Carrie Underwood made a triumphant return to the stage on Sunday evening during the 53rd ACM Awards in Las Vegas. Her first televised performance since a bad fall at her home last year, the two-time ACM Entertainer of the Year belted her new single “Cry Pretty” and reminded the genre of her vocal power.
Wearing a silver dress and heels, the singer’s eyes were highlighted with glistening silver makeup to appear as tears during her performance. Beginning the powerful ballad with slowed vocals and stripped down accompaniment, by the time she got to the song’s chorus it was evident that Underwood was back and better than ever as she belted every note.
Underwood penned the song with Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, and Liz Rose, and the song had a profound effect on her performance. As she sang each verse, the power of her words captivated the audience and the singer. Closing “Cry Pretty” with a note only Underwood could hit, she received the loudest standing ovation of the night. Understandably touched by the audience’s reaction, she was visibly in tears.
Moments later, she accepted the award for Vocal Event of the Year with Keith Urban for “The Fighter.” When her duet partner raved that she “knocked it out of the park,” she tearfully admitted, “I’m still shaky right now.” A standout performance, Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” will be an ACM moment talked about in years to come.
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