The premiere of Kelly Clarkson’s eponymous talk show is still a few days away, but it seems pretty clear the singer won’t be holding anything back as host. In a new YouTube Q&A session to promote the show, Clarkson went on an extended rant about the current state of country music (spoiler alert: she does not like it).
It was all fun and games at first, with Clarkson’s team reading her internet slang terms like “shooketh” and “spill the tea, sis” to see if she could define them. When they arrived at “farm emo,” Clarkson thought it meant “a very sad country person” who dresses like the Cure’s Robert Smith when the crops aren’t coming up — in fact, it’s a term some people use to describe country music.
“You know why? Because country music doesn’t sound country anymore,” said Clarkson. “So they’re making up terms to be like, ‘This is country.’ Country music is gone. I don’t know who’s making it, but there might be like four people. (Watch from the six-minute, 40-second mark below.)
One of Clarkson’s main grievances had to do with stylistic shifts that incorporate influences from the broader pop sphere, particularly artists who blend rap into their work. In Clarkson parlance, it’s called “weird word rap.”
“I don’t want to feel like I’m at some weird rock show where they start rapping,” said Clarkson, without getting into specifics about which artists were the biggest offenders. “Why are you rapping in country music? I don’t understand it. I mean, let’s be progressive, I get it, but come on. And it’s not just one. It’s a lot of y’all. And it’s bad.”
Clarkson even referred to her own attempts to make inroads in country, which included the hit duet with Jason Aldean, “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”
“I love that when I started to do country, they were like, ‘Oh you’re pop. You’re not country enough.’ I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, let me show you this list of the Top 20,’ which by the way did not include one female.
“I’m not even trying to get played on country radio,” she continued. “Here’s the thing: I just love country music. So why don’t we all just start putting our Eighties and Nineties records on and let’s figure out, what is country music? What is the sound we like again? Cuz it’s not what you’re playing on the radio. I’m mad about it, that’s right, because I’m a fan.”
But perhaps Clarkson’s biggest complaint had to do with the lack of women being played on country radio, a subject that’s been covered in myriad ways over the last handful of years.
“Y’all don’t play people with boobs either, [but] it’s fine. ‘Oh you got boobs, you’re not a man, get out of here.’ What happened? Do you want me to go off on how many women were so monumental in my [career]?” she asked, rattling off a list of performers that included Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, and Shania Twain. “What is happening in country music? This is what’s happening. Y’all aren’t playing country music anymore.”
The Kelly Clarkson Show airs September 9th on NBC-owned stations immediately before The Ellen DeGeneres Show.