The 2018 Kennedy Center Honors aired on Wednesday, Dec. 26, and one of this year's honorees was country icon Reba McEntire.
Among the artists on hand to pay tribute to the star was Kelly Clarkson, who delivered an epic performance of McEntire's hit "Fancy" that hit all the right notes and then some.
Wearing a red dress, Clarkson pulled her vocals back while delivering the song's storytelling lines before letting her power shine through for a series of knockout moments that had McEntire heartily applauding.
In addition to her performance, Clarkson, who is married to McEntire's stepson, gave a touching speech in which she thanked McEntire for supporting her.
"I've been a fan of Reba since I was a little girl," Clarkson began. "Her voice has always felt nostalgic for me, even as an adult. There's something about her tone and her storytelling that just feels like home."
"Sometimes when we meet our heroes it doesn't always pan out how you hope," she continued, "but meeting Reba, being friends with her and eventually becoming family has been one of the highlights of my life — truly."
"Thank you so much, Reba for listening to me vent as an artist," the American Idol winner told McEntire, becoming emotional as she spoke. "Thank you so much for comforting me on the phone through my tears like a friend and thank you for being a really rad grandma for my kids."
"I love you so much, I hope you enjoy this song," she concluded. "Don't judge me."
Clarkson also gushed about McEntire on the red carpet at the event, saying "She’s just a really cool, normal sweetheart. She’s always out to help others.”
Along with Clarkson, McEntire was honored by Lady Antebellum, Kristin Chenoweth, Brooks & Dunn, Bobby Bones and McEntire's Reba co-star Melissa Peterman.
After the special aired, McEntire used Instagram to share a photo of the standing ovation she received during the evening, writing, "I love you all for standing up for me!!!!"0comments
Along with McEntire, this year's honorees included Cher, composer Philip Glass, and jazz artist Wayne Shorter. The event originally took place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2. Actor and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and music director Alex Lacamoire were also given a special honor for their work on the groundbreaking musical Hamilton. The evening was hosted by Gloria Estefan.
Photo Credit: YouTube / CBS