Will Hackney, 24, and Mikey Morrison, 26, both of Los Angeles; Sharon Figel, 35, of Saratoga, N.Y.; Katie Stoppiello, 24, of Brick, N.J., and Arrione Massee, 32, of Minneapolis, had no idea they were going to get the chance to know their idol in person on Tuesday.
The fans thought they were on the show to be in the front row of a Kelly Clarkson performance for “GMA”’s Winter Concert Series. They knew they had been personally selected by Clarkson, 32, to attend the concert after she saw comments they wrote on her website in which they described how much the lyrics in her new songs meant to them.
Hackney’s post about Clarkson's “Let Your Tears Fall” song was poignant. He wrote that he hid being gay from the world, and bore his “dark secret” in silence.
“I found solace in your music and attended 12 of your concerts just so I could see the girl who made me feel safe and normal and included,” he wrote, adding that he came out to his family two years ago.
“But I guess what I'm trying to say is that for the longest time, through my connection to your music, you were the only one that knew me for who I really was and still am, so I thank you for keeping my secret and not turning me away,” he wrote.
Stoppiello said Clarkson’s songs are a guaranteed pick-me-up.
“Anytime I'm feeling low - there's just always a Kelly Clarkson song that fits the moment perfectly,” she said.
Morrison said he’s been a superfan since Clarkson’s “American Idol” days, while Massee said the singer inspires her, adding that the chance to attend the concert was a “once in a million” dream.
When “Heartbeat Song” came out, Figel said "I was like ‘ahhh, this is my daughter, this is what I did for three weeks.’ I just counted that heartbeat."
Clarkson, with the help of “Good Morning America”’s Michael Strahan, surprised her superfans while they were having breakfast at a restaurant in Manhattan next to the "GMA" Times Square studio.
When Clarkson entered the restaurant, the five superfans abandoned their meals and began screaming, each jumping up to give Clarkson a hug.
"I knew it," screamed one.
"I'm going to lose it," said Morrison. "I can't even."
"Kelly, you mean so much to me. I've been following you since 'American Idol,'" said Hackney. "I'm gay and I kept that a secret for so long. Going to your shows, I was able to be myself. It was a release."
When Clarkson and Strahan reminded the superfans they would get VIP seats at Clarkson's "GMA" concert, at least one fan said it would be a big change from how she normally sees the singer.
"I've been to six [concerts], not [sitting] close at all," said Stoppiello. "I've been in the nosebleeds."