Wearing a draping red dress, the 36-year-old songstress performed McEntire’s ‘90s single, “Fancy,” highlighting her soulful range. The show-stopping concert aired Wednesday night -- and can be viewed in full on CBS All Access now -- although it was filmed on Dec. 2. After the performance, McEntire offered Clarkson a joyous standing ovation, along with the rest of the audience.
Clarkson’s husband, Brandon Blackstock’s father Narvel was married to McEntire for 26 years. Although that marriage didn’t last, Clarkson noted before singing that she’s come to think of the fellow songstress as a grandmother to their children, son Remington and daughter River Rose, ages 2 and 4.
“I’ve been a fan of Reba since I was a little girl," she began. "Her voice has always felt nostalgic for me. Even as an adult, there’s something about her tone and her storytelling that just feels like home.”
“Sometimes when we meet our heroes, it doesn’t always pan out how you hope. But meeting Reba — being friends with her, and eventually becoming family — has been one of the highlights of my life, truly,” Clarkson explained. “So thank you so much for listening to me vent as an artist. Thank you so much for comforting me on the phone through my tears, like a friend. And thank you for being a really rad grandma for my kids.”
ET spoke with Clarkson on the carpet for the Honors, where she said she could not pass up the opportunity to pay tribute to McEntire.
"It's just such a prestigious award to get in the first place, so that's amazing. Especially [since] I thought maybe she already had this. Like, I didn't know," Clarkson admitted. "So whenever they called and asked if I would sing with her I was like, 'Of course!'"
"[I'm] insanely busy but I'd do anything for her because she's really been not only such a cool idol musically, but a really great friend and a great family member," she continued. "She's just a really impeccable human."
Clarkson chose a stunning black-and-white dress for the red carpet while McEntire opted for a shimmering, dark-blue gown with sheer sleeves featuring elaborate embroidery for the big night.
McEntire wasn’t the only icon honored at the prestigious annual concert held at the Washington, D.C. venue. Philip Glass, Wayne Shorter, the creators of Hamilton and Cher also received recognition. The last of which broke down in tears when Adam Lambert performed a slowed-down rendition of her hit track “Believe.”