Checotah native Carrie Underwood is planning to pay tribute to the victims of Oklahoma’s deadly and devastating May tornadoes during tonight’s CMT Music Awards.
The show, which will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m. on CMT, will feature Underwood performing her current single, “See You Again,” and she says the song is just right for these times.
“We really wanted to do something really special with the song,” she told CMT.com of the dramatic performance she has planned for the broadcast. “The song itself, I think, is really beautiful. I’ve heard the most incredible stories about how it’s affected different people and what it means to them.”
“See You Again” carries a hope-filled, inspirational message about a love that lasts forever, and, that’s a sentiment she thinks people can really use. Featuring high school graduations, military homecomings and heartbreaking scenes of the Moore tornado devastation, the official music video for the song premiered exclusively today on “Good Morning America,” and you can see it by clicking here.
“Right now I feel like it’s very timely. There seem to be a lot of things happening where I’m from especially. I’m from Oklahoma,” Underwood told CMT.com. “I really wanted to do kind of a tribute to them.”
Backed for the first time by a choir made up of two dozen members of Nashville’s Christ Church, Underwood hopes the song will raise spirits and maybe some funds for the Red Cross, as well. Underwood recently wrote a $1 million check to the Red Cross culled from her concert proceeds to help rebuild the lives shattered by the storms.
In addition to the choir, Underwood will be sharing the stage with some powerful images from Oklahoma, and she said she plans to try and focus on her vocals if there’s any hope of making it through without having the kind of moment Miranda Lambert had during husband Blake Shelton’s televised tornado benefit last week. Lambert, a Tishomingo resident, choked up as she tried to sing “The House That Built Me” during the “Healing in the Heartland” telethon.
“I saw what’s happening on the screens behind me in my performance, but I kind of half watched it. … They’re really powerful images — people helping people, the obvious devastation that happened,” Underwood told CMT.com Tuesday following rehearsals for the awards show. “But if I know that that’s going on behind me, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep singing … I think it’s going to be really powerful.”
A two-time nominee this year, Underwood added that what’s special about the CMT Music Awards is the fan voting, which helps bring the artists and their supporters together.
“We’re not sitting right by the stage, and all the other people are way back here in the back,” she said. “There’s fans that are filling the space, and they’re the ones who voted and they’re the ones that watch the shows and request the videos. We kind of get to sit back and watch it all happen, and we get to watch them react to people performing and get to run through them slapping hands … if I’m lucky enough to win an award.”
Check out CMT’s special video report on tonight’s tribute performance, as well as the fan-created lyric video for “See You Again”: