Filling in for the song’s original male star, Lee Brice, Kelley was put in a tough spot but made the song his own, matching his smoldering baritone to Pearce’s effortless style. Pulling off the song with a silky smooth-but-wounded harmony blend, each singer took a turn with the song’s conflicted theme — hoping an ex is happy after a breakup, but perhaps still secretly holding on to the past.
“I hope you find what you were looking for / I hope your heart ain’t hurting anymore / And you get moving on, all figured out / And you don’t hate me somehow / ‘Cause I hope you’re happy now,” goes the duet’s heartbroken hook.
Pearce and Kelley teamed up for “I Hope You’re Happy Now” after Brice was forced to drop out of the show after testing positive for COVID-19 — and in a surprise announcement just before the show, Lady A was forced to drop out as well, but not before the performance was taped. Pearce and Brice teamed up for the original version of the song, which became her second Number One hit earlier this year and helped Pearce snag four nominations coming into the night. She and Brice won the award for Musical Event of the Year earlier in the day.
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Hate that we are missing the show tonight, but we are cheering on all of our friends who are nominated and can’t wait to see all the performances. I know my buddy @dariusrucker is going to kill it with @reba as hosts! Wish we could have been on that stage tonight performing as planned as a band but glad I got to share the stage with @carlypearce earlier this week! Tune in to @abc at 8pm/7cst to watch the show! @cma @ladya