In the nineteen years since she won the first season of “American Idol,” Kelly Clarkson has become a seasoned performer who doesn’t get nervous before she sings. That’s why it came as a surprise to fans this week when she admitted that one recent performance had her feeling very anxious.

At the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., which is set to air on Sunday, Clarkson surprised with a beautiful rendition of his song “The Dance.” While talking to Brooks on her eponymous talk show, Clarkson explained that she chose the song after she found a deeper meaning in the lyrics after her split from ex, Brandon Blackstock.

“I was texting Trisha Yearwood before the show and then I go on stage and I saw them and like all of a sudden I am the sweatiest human on planet earth,” Clarkson said, according to Entertainment Tonight. “And I got a little nervous, and I don’t get nervous singing. Yep, I didn’t enjoy that!”

Clarkson went on to explain to Brooks why she connected to the song so deeply.

“I couldn’t quite nail down the feeling. I was, like, well, you don’t want to crap on it. Like, you don’t want to say that didn’t count or matter, but you don’t know what to put in it because it didn’t work out how you wanted,” she said. “And so, anyway, I kid you not, I was listening to my playlist and ‘The Dance’ came on and I was like, ‘No, that’s the thing. That’s it.’”

Clarkson announced a year ago that she was divorcing Blackstock, with whom she has two children. She’s been open about how difficult the divorce has been, and it remains ongoing at this time.

Brooks was one of many stars being honored at this event, with others being Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Dick Van Dyke and Midori.

“I’m already wishing I had a mask on so I could do this,” Brooks said in a preview as he became emotional and put his hand to his face. “And then the whole band kicks in. It’s just so pretty. That woman is a true friend to a song. She’s amazing.”

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