PROVO • All the expected facets of a Fourth of July celebration — the men and women in uniform, flags and fireworks — were at the 33rd America’s Freedom Festival’s Stadium of Fire. Kelly Clarkson headlined the event, and a Canadian even joined in on the fun.
Carly Rae Jepson joked with the near-capacity crowd at Brigham Young University’s LaVell Edwards Stadium that, although she’s from British Columbia, the 27-year-old was honored to celebrate the U.S. Independence Day. She and Clarkson wowed the crowd with their bubbly personalities on stage and powerful voices.
Those in attendance were also treated to a performance by Cirque du Soleil. More than a dozen acrobats from the "Zarkana" show performed feats of strength in the popular Las Vegas performers’ first appearance in the Stadium of Fire. In what was possibly the most breathtaking moment of the evening, four performers formed a human tower stood on each other’s shoulders with final performer being slung to the third’s shoulders to complete the tower.
Afterward, Jepson took to the stage and opened with "This Kiss." She then turned to the crowd to help her sing her next song, "Good Time." Jepson concluded with the 2012 best-selling single, "Call Me Maybe." She often ran off the stage to engage the crowd with handshakes, high-fives and smiles.
Afterward, emcee Patti Austin struck a patriotic tone in her lone singing performance of the night as a salute to the Wounded Warrior Project. The 62-year-old R&B and jazz singer sang a rendition of "Lean on Me" while images of injured soldiers flashed on the big screens.
Austin then introduced the winner of the first season of "American Idol," Clarkson. She began with "My Life Would Suck Without You" and "Walkaway." Clarkson, 31, displayed her wide range of vocals that originally made her famous more than a decade ago, and then performed a couple of her country songs she recently added to her repertoire. The Texas native performed, "Don’t You Wanna Say" and "Tie It Up."
In her final half dozen songs, Clarkson performed her hits, "Breakaway," "Since You Been Gone" and "Stronger." Of all her songs, "Since You Been Gone" encouraged nearly the entire crowd to sing along, which had Clarkson beaming and jumping around stage.
After the performances were finished, fireworks illuminated the night sky. For the almost 50,000 people in attendance, there may not have been a better way to celebrate the Fourth of July.
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