Carly Pearce and Charles Kelley Deliver a Classic Duet at CMA Awards

They teamed up for 'I Hope You're Happy Now' after Lee Brice was forced to drop out!

Written by Chris Parton
Carly Pearce and Charles Kelley Deliver a Classic Duet at CMA Awards
Carly Pearce and Charles Kelley perform “I Hope You're Happy Now” at “The 54th Annual CMA Awards,” on Wednesday, November 11, 2020; live on ABC from Music City Center in Downtown Nashville; Photo courtesy of CMA

Carly Pearce and Lady A’s Charles Kelley delivered a dose of classic-country heartbreak at the 54th Annual CMA Awards, teaming up for a last-minute duet on the hit, “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

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.

Co-hosted by Darius Rucker and Reba McEntire, the 54th Annual CMA Awards aired live on ABC from Nashville’s Music City Center on November 11.