The Voice contestant Stephanie Rice gave a stirring rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Piece By Piece" on Monday, coupled with a harrowing story of how her parents disowned her for coming out at age 18. Clarkson responded to the performance on Twitter: "Can't. Stop. Crying."
Like Clarkson, Rice (age 27) is from Texas and grew up in a religious household. "They disowned me," said Rice when she came out as gay. "I've been taking the brokenness and emotion and channeling that into the only form I know … which is music."
Clarkson co-wrote "Piece by Piece" with Greg Kurstin, the ballad-expert who also worked on Adele's "Hello." The single became a Top Ten hit for Clarkson. Rice's rendition was more Joplin-esque in its delivery: growling and gliding dynamically through the song.
Clarkson wasn't the only star enthralled by Rice's performance. Voice judge Blake Shelton turned around before Rice made it to the 20-second mark. Gwen Stefani did the same within 10 seconds (Rice chose to be on Stefani's team). Alicia Keys also listened intensely, audibly marveling at Rice's voice.
Can't. Stop. Crying. 😳 Her vulnerability and her story ....just wow. Steph, I hope ur parents open their hearts 2 the beautiful person u r! https://t.co/p6FKPBnvKU— Kelly Clarkson (@kelly_clarkson) February 28, 2017