CMAVEVO / YouTube
Each year, the CMA takes the time to honor the artists, musicians, and industry figures who have passed away since the last ceremony. Such moments of reflection are always memorable. But no “in memoriam” performance will ever be more meaningful than the one brought to us by Carrie Underwood at the 2017 CMA Awards.
Leading up to the awards, Underwood was revealed as a host and a performer, but it was not announced what she would be singing. As the ceremony approached, her co-host Brad Paisley hinted that her performance would be a highlight of the night, and that’s exactly what it was.
As the awards were airing, fans started to learn that Underwood was the artist who would be singing the in memoriam segment. Prior to her performance, everyone in the audience was given a candle to hold while almost all of the other lights went dim.
Standing on a small, circular stage in the middle of the crowd, Underwood was a vision to see in a stunning white ballgown. But far more beautiful than her gown was the angelic sound of her voice as she started singing the beloved hymn, “Softly and Tenderly.”
As Underwood sang, black and white images flashed on a screen behind her of musical figures lost over the course of the past year. Holly Dunn, Tom Petty, and Gregg Allman were all honored during the tribute. Other artists honored included Glen Campbell, Troy Gentry, and Don Williams, though they were recognized through video clips, rather than photos.
All of that was emotional enough, especially when paired when Underwood’s performance. But the tears truly began to flow closer to the end of the performance, as the pictures and names of the 58 Las Vegas shooting victims started to fill the screen.
The weight of the moment got to Underwood, who struggled to sing through her sadness. Unable to contain her tears, Underwood refrained from singing until she was able to regain some composure. She finished out the performance softly, and buried her face in her hand once it came to a conclusion.
It took over a week, but the CMA has finally released the official video of Underwood’s tearful tribute. We have the video here for you so you can once again witness the remarkable performance.
There’s no doubt about it…this moment will forever be a part of country music history.
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