An emotional Carrie Underwood is still giving me goosebumps following her gut-wrenching performance at Wednesday night’s 51st annual CMA Awards, in which the Country Music Association honored those in the country community who lost their lives this year.
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Taking a break from her 10th year co-hosting the award show with Brad Paisley, Underwood took to the stage with a strikingly powerful performance of the traditional Christian hymn “Softly and Tenderly.”
Accompanied by a candle-lit audience, Underwood sang her heart out as the “In Memoriam” reel played behind her featuring legendary performers Troy Gentry, Glen Campbell, Don Williams and many more.
“This has been a year marked by tragedy, impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family,” Underwood said during their monologue earlier in the show. “So tonight, we’re going to do what families do: come together, pray together, cry together and sing together, too.”
“The way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music—loud and proud,” Paisley added. “Our music lifts people up and that’s what we’re here to do tonight. So this year’s show is dedicated to all of those we’ve lost and to all of those who are still healing. We love you and we will never forget you.”
And honor their fans, they did.
Towards the end of her performance, Underwood was visibly overcome by emotion as the video behind her revealed the faces of all 58 victims, who were savagely killed in the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st. They were part of country music’s family, and they were honored on country music’s biggest night.