Kelly Clarkson and Sam Smith’s ‘Breakaway’ brings fans to tears: ‘Release this’

A person in a red shirt and jeans watching a woman in a black shirt and skirt singing on a stage.
Sam Smith, left, and Kelly Clarkson perform “Breakaway” on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
(Weiss Eubanks / NBCUniversal)

Nearly 20 years later, Kelly Clarkson‘s “Breakaway” still has the power to bring audiences to tears.

Fans were reeling Tuesday on social media after Clarkson and Sam Smith performed a dynamic duet of the 2004 classic on the “Kellyoke” segment of Clarkson’s hit talk show. The “Because of You” singer and the “Stay With Me” artist’s voices blended seamlessly while trading verses and harmonizing.

“im feeling vulnerable so i would like to admit the following: i just cried watching kelly clarkson and sam smith duet to breakaway,” wrote Twitter user @ohgodjohnwhy.

“good morning sam smith and kelly clarkson singing breakaway together just made me cry for some reason,” tweeted @meteor_meatier.

“I need this duet [tattooed] on my skin,” TikTok user @wienersoldierswife commented on a viral video of the performance that has amassed more than 3.8 million views.


Smith was among the social media users deeply moved by the performance. The singer said on Instagram that they will “never get over” the experience of singing with one of their childhood heroes.

“When I was a troubled and confused teenager I would sit in my room listening to your album and dream of what life could be like,” Smith wrote in a message to Clarkson.

“Your voice and your songs healed me in so many ways. So to sing Breakaway with you was v emotional for me. Thank you for your kindness and for sharing your superpowers with us all.”

Singer Kelly Clarkson was feted on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, 20 years after she was crowned the first ‘American Idol’ winner.

Sept. 19, 2022

Smith was not the only person for whom the “Breakaway” duet triggered a strong sense of nostalgia. The original version of the song came out in 2004 during what feels like a different era — two years after Clarkson won the first season of “American Idol.”


“even after two decades of loving her, i still melt to the floor when kelly sings live,” @witchy.afootwrote on TikTok. “best vocalist of my generation, no contest.”

“Any other 29y/o have goose bumps and on the verge of crying bc you can picture your deep 13 y/o self staring out a window singing this song,” wrote @goforskoz.

“this woman sang this song in an even higher key than the original. perfectly harmonizing with Sam,” wrote @cheywest092799. “she’s perfection.”

Singer Sam Smith calls for awards shows to be “reflective of the society we live in” after the Brit Awards reportedly opted to keep gendered categories.

March 12, 2021

Multiple viewers begged “The Kelly Clarkson Show” to release Clarkson and Smith’s “Kellyoke” rendition of “Breakaway” on streaming platforms. Not an unreasonable request, considering that earlier this year Clarkson dropped an entire EP of her greatest “Kellyoke” covers.

“SPOTIFY SPOTIFY SPOTIFY,” wrote @tiktokledikdok in a TikTok comment that has racked up more than 5,600 likes.

“PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Release this and let the public download this recording!!!” echoed @sophiesnider0. “I had goosies allll over!”

See more reactions to Smith and Clarkson’s “Kellyoke” moment below.