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Heidi Gardner Tells Kelly Clarkson How Her 2015 Song Got Her Cast on SNL: "Thank You"

"I have to thank you, because you are actually part of why I believe I'm on SNL," Gardner told Clarkson, detailing the key role "Heartbeat Song" played during her audition. 

By Christopher Rudolph

Saturday Night Live's Heidi Gardner is cracking Kelly Clarkson up piece by piece.

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The Saturday Night Live star, who has been a cast member since 2017, appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show on April 1. And while Clarkson gushed to Gardner about how much she loves her in sketches, Gardner revealed the critical role Clarkson's 2015 single "Heartbeat Song" played in helping her land SNL.

"I have to thank you because you are actually part of why I believe I'm on SNL," Gardner told the former The Voice Coach. "I was actually playing one of your songs during my audition. Not before to hype me up, you were playing while I was on the stage auditioning for SNL."

Confused, Clarkson asked, "Were you doing interpretive dancing or singing?"

"I was playing this crazed Mary Kay executive makeup woman giving a seminar, and every time I would hit a point I would then make eye contact with the audience start tracking across the stage while 'Heartbeat Song' was playing," explained Gardner, showing a picture of her dressed for her audition. "So it was like, ‘This is my heartbeat song.’”

RELATED: Why Kelly Clarkson Sang "All I Wanted Was Horses" While Performing "Breakaway" in 2005

Split of Heidi Gardner and Kelly Clarkson

How a Kelly Clarkson song helped Heidi Gardner crush her SNL audition

"Heartbeat Song" was the lead single off of Clarkson's 2015 album, Piece By Piece, becoming a fan favorite track. She even performed it live onstage with her daughter, River Rose, in August 2023 during her Las Vegas residency.

"I asked my 9-year-old girl, River Rose, ‘What song would you want to do on tour?’" Clarkson told the audience, according to American Songwriter. "She’s been jamming to this song since she was a baby. She loves this song so much.”

Later in her conversation with Gardner, Clarkson mentioned how being at SNL as a three-time musical guest, she'd seen some hilarious sketches get cut for time between dress rehearsal and the actual televised live show. Clarkson also had plenty of praise for Gardner's performances.

Josh Brolin and Heidi Gardner during a sketch on Saturday Night Live Episode 1858

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"There are so many funny people there, there's so much talent there. It's a hard job, they're hard hours. You're really good at it though, and you make us laugh," commended Clarkson. "The world can be really depressing and dark, so thank you for making us laugh!"