The 51st Country Music Awards was an emotional night for various country music artists, but perhaps the most emotional night came when the awards show's cohost, Carrie Underwood, took to the stage to perform her tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Underwood chose to sing "Softly and Tenderly" for her tribute. As she sang, it was clear this song was hitting her on a very real and emotional level.
During the performance, you can hear Underwood singing as a video collage of the victims is shown on a big projection screen. There's one moment early in the video when Underwood's breath catches a bit. You can hear her getting caught up in the moment, and trust me when I say it's very, very tough not to get a little misty-eyed as well.
Underwood's performance was not the only one to honor of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. In fact, earlier in the evening, country music singer Eric Church took to the stage to sing "Amazing Grace" — just as gut-wrenching and beautiful to listen to — and Darius Rucker brought out all of country's finest to sing "Hold My Hand," the hit song of his early '90s band, Hootie & the Blowfish.
Underwood and her 2017 CMAs cohost Brad Paisley also addressed the various tragedies that have struck our nation and the world over the course of recent months.
"Las Vegas, Charlottesville, New York, Sutherland Springs, historic storms in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida and the list goes on and on. This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family," Underwood told the crowd. "So tonight, we’re going to do what families do: come together, pray together, cry together and sing together too.”
Paisley finishes, "The way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music, loud and proud. Our music lifts people up and that’s what we’re here to do tonight. So this year’s show is dedicated to all those we lost and those who are still healing. We love you and we will never forget you."
A damn fine sentiment indeed. At a time when we could use a little healing and unity, it seems like the country music community heard us and delivered tenfold. The tributes on Wednesday evening were both necessary and deeply meaningful; it's truly a balm for the soul.
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