In 2002, Kelly Clarkson made history as the first-ever winner of the televised competition series, American Idol.
Clarkson enjoyed a fruitful year after her Idol win in 2002, and by 2003 she was still one of the hottest names in music. So it only made sense when she was invited to perform at the annual Christmas tree lighting in New York City’s Rockefeller Center that year.
You don't have to be in NYC to enjoy the Rockefeller tree lighting show https://t.co/g37ob3Vo9e
— TV Guide (@TVGuide) December 1, 2019
“O Holy Night” was the song Clarkson delivered during her performance. The traditional Christmas carol was composed in 1847 and set to the tune of a French poem, with its title translating to “Midnight, Christmas.”
The song has been recorded by artists of all genres, including country singers. You’ve likely heard renditions by some of your favorite artists, including Martina McBride, Luke Bryan, and another Idol alum, Josh Gracin.
Clarkson’s 2003 Rockefeller performance of the carol was one of her first times singing it, but definitely not her last. More recently, she performed the song as a coach during the Season 15 finale of The Voice in 2018.
She wasn’t alone for that performance. Jennifer Hudson, another past Idol contestant and Voice coach, joined her on the song.
Clarkson was under the weather at the time, but she powered through and delivered an outstanding performance with Hudson by her side.
Clarkson sure has come a long way since the earliest years of her career, hasn’t she?
Now that you’ve watched Clarkson’s more recent performance of “O Holy Night,” tune in to the below video to see her 2003 solo performance of the carol. It is magical in its own right, and is sure to give you goosebumps a time or two.
Clarkson’s talent is undeniable, and always has been. This holiday performance proves it.