Kelly Clarkson and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds did Whitney Houston proud.
The two music legends teamed up on the Feb. 20 episode of Clarkson’s talk show to cover Houston’s song “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” from her 1995 movie, “Waiting to Exhale.”
Babyface created the music and score for the movie. “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” was Houston’s 11th, and last, song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Babyface said Houston didn’t know if she would even sing on the soundtrack when they first spoke, but she changed her mind and they wrote her song “Count on Me,” which appears on the album. That led to “Exhale,” which he had begun writing, but hadn’t yet finished the chorus.
“So, I’d start doing the ‘Shoop, shoop’ and when I finished it, I said, ‘I don’t have this part yet, but, ‘Shoop, shoop.’ Then she said, ‘Babyface, you done finally ran out of words.’”
“But it felt so good ultimately that I was like, ‘Why change it?’” he added.
A few moments later, Babyface and Clarkson, who earlier in the episode covered Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon’ Cry,” performed a snippet of "Exhale," with Babyface on piano.
Clarkson brought her signature vocals to the quiet and poignant cover, with Babyface jumping in with a soulful touch. They then sang together on the memorable chorus.
Fans were stunned by the performance.
“Kelly Kelly Kelly, you most certainly ONE of the few that can blow a Whitney Houston song out of the water. Your vocals are phenomenal,” one fan wrote on YouTube.
“Kelly and Babyface need to do an album together as well!!” another person suggested.
“Kelly giving 90s r&b soundtrack vibes. Flex those vocals, girl,” someone else raved.
Clarkson did a solo performance of “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” during the “Kellyoke” portion of her show in 2020. It’s one of a few times she has tried her hand at singing a Houston track. She has also covered “I'm Every Woman,” “Saving All My Love for You” and “How Will I Know” during “Kellyoke.”
In addition, Clarkson sang “Higher Love” during the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, and this past December, she teamed up with Dolly Paton on her show to perform “I Will Always Love You,” which Parton wrote and originally recorded.
Houston’s version of the song, which she made for her 1992 movie “The Bodyguard,” remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks.