Carrie Underwood gave one of the evening’s standout performances at the 51st CMA Awards in Nashville, singing the hymn “Softly and Tenderly” during the show’s In Memoriam section.
Surrounded by flickering candles, Underwood patiently worked her way to the song’s emotional apex as video screens acknowledged the performers and industry figures, from Glen Campbell to Troy Gentry, who died in the past year. Underwood choked up, eyes filling with tears, as the performance reached its conclusion with a video of the names and photos of the 58 people who died when a shooter opened fire during Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
Fans who were hoping to hear new music from Underwood, whose most recent album Storyteller was released in October 2015, will have to wait a little longer. Her most recent single “Dirty Laundry” reached Number Two on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart and she also turned in an assist on Keith Urban’s dance-friendly hit “The Fighter,” which was released as a single in 2017.
Underwood, who co-hosted the event for the 10th year with Brad Paisley, entered the evening with one nomination in the Female Vocalist of the Year category.