Kelly Clarkson Chokes Up While Singing About Lost Love During Christmas Special

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2020 was a tough year for many, including Kelly Clarkson who filed for divorce from her husband of 7 years. The split inspired Clarkson to write new music, some of which is included on her new Christmas album, When Christmas Comes Around.

During the American Idol champ’s NBC television special that aired on Wednesday (December 1), emotion overcame her as she performed one of those songs, “Merry Christmas (To the One I Used to Know).”

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“The holidays come with a whole range of emotions. I’m gonna be real with y’all. When I wrote this next song, I was crying my face off, which happens even at Christmastime, everyone,” Clarkson recalled prior to the performance. “I had just put my kids to bed and I was just going through it, having a really hard time, and it’s been a really tough year for a lot of us. And I wrote this song for me, but also because there aren’t many holiday songs for people feeling alone or lost or just plain sad other than Dolly Parton’s classic ‘Hard Candy Christmas,’ which we all love. It’s about getting through a tough holiday. I absolutely love that song and it allowed me to write this.”

“Merry Christmas (To the One I Used to Know)” shares the feelings of someone whose heart has been broken and left wondering if everything she knew about her ex was a lie.

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 the memory instead of turning back time
I know that the past is all that’s left of you and I
Still I know when Christmas comes around
And the snow falls like a fresh start on the ground
You aren’t the one I’m missing, no he left long ago
But Christmas eve my gift to me is dancing with your ghost
So merry Christmas, to the one I used to know
So merry Christmas, to the one I used to know

As Clarkson sang the final line of the moving lyrics, she appeared to struggle to maintain her composure and turned away from the camera as the song closed.

Clarkson filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock in June 2020 after nearly seven years of marriage. While the pair were declared legally single in September 2021, their divorce won’t be finalized until January 2022.

The pair share two children, daughter River, 7, and son Remington, 5.