Just this weekend, he hit the stage for an unexpected duet with Justin Timberlake. But was it his best comeback moment yet? We take a look at the top five, including his JT stage debut and our emotional favorite.
5. The moment he made Ellen cry
Few things get the best of Ellen DeGeneres, but even she couldn’t keep her emotions at bay when Brooks made an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in late November. Before singing his single “Mom,” Brooks shared, “This is a conversation that goes on between God and this unborn child that’s going down to Earth, and when God describes what a mom is, it just kills me. I’m gonna try to get through this. Forgive me if I don’t… I’m a mama’s boy.”
True to his word, Brooks struggled to get through the song without being overwhelmed — and he wasn’t the only one. Not only did the audience’s eyes well up with tears (and ours, every single time we watch it), but DeGeneres also had to choke back her emotions.
4. A man of honor
One of our favorite moments since Brooks has come out of retirement didn’t come from a performance at all. In fact, it came from the absence of his presence. When Brooks and his team landed in New York in late November for a round of publicity to plug his album and tour, the singer couldn’t ignore the uneasy feeling that the timing simply wasn’t right. He opted to reschedule all of his scheduled appearances that day, explaining his decision on Facebook.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is what you call a class act.
3. JT’s got friends in high places
Justin Timberlake whipped fans at his Nashville show on Dec. 19 into a total frenzy, but he had a little help. In a totally unexpected twist, Brooks took the stage help JT — who has long considered Brooks one of his idols — sing the timeless 1990 hit “Friends in Low Places.”
Each artist geeked out a bit over the impromptu performance, taking to Instagram to share the special moment. Seriously, though, how could we have missed this moment? Hearts officially broken. Check out the entire performance below and commiserate with us — unless you were there, in which case we are so jealous.
2. The hug of a lifetime
When Eden Whitson was only 8 years old, the little girl made a sign asking Brooks (her country music idol) for a hug. Jump forward in time to Nov. 11 — a full 17 years after the fact — to a Q&A session Brooks was hosting on his Facebook page. Seeing her opportunity, the now-25-year-old Whitson posted a picture of the sign she’d made as a child and explained she’d been “waiting for the day” when she can finally collect that hug. And, oh, did she.
Through the modern marvel that is social media, Brooks connected with Whitson and was able to meet her in person at a recent show where, yep, he totally gave her that hug.
1. Enjoying the dance
Break out the tissues, you guys — this one’s a tearjerker. During Brooks’ November stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he proved his heart is as big as his pipes. Teresa Shaw, who is currently undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer, made the trip from her hometown in Iowa to Minnesota to see Brooks perform. During the show, she held up a sign that read, “Chemo This Morning. Garth Tonight. Enjoying the Dance.”
Well, it just so happened Brooks saw the sign, which prompted the country star to make his way to Shaw for a very special performance. Not only does he serenade and hug her, but he also trades the very guitar off his back for her sign.
So. Many. Emotions. Y’all.