Self-empowerment themes! Gale-force vocals! Soft-rock guitars! That’s right, libertarian-leaning political pundit and upcoming The Voice mentor Kelly Clarkson was the musical guest on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, hosted by Weight Watchers spokesman/”scammer” Charles Barkley.
Making her third appearance on the show, the Texas dynamo performed “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” (maybe Kanye West can sue?) and “Mr. Know It All,” the two singles from fall’s Stronger. With her brown hair straightened and bangs covering her forehead, Clarkson wore a sequined purple top during the first song, wielding the microphone stand like a prop, before switching into a pink leopard-print dress and ditching the stand entirely on the second song. (Her keyboard player likewise switched from a keytar to a regular synth. Good move, bro.)
While it’s never been wise to underestimate her powerhouse voice, it’s still a bit unclear why ferociously belted songs about staying true to yourself should have to sound so much like the Wallflowers. Echoes of pre-industry-collapse rock one-hit wonders abound: “A Moment Like This,” meet “Hanging By a Moment”!
Don’t forget to check out where Stronger landed on SPIN’s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2011.