Kelly Clarkson accidentally let the cat out of the bag.
While performing the title track to latest studio release "Piece by Piece" at Staples Center on Wednesday night, emotions suddenly got the best of the singer, who announced she was pregnant with her second child.
"I'd like to apologize to my husband" (Brandon Blackstock), a teary-eyed Clarkson said. "I didn't mean for it to come out like that here. I'm just so hormonal today and didn't want you to think I was being weird."
She co-wrote the stirring ballad, where personal lyrics contrast being abandoned by her father at age six (due to divorce) with the far better relationship Blackstock has with their own 14-month old daughter, River Rose. Done with lone piano accompaniment in Los Angeles, it was definitely a standout moment.
Sia was part of the terrific No. 1 album's large creative team. Some songs feature orchestration or string sections because Clarkson wanted a film soundtrack vibe. Others have a more upbeat dance pop sheen.
Eurodisco-leaning "Dance with Me," the first of seven new tracks played live, was among them. It got the 90-minute show off to an energized start. Barefoot and clad in a glittery gold and black outfit (there would be a few costume changes), Clarkson immediately walked out to a small heart-shaped stage at the center of the floor and stayed awhile. A female backing trio bolstered the propulsive "Catch My Breath." Images from cinema's golden age appeared behind tall rotating shutters during "Nostalgic."
Never one to mince words, Clarkson dedicated the soulful "Mr. Know it All" to "any (jerk) you've ever met." The original "American Idol" displayed her impressive vocal chops on the regal empowerment song "Invincible" (currently climbing various Billboard charts) and a resonant "Because of You/Breakaway" medley.
After signing a diehard male fan's phone, Clarkson joked about getting through another sad selection, "Tightrope." The orchestral-meets-EDM of "Take You High" felt a bit awkward, but the band totally rocked out on "Behind These Hazel Eyes."
The momentum sharply changed when Clarkson brought out a seemingly unknown male singer (I heard he's made the music reality show rounds) for a solo "My Funny Valentine" during the concert's "open mic" segment.
Appropriately, she did a fun cover of Demi Lovato's "Cool for the Summer" then dramatically downshifted into the delicate and lush, synth-driven "Sober." Afterward, Clarkson, 33, noted how she was so depressing in her twenties and liked her life better now.
A dynamic "Stronger" really sent the crowd - heavily populated by gay men including ex-NSYNCer Lance Bass - into a loud singalong frenzy. Opening a capella act Pentatonix guested on the effervescent "Heartbeat Song" and helped it soar even more. The upbeat mashup of "Uptown Funk" and Clarkson's "Walk Away" worked well. All four ladies sang, resulting in a sweet soul sister delight.
Come encore time, Clarkson belted out fierce renditions of "Miss Independent" and "Since You Been Gone."
Earlier, successful YouTube sensation Pentatonix delivered a dazzling 40-minute set.
Judging by all the t-shirts, many shrieking young concertgoers apparently came strictly to see the quintet. Although four of the five members routinely hit high notes, tenor Mitch Grassi's falsetto got the most cheers.
The group frequently stood on lighted bleachers to put their engaging harmonies on songs by Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and others. But "The Evolution of Michael Jackson" (featuring bits of two dozen hits) and Grammy winning "Daft Punk" were true wonders to behold. Originals like the old school doo wop of "Can't Sleep Love" and African-influenced audience participation number "On My Way Home" fared equally well.
Singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson never disappoints.
This was his second time touring with Clarkson, who recorded a Hutchinson composition in 2011.
During a fun half hour set, the musician seamlessly moved from keyboards to guitar. He eventually won over the LA crowd - not an easy feat when your forte is well crafted pop/rock.
Highlights included an insanely catchy, reggaefied "Rock and Roll," peppy "A Little More" (deftly fused with Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off") and vulnerable acoustic based "Watching You Watch Him."
A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com. All photos by Kelly Swift.