Kelly Clarkson had trouble keeping it together at the 2006 Grammys.
At just 23 years old, the singer was nominated in two categories: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Since U Been Gone" and Best Pop Vocal Album for Breakaway. She won both awards, making her the first American Idol winner to earn a Grammy. To top it off, Clarkson performed the ballad "Because of You" during the show—but that's not why she was on edge.
Clarkson shared her story for the first time on Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast.
"Well, not many people know this—not to be a Debbie Downer—but I was told that morning that I had cancerous results for something. Here's the horrible part: I went the whole day crying. They redid my makeup like four times because I was like, 'Wow, so young.' I was just completely freaking out," the singer revealed earlier this week. "Then when I won, I thought, 'Oh my God. This is like God giving me one more thing before something horrible happens.'"
Clarkson burst into tears when Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder announced she'd won the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "Um...oh, God! You know I'm terrible at speaking when I cry, so sorry!" she said during her acceptance speech. "Thank you so much. Ah! OK. Thank you to everybody that has supported me this year, including my record label and my management. I love you...and thank you to my date, Ashley Donovan, my first producer in my closet back home as a kid. Thank you to my mom. Thank you so much, mom. I'm sorry I'm crying again on national television! Thank you to the fans. Thank you for everyone that worked on my record. Yikes! Just thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me. Thank you so much!"
The singer's fears only grew stronger after she won the Best Pop Vocal Album award.
M. Caulfield/WireImage for The Recording Academy
Thankfully, Clarkson's cancer diagnosis turned out to be a false alarm.
"I went to the doctor's the next day and they apologized for mixing up results. And I was like, 'Are you for real?!" the "Dance With Me" singer recalled. "I was like, 'You completely ruined my entire [experience].' The first time for an artist...as a kid watching the Grammys, that was a big dream! It was kind of the worst/greatest day. And the next day was also the worst/greatest day because I wanted to punch someone. I was like, 'Who mixes up results? Why wouldn't you test again?' It was very much a roller coaster ride, that day, for me. So, it's kind of unfortunate, but a lot of the moments got stolen from that mishap. But hey, I didn't have cancer!"
"I don't really tell that story, because it's kind of a Debbie Downer, but that's the real story. You think it would've been the greatest night ever for an artist," Clarkson continued. "And then it was like a joke...like, 'This is my last hurrah!' I was so dramatic about it because I was twenty-something and scared. It was so weird. I don't even remember anything but being terrified."
The medical misinformation clouded her performance of "Because of You," too.
"It's such a crap thing that happened, but at the end of the day, it's amazing that I got to perform something that I wrote at 16," Clarkson said on the podcast. "So, you know, it's cool."
Clarkson is nominated this year in the Best Pop Solo Performance category for "Piece by Piece (Idol Version)," which came as a surprise. Even so, she joked, "It's always nice to being the same category as Adele and Beyoncé!"
When she performed the song during American Idol's final season in February 2016, she burst into tears.
"It's just such a bookend for me—a nice bookend. It's where I got my start, it's where the show finished, and my kids [were there]—well, one of them was still in me—and my other kids was running around the halls I used to warm up when I was 19 on the show. And my husband was there. It was just one of those cool moments where you're like, 'Man, if my 19-year-old self could see where I'm at today, how proud I would be and how amazed.' Because who would have thought that this all would have happened?" Clarkson, 34, said. "So, the particular version wraps up all of that nostalgia in one song. I don't know. I feel very blessed."