American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson is the undisputed queen of covers. She consistently borrows other artists’ songs and puts her signature spin on them, often producing something even better than the original. Sure, Clarkson writes plenty of her own songs, too, but for now, let’s celebrate her ability to absolutely crush a cover.
Here’s an assortment of 15 of her best covers, beginning with a recent ’90s throwback.
1. “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC
Oh man did the crowd go nuts for this one, which was a special fan request in Buffalo, N.Y. “This is a throwback to our junior high days,” she said, “and a lot of people in our crew are very excited about this.”
2. “Stay” by Rihanna
She performed her take on Rihanna’s emotional song at a show in Pittsburgh.
3. “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna
Kel is clearly a big RiRi fan — and we’re so glad.
4. “Jealous” by Nick Jonas
“I’m so excited to sing this song because I love this guy,” she told the crowd at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
5. “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman
Proof that Clarkson really should be singing more R&B.
6. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
Clarkson turned Swift’s ultra-poppy forget-the-haters anthem into a more of a gospel tune.
7. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
“I love this song, and I know you’ve probably heard it a bunch, but just bear with me. I love it,” Clarkson told fans in Charlotte, N.C.
8. “We Are Young” by fun.
At various shows in 2012 and 2013, Clarkson treated fans to her spin on this popular tune.
9. “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
The world did see you, Kel, and they did understand.
10. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
Is this Kelly Clarkson sing-rapping? Yes, yes it is. It went down at a show in Eminem’s hometown of Detroit.
11. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar
Her shiny jacket was the perfect accompaniment for this cover.
12. “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye
Another special request from a fan in 2012.
13. “No Scrubs” by TLC
“This is definitely my jam, I’m just saying,” she told the crowd in Bristow, Va. “This is gonna date me, and I know a lot of you aren’t even gonna know this song.”
14. “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Clarkson treated fans in Toronto to a slowed-down, jazzy version of this Taylor Swift hit.
15. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
At a show in Indianapolis, Clarkson put her spin on Miley’s 2013 hit.