Chrissy Metz, the Emmy-nominated actress who plays aspiring singer Kate Pearson on the hit NBC drama This Is Us, made her live TV singing debut on the 2019 Academy of Country Music Awards -- and despite admitting in pre-show interviews that she was nervous about this “bucket list moment,” she more than held her own alongside her duet partners, country stars Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Maddie & Tae, and Mickey Guyton.
Much like Pearson singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” on Season 2 of This Is Us, Metz poured her heart in her Diane Warren-penned triumph-of-the-spirit anthem, “I’m Standing with You” from the soundtrack to her upcoming movie Breakthrough. The film tells the true story of Joyce Smith, whose son was pronounced dead after drowning, but miraculously came back to life after Smith prayed over his body, despite having had no pulse for 45 minutes. Metz’s touching all-star number was in conjunction with ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music.
“The song is so beautiful, and I think it needs to be heard,” Metz told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week while preparing for the performance. “I’m going to push past the fear and do this, because it’s something I’ve always wanted. At the end of the day, after being prepared and who knows what goes on during the day, but what’s going to happen is going to happen, and if I stay present and authentic then that’s all I can ask of myself. You know? I’m just excited about it.”
The soundtrack Breakthrough: Music From & Inspired by the Motion Picture features Metz and all four of her ACM Awards collaborators, along with tracks by Darius Rucker, Phil Pigeon John, and Kirk Franklin. “We are the soundtrack of this real-life story, because our music is about real-life stories,” Universal Music Group Nashville president Cindy Mabe told The Tennessean. “This performance lets Chrissy have her moment that she’s always wanted to have, and there’s the female standpoint of where we are in a moment in time in country radio. We have [one of the most recognizable names] on television with [one of the most recognizable names] in country music creating a platform for other women to shine. This is a gift.”
Many women, including Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Ashley McBride, Kelly Clarkson, and Brandi Carlile, did shine at Sunday’s ACMs ceremony, and a couple other female country artists addressed the lack of female representation on country radio as of late. During her opening monologue, host Reba McEntire spoke up, joking, "Do you know it snowed in Las Vegas just a few weeks ago? "Yeah, it was so cold, it froze us women out of Entertainer of the Year.” (All five nominees in that category were men this year; the award ultimately went to Keith Urban.) “But you know what? That didn't bother Kacey Musgraves, because she's been too busy carrying all her Grammys around."
Musgraves, whose Golden Hour won Album of the Year at this past February’s Grammy Awards and last year’s CMA Awards, took home the same honor at Sunday’s ACMs. Musgraves dedicated the award to “any woman, girl -- or anybody, really -- that is maybe being told that her perspective or style is too different to work. Just stay at it. It will work out.”
The 54th Academy of Country Music Awards took place at the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Breakthrough hits theaters April 17.