Kelly Clarkson got into the holiday spirit with her Kellyoke performance on the Dec. 13 episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show. However, it wasn’t all festive and cheerful, as she sang her heartbreaking ballad, “Merry Christmas (To The One I Used To Know).” The song was featured on Kelly’s 2021 Christmas album, When Christmas Comes Around, and she penned it following her painful divorce from Brandon Blackstock, who she split from in 2020.
Kelly looked absolutely breathtaking for the performance, wearing a red dress and her hair pulled back into an updo. She sparkled with glittery, purple eye shadow, and minimal makeup and accessories aside from that. She sang the song with just a piano playing behind her, with her talk show set lit up by a Christmas tree.
Back in 2021, Kelly hosted a Christmas special, and she got emotional while performing “Merry Christmas (To The One I Used To Know).” She opened up about the inspiration behind the sad song, which she said she was “crying [her] face off” while writing. “There aren’t many holiday songs for people feeling lost and just plain sad,” Kelly shared. The American Idol winner admitted that she wrote the song after putting her two children — she shares daughter River and son Remington with Brandon — to bed one night. “I was just going through it, having a really hard time,” Kelly explained. “It’s been a really tough year for a lot of us.”
The song features absolutely gut-wrenching lyrics, as Kelly sings, “Once a year I let my heart go back to you and me, a secret gift I give myself on Christmas Eve. If I could feel a memory instead of turn back time, I know that the past is all that’s left of you and I.” Kelly has been open with her fans about how hard her divorce was on her, and this song was an extension of that feeling.
“It’s been the hardest thing to navigate,” Kelly said on The Chart Show With Brooke Reese back in June. “I’ve never had this difficult of a project. It’s one of those things where I’m human and I’m going through something huge. Obviously, everyone knows a huge divorce went through and it’s been two years and not easy with kids. It’s a hard thing to navigate.”