Kelly Clarkson gets a lesson on funeral potatoes from a Utah basketball player

Isabel Palmer made her case for the popular Utah dish for a bracket challenge centered on local food.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs guard L'Mia Littlejohn (3) pressures Utah Utes guard Isabel Palmer (1) of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 17, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Funeral potatoes are a dish nearly synonymous with the state of Utah. They appear at many a family gathering, and have enjoyed popularity and longevity because it is easy and relatively inexpensive to make.

But do they stand a chance against an onion burger? That’s what singer and talk show host Kelly Clarkson ventured to find out in a March Madness-style bracket challenge centered around dishes hailing from states competing in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The winner of this challenge — judged by her — would receive the Final Fork trophy (pun obviously intended).

On a recent episode of her show, Clarkson pitted funeral potatoes from Utah against an onion burger from Oklahoma. Lobbying for their state’s dishes were Isabel Palmer of the Utah Utes and Skyler Vann of the Oklahoma Sooners.

“I was a bit skeptical myself when I first came to Utah,” Palmer, from Australia, said of funeral potatoes. “They’re a nice, cheesy, creamy snack. They’re easy to eat in a bowl, and they’re easier than the burger that Skyler’s got over there. We have them at any holiday event.”

As Clarkson took a bite of the funeral potatoes, Palmer said they were a homemade recipe. Clarkson sang “Oh my god,” after her bite.

In stanning for her onion burger, Vann also threw a little shade at funeral potatoes.

“The funeral potatoes — sounds kinda sad,” Vann said as Palmer was shown laughing. “It’s kinda scary. Would you name that that? Is there a reason why it’s called a funeral potato? Who knows?”

For the record, funeral potatoes are called that because they are typically served at after-funeral luncheons, particularly in the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the end, Clarkson chose the onion burger to move in the bracket.