On the show That’s My Jam, Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande went up against each other in a karaoke competition that showcased the extraordinary talent of these two singers. This was the first episode of That’s My Jam, which drew inspiration from games played on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It was aired in the US on 29th November 2021 and was watched by over four million viewers. Grande teamed up with country singer Blake Shelton, while Clarkson was paired with John Legend.
The final round of the episode was titled “Mixtape Medley Showdown”, featuring the ultimate battle between two titans of the pop world. In one corner was Grande, a true pop culture icon who has sold over 90 million records and won two Grammy Awards. In the other was Clarkson, winner of the first season of American Idol in 2002, who has since sold over 70 million records and won three Grammy Awards.
On seeing the round appear on the screen, Grande slumped forward in nervousness at the task before her, telling Shelton, “We’re done for!” The presenter, Jimmy Fallon, spun the computerised wheel to find the title of the mixtape the two singers would sing. As it landed on “Pop Divas”, the crowd roared, knowing they would be in for something special.
The live band started up the backing track for the first song, Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again”. Grande sang this beautifully, with some accompanying dance moves. Next up, Clarkson took on “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain, which she belted out with amazing strength to her voice. Grande then sang “Believe” by Cher, which Clarkson responded to with Alanis Morrisette’s “You Outta Know”.
In the third round, Clarkson delivered a moving version of “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton before Grande showed off her incredible vocal range with Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”. By now, Fallon was falling about with astonishment at what he was witnessing.
The final song of the segment was Clarkson singing “I Will Always Love You”, written by Dolly Parton in 1973. As she nailed the high note in the climax of the chorus, Grande pretended to walk off the stage to concede defeat. In a beautiful moment of unity, the two women then duetted on the song’s final word before the crowd exploded in gratitude at what they had just witnessed.
While Grande exclaimed this to be the “craziest day of my life”, it was left to the Doombox to decide who had won. After a drum roll, it was announced… Clarkson and Legend had taken the prize. But that had become irrelevant in many ways, as it was the sheer talent of these two female pop legends that will live long in the memory.