Early on during the Grammy Awards on Wednesday night, Kelly Clarkson bested music industry veterans Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt to win the best female pop vocal performance award for her mega-hit "Since U Been Gone."
When she performed less than an hour later on the same stage where she tearfully accepted that award, the choice of song seemed obvious. Except it wasn't.
Instead of belting out "Since U Been Gone" one of the best 3-minutes of angst-ridden pop that mainstream music has produced in a good while Clarkson sang her ballad, "Because of You."
The former "American Idol" of all people should have known that song choice is everything.
Wearing a beautiful, flowing red dress, Clarkson (introduced by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) strode out from beside a grand piano, singing with a strong, confident voice:
"Because of you, I never strayed too far away from the sidewalk. ... Because of you, I am afraid."
Could she have been thinking of Simon Cowell?
While the performance was perfectly fine, it felt a little reminiscent of those many mediocre, superficial ballads trotted out on "Idol."
Speaking of which, "Idol" was one word she didn't utter while accepting her pop vocal award.