Kelly Clarkson Talks Hosting the 2019 BBMAs, Starting a Fake Feud & More

2019 Billboard Music Awards - Kelly Clarkson
Joseph Cultice/NBC

Ready for an encore? For the second time in a row, Kelly Clarkson will emcee the Billboard Music Awards, the annual live celebration of chart-topping artists across all genres.

Last year’s festivities were something to sing about: The multitasking powerhouse, who’s also vying for another win as a coach on The Voice while prepping for the September debut of her daytime talk show, charmed the crowd with her off-the-cuff quips and fearless renditions of her fellow musicians’ biggest hits.

Now, she’s heading back to Las Vegas’s MGM Grand — where Sam Smith, Halsey, Khalid and Icon Award winner Mariah Carey will perform — to hit another high note.

You opened the 2018 ceremony with a show-stopping medley of covers. How do you top that?

Kelly Clarkson: The ideas keep changing! Because last year went so well, it’s easy to overthink it. We feel like we should do the same vibe, but a little different. Honestly, I just want to make sure the people I’m covering, whether it’s Cardi B or Post Malone or Lady Gaga, are in the audience. Other than that, I have no pride!

(Credit: NBCUniversal)

Simmering rivalries tend to come to a boil at these events. Is there anyone you’d like to start a feud with?

Ooh, I love the idea of starting a fake feud! I should pick someone like Josh Groban to have a beef with. He’d have some witty comebacks. I feel like this should happen — maybe I’ll make it a segment of my talk show!

At the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 7, you were mistaken for a seat-filler. Think you’ll have better luck at the BBMAs since you’re hosting?

Oh my God, that was amazing. This man was trying to help the band Midland get past us, and he tapped me very politely and said, “We need the seat-fillers to move.” The guys from Midland were dying. I was with my girl Chevel Shepherd, the Season 15 winner of The Voice, and had been feeling so good about giving her this magical evening. It was the universe keeping me humble. I think that should be part of my monologue for the Billboards: I’m gonna start out as a seat-filler.

2019 Billboard Music Awards, Wednesday, May 1, 8/7c, NBC