The 33-year-old says part of her emotional response was due to the nostalgia factor of having her daughter on the American Idol set

By peoplestaff225
Updated March 03, 2016 11:30 AM

Kelly Clarkson is opening up about her “embarrassing,” tear-soaked performance of “Piece by Piece” on American Idol last week — and pointing fingers at 20-month-old daughter River Rose.

“I didn’t realize it was gonna be that bad,” Clarkson tells Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday’s episode of Ellen. “And we were rehearsing that day and I just couldn’t get through it.”

Clarkson, the original American Idol winner, sang during her stint as a guest judge on the series’ final season. She became audibly choked up during the song, which is about her husband’s great parenting and the absence of her own dad during her youth.

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

The 33-year-old says part of her emotional response was due to the nostalgia factor: “My 1-year-old is running around the same hallway as I was [at] 19.”

She continues, “I came off almost in tears for a different reason because I was so embarrassed. I was like, ‘Oh God, this is my final thing on Idol and I could not hold it together.’ I was almost losing it almost the entire song.”

Clarkson’s pregnancy with her and “great husband” and “great father” Brandon Blackstock‘s second child — a son — also played a role.

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

“He was [at Idol], my little girl was there, my little boy was turning circles in my stomach. It was nostalgic,” she explains. “It was the last time I was gonna be on Idol and it’s ending. I was screwed from the get-go.”

She jokes, “Emotionally, I was on a slip and slide from hell.”

The singer insists that regardless, she’s “proud” of herself “for making it as far as I did.”

“My husband knows me well. I came right off stage and he was like, ‘Don’t ruin it. Don’t ruin the moment.’ Because I was like, ‘It was so embarrassing, oh my God. I cried the whole time.’ ”

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

Of River, Clarkson says, “she’s pretty rock n’ roll” — but maybe too friendly. “It’s kinda scary because she would go home with anyone,” she shares.

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The little girl is also infatuated with DeGeneres — but in fish form.

“River is constantly watching Finding Nemo,” says Clarkson, adding to the host, “I feel like we live together, you’re always in my house.”

DeGeneres then, appropriately, gifted the singer both Nemo and Dory costumes — one for River and one for her little brother.

— Lindsay Kimble