage since having won the competition more than a decade ago. She has appeared on the show numerous times, most recently last year when the FOX music competition staged a “Kelly Clarkson Night” in her honor. One of her most poignant return performances was her amazing rendition of Etta James’s “At Last,” the same song she sang during her audition in 2002.

With around seven weeks left in her second pregnancy, it’s highly unlikely that Kelly Clarkson will be able to attend American Idol‘s big finale in April. That could mean that her Tuesday performance is probably her last one on the American Idol stage.

Everything seems to be going well with Kelly Clarkson as far as her personal life goes. She married Brandon Blackstock in October 2013, and they had their daughter, River, in June 2014. With a boy on the way, it looks like Kelly Clarkson will be happily busy being a mother to two kids for most of the year.

[Image via American Idol/YouTube]