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Kelly Clarkson's emotional take on a Garth Brooks classic moves the country star

Clarkson sang "The Dance" at the Kennedy Center Honors and Brooks was totally taken in by it.
THE 43rd ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
Gail Schulman / CBS
/ Source: TODAY

Kelly Clarkson’s cover of a Garth Brooks classic wowed the country legend.

Clarkson put on a gripping rendition of Brooks’ “The Dance” during the Kennedy Center Honors that visibly moved him.

Garth Brooks was visibly moved by Kelly Clarkson's tribute.Kennedy Center Honors / CBS

At one point, the camera panned to Brooks, seated next to wife Trisha Yearwood, while his eyes were closed and he slowly shook his head, clearly swept up by the moment.

Clarkson has a very strong connection to the song and even told Brooks how it had helped her cope with her divorce from Brandon Blackstock when Brooks appeared on her show last December.

Garth Brooks was celebrated at this year's Kennedy Center Honors.Gail Schulman / CBS

“I couldn’t quite nail down the feeling,” she said. “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 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 went on to say she’d written a song for her upcoming album with the words “the dance” in it.

“So, it’s not like your song, like a rip-off, but I literally wrote this whole thing, like therapeutically, for me it’s actually on my next album and it’s the whole kind of come around, like the little tag part is like, ‘Even though my heart is broken, it was worth the dance, anyway,’” she said, singing what could be featured on the next album.

Brooks, 59, was touched that the song had such an impact on a star of Clarkson’s caliber.

“The fact that she says it as a fan makes you feel as an artist like, 'Hey, maybe you’re down here doing what you’re supposed to be doing down here,’" he told “Entertainment Tonight.”

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors pays tribute to Brooks, as well as Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Dick Van Dyke and Midori. Derek Hough, Vanessa Hudgens, Pentatonix, Gladys Knight, Emmylou Harris, Jimmie Allen and Yo-Yo Ma will also perform on the special, which will air Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.