At Wednesday night’s 2018 CMT Music Awards, the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, ruled the stage with a soulful rendition of the iconic song “American Woman.”
“This artist is the definition of an American Woman — she’s strong, she’s confident, and man, can she sing,” said radio personality Bobby Bones as he introduced the Grammy winner.
Backed by an all-female gospel choir and a rock band, Clarkson powerfully belted out the song for the first time in front of an audience.
It was also the pop singer’s very first performance at a CMT Music Awards ceremony.
Trying to be a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, she wore a black dress with fringes, sequins, and lace to sing the tune that is now being considered a female-empowerment anthem.
Clarkson was asked to record “American Woman” to serve as the theme for a new Paramount Network TV dramedy of the same name.
The series is loosely inspired by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards’ childhood. She is a co-executive producer of the 1970s-set show, which stars Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari, and Jennifer Bartles. American Woman premieres Thursday, June 7, at 10 p.m.
“When we started building the marketing campaign for the show, we were instantly drawn to the iconic song that’s the namesake for the series,” said Laura Kane, the Paramount Network’s creative director, to The Wrap.
“We saw an opportunity to connect the ’70s, which in many ways was the second-wave of feminism, with the female empowerment movement of today by reclaiming the song with a strong and powerful female voice,” she continued. “Kelly Clarkson was our first choice, and we couldn’t be prouder.”
“I was pretty excited when Paramount came to me with the idea of cutting ‘American Woman,'” Clarkson said in a video posted on YouTube featuring footage from the song’s recording.
“I kinda got together with Jason Halbert, the producer of the song, and we wanted to create this moody kind of vibe… that kind of ’70s classic sound,” she explained.
“We felt we wanted to represent ‘American Woman,’ and the whole lyric of it, and just the strength, and the boldness, and the powerfulness that I feel American women exude.”
The 36-year-old walked the red carpet at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena in a long black gown crafted from two different fabrics — and featuring a sexy thigh-high slit — from designer Alex Perry, according to E! News. Oversized diamond earrings added some sparkle to her ensemble.
“American Woman” was written by the band The Guess Who in 1969. In 1999, Lenny Kravitz famously released his own rendition of the tune.
Watch Clarkson’s CMT Music Awards performance of “American Woman” below.