“This song I initially wrote just super hopeful, right? And well, sometimes hopeful turns into hopeless, so here we go, ‘Piece by Piece,'” Clarkson, 41, told her Las Vegas audience on Saturday, August 5.
“Piece by Piece” was originally a song about how Blackstock, 46, was different from Clarkson’s own absentee father. “But piece by piece, he collected me up / Off the ground, where you abandoned things, yeah / Piece by piece, he filled the holes that you burned in me / At six years old and you know,” Clarkson sang on the original song, which was released in 2015.
During Saturday’s show, Clarkson changed the above mentions of “he” to “I,” belting, “I collected me up” and “I filled the holes,” making the song about her own ability to pick herself up after heartbreak. Those weren’t the only changes.
The second part of the “Piece by Piece” chorus used to praise Blackstock as well. Instead of proclaiming, “He never walks away / He never asks for money / He takes care of me / He loves me,” Clarkson now sings, “I just walk away / when they ask for money / I take care of me / ’cause I love me.”
Money was a point of contention in her divorce from Blackstock, whom Clarkson married in 2013 and split from in 2020. “[Brandon] will not get one penny from [Kelly] that isn’t ordered by the judge,” a source told Us in January 2022.
Two months later, they finalized their divorce, and Clarkson had to pay Blackstock $45,601 a month in child support (they share custody of daughter River, 8, and son Remington, 6) and $115,000 per month in spousal support until January 2024. She was also ordered to pay a one-time lump sum of $1.3 million as part of the settlement.
While her chorus used to conclude with “Piece by piece, he restored my faith / That a man can be kind and a father could stay,” Clarkson is her own faith healer in the 2023 update. “Piece by piece, I restored my faith / That a heart can still beat, even when it breaks,” she sings in her new version.
In the final verse, Clarkson changes more references from “he” to “I,” noting she’ll never walk away or break her children’s hearts. While the original included the line, “He’ll take care of things, he’ll love her,” Clarkson now belts, “I’ll take care of things when you leave scars.”
This isn’t the first time the American Idol alum changed lyrics in reference to her divorce. Clarkson — who released her first post-divorce album, Chemistry, earlier this year — changed the words while singing a cover of GAYLE‘s “abcdefu” on NBC’s The Kelly Clarkson Show in March. She kept the altered lines and performed them without censorship during her July 29 Las Vegas show.
“F–k you and your dad and the fact that you got half / and my broken heart / turned that s–t into art,” Clarkson sang.
Clarkson’s Las Vegas residency at the Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood will wrap up on August 19.