Kelly Clarkson Takes Some Time to Rip Through Jimmy Eat World’s ‘The Middle’ on ‘Kellyoke’

Kelly Clarkson, she’s like most of us. Well, in that she can’t get enough of Jimmy Eat World‘s signature 2001 hit “The Middle.” Which is why it made sense that the daytime talk show host and pop idol took a power pop swing at the oft-covered song on Thursday’s Kelly Clarkson Show during her “Kellyoke” segment.


Clarkson and her house band nailed the song’s chugging urgency, with the singer yelping the “everything will be alright” refrain before a brief, fleet-fingered guitar solo in an arrangement that layered in some tasty Hammond organ and punchy drums.

The beloved song from the Mesa, Arizona emo pop band’s Bleed American album was originally released in Oct. 2001 and hit its chart peak a few months later when it climbed to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not for nothing, but when Clarkson released her 2015 single, “Heartbeat Song” critics couldn’t help point out that eerie similarity between the two song’s verses and choruses, so Kelly covering the track for “Kellyoke” makes good sense.

“The Middle” has long been a favorite go-to cover, including in an apocryphal story about Prince covering it at the 2009 Oscar after-party, footage of which resurfaced this summer to the band’s utter delight. It also got covered by Taylor Swift in a 2016 Apple ad. “Hearing that Prince had covered it at whatever Grammy afterparty he did or Taylor Swift hand-picking it to use for an Apple commercial? It’s like what?! What is that? I don’t know. I still freak out anytime I hear ‘The Middle’ or anything we’ve done, like, on the radio,” singer Jim Adkins told AZ Central earlier this year.

Check out Clarkson’s cover below.

Gil Kaufman