Following a star-studded opening performance, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood kicked off country music’s biggest night with a remembrance of those lost in recent tragedies.
“Las Vegas. Charlottesville. New York. Sutherland Springs,” began Underwood, referencing cities hit by violent attacks. “Historic storms in Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida. And the list goes on and on. This has been a year marked by tragedy, impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family. So tonight, we’re going to do what families do: come together, pray together, cry together, and sing together, too.”
Added Paisley, “The way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music — loud and proud. Our music lifts people up and that’s what we’re here to do tonight. So this year’s show is dedicated to all of those we’ve lost and to all of those who are still healing. We love you and we will never forget you.”
Last month, country music was directly touched by gun violence when a gunman opened fire at Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Festival as Jason Aldean performed onstage, leaving 58 dead and more than 500 injured.
Then, the hosts transitioned into a more light-hearted topic: politics. This was tricky, considering Underwood said they were told to stay away from the subject — much to Paisley’s disappointment.
See a clip below.