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NBC Insider The Kelly Clarkson Show

The Joyous Reasons Why Everyone Should Attend a Taping of Kelly Clarkson's Talk Show

Being in the audience at the Emmy-winning talk show is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe
Kelly Clarkson Covers Taylor Swift, Madonna, Aretha Franklin | Kellyoke Medley S4 Premiere

Going through life, if you're lucky enough, occasionally you'll have one of those "pinch-me" moments; those times when you're overcome with gratefulness and incredulity at your current situation. Recently, I experienced just that because of The Kelly Clarkson Show.

How to Watch

Check your local listings for The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Thanks to my associate editor position here at NBC Insider, I was given a ticket to the taping of the Emmy-winning series' Season 4 premiere. This meant for just a couple hours, I could take refuge from the rainy August day and find comfort with one of the country's biggest stars. And from the second I walked into the talk show's makeshift Columbus Circle New York City studio (it's usually filmed in L.A.) with views of Central Park, I understood why Clarkson—along with her production team—have managed to win over millions of Americans. 

The special ingredient that sets Clarkson apart from all the rest (and has resulted in many viral moments) is her contagious joy and relatability that the audience can't help but absorb. And speaking of, after a couple of hours in said audience, I am convinced that the show could not go on without the series' designated hype man, Rubin Ervin. Now, if you're watching from home, you probably don't even know Ervin exists. But from my seat looking out onto the brightly-lit set, he was hard to miss. 

Kelly Clarkson watching Garth Brooks perform on her set couch

Clad in a vibrant turquoise suit printed with The Kelly Clarkson Show's pink and purple logo, Ervin's sole responsibility is to warm up the audience for Clarkson's arrival. With the help of a mic and a ton of energy, he offers comic relief throughout filming, guiding and encouraging everyone sitting in their seats to loosen up and embrace their role as the ever-enthusiastic audience. Because as Ervin reminded us, the cameras were rolling, and there was a chance we could end up on TV ourselves. This means that every audience smile, clap, cheer, or whoop you see sitting at home was brought on by Clarkson, but further bolstered by Ervin's undeniable charm.

Now, let's get to what you've been waiting for: Kelly Clarkson. The Grammy-winner strutted onto the set in a whirlwind of black tulle, surrounded by lively backup dancers and belting out Taylor Swift's 2014 hit "Welcome to New York." Now, I'll be honest and say that it took Clarkson a few tries to get it right, largely due to her fabulous (and voluminous) skirt that made it difficult to conquer the stage steps. But she took it all in stride with a bright, genuine smile and joking with the audience in between takes as Makeup Artists and hairstylists hovered around her.

The Host blamed her slip-ups on having just gotten back from being off-the-grid all summer on her Montana ranch. (I'd just chalk it up to her being human.) But the re-starts also meant the audience heard a real-life Kellyoke multiple times. And let me tell you, there's nothing like witnessing the American Idol winner's powerful vocals in person. As she hit those seemingly impossible high notes that filled the room, I actually heard audience members gasp all around me. It was like we were at our very own private Kelly Clarkson concert—which made me even more excited for her upcoming 10th studio album.

Following a surprise appearance from this year's Emmys Host, Kenan Thompson, country legend Garth Brooks took the stage. Clarkson is known for her down-to-earth interview style, chatting to all of her guests as if they're old friends. This was no different, as the two reminisced about Brooks' biggest hits, favorite songs, and career highlights with a special "Songs and Stories" segment. Naturally, the two singers couldn't help but harmonize together. Clarkson—a self-proclaimed Brooks "superfan"—would jump in and sing as he played the guitar and cycled through tracks like James Taylor's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" and his hit, "The Change." (You should also check out their duet of Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind.") 

As filming wrapped and the lights went down and it was time to head back into the drizzly NYC streets, I found myself consumed with a couple thoughts, but mainly this: I better be pinching the hell out of myself because I'd just had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can too: To see about grabbing tickets yourself to The Kelly Clarkson Show, click here. 

And as always, check your local listings for tune-in information on The Kelly Clarkson Show.