Kelly Clarkson, Aretha Franklin

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water, Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Kelly Clarkson has fond memories of Aretha Franklin.

The 37-year-old artist appeared on Thursday's episode of The Tonight Show and recalled the time the late Queen of Soul brought her to tears by complimenting her performance.

In 2013, Clarkson sang "My Country Tis of Thee" at the second inauguration ceremony for former president Barack Obama. The three-time Grammy winner had originally planned to sing "America the Beautiful" but made the last-minute change after fellow performer James Taylor asked if he could sing it instead. While Clarkson was happy to switch songs, she had forgotten that Franklin had performed "My Country Tis of Thee" at Obama's first inauguration ceremony in 2009. The American Idol alumna then "freaked out" because she felt like she couldn't compete with Franklin's rendition. However, that all changed after she heard Franklin call Clarkson's performance "magnificent" during an interview. 

"Literally, I cried," the "Since U Been Gone" star told Jimmy Fallon. "Like, not joking. I was in the studio making a record at the time and I bawled. I was like, 'I'm done. I have succeeded.'"

Clarkson has spoken about her admiration for Franklin before. For instance, she shared a touching tribute on social media after Franklin passed away in 2018 at the age of 76.

"Aretha Franklin is the reason why I sing from that part deep inside of me that few could ever reach," Clarkson tweeted at the time. "She was my favorite and will always be. What a gift she has left all of us with her musical footprints. There will never be another like her. She was truly special."

Clarkson also told Fallon she loves to sing Franklin's hit "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" and even belted out a few bars. The late-night host shared some of his sweet memories, as well.

"Aretha Franklin is one of my all-times," he said. "She has been on the show so many times. I miss her so much. She used to call up, like, if there was a funny, like, cooking segment, she'd call up just to talk to me and say, 'I loved that. That was a really good bit.'"

In addition to looking back at Franklin's legacy, Clarkson and Fallon talked about the "Stronger" celeb's new song "I Dare You."

Watch the video to see the interview.

(E! and NBC are both part of NBCUniversal).

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