Moments Like These

Concert Review: Kelly Clarkson at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace — November 14, 2025: It's been 22 years since Celine Dion turned the Colosseum at Caesars Palace into the place where female pop stars go to die as publicly as Roman gladiators once did. (But they do this, of course, for a hell of a lot more money.) Last night Kelly Clarkson joined the club that, since Dion, has inducted into its membership Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, and Britney Spears (whose stint ended with her infamous death by choking on a fried chicken wing). Thanks to a new self-awareness most of her career has entirely lacked — not to mention a stage show featuring 386 performers, 18 animals, and a pyrotechnics display said to be visible from space — Clarkson gave fans who paid more than $650 per ticket their money's worth.

The nightly concert, presented by Mitsubishi and Halliburton, is rumored to boast a yearly price tag larger than most African GDPs. But every cent is evident as dancers swing from invisible cables, in and out of 3-D holographic displays that transport audiences to every corner of the globe (except Iran and Quebec). Clarkson still seems confused or maybe even frightened by the enormity of the show, but her wonder is ours as well. Thankfully her surprise didn't affect her pipes, which have grown only more powerful with age. Backed by a band and a full orchestra, the thrice-divorced 43-year-old is, if anything, confident in her ability to belt out her classics and, thank goodness, has abandoned all pretense of being a rock star instead of a pop star. Gone are the grungy guitars, replaced by strings and horns on the advice of, rumor has it, Dion herself, who is said to have also been instrumental in persuading Clarkson to get back in shape and return to the stage.

Judging by her fans' reaction of to classics like "A Moment Like This" and "Breakaway," she's been missed too. "Behind These Hazel Eyes," "Never," "Don't Waste Your Time," and "Since U Been Gone" also brought audiences to their feet, with many people crying out, "We missed you, Kelly!" The only dud was "Miss Independent," which sounded comical coming out of the middle-age singer's mouth. She swayed uncomfortably to the funky, Christina Aguilera-copenned number, but couldn't make it her own as she had in her twenties. The end of the show featured a surrounding holographic display of the universe that saw her head projected into the cosmos like some sort of female deity. Clarkson thanked her fans for not forgetting about her like so many critics had expected they would.

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Cole Haddon