“And the CMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year goes to… Carly Pearce.”
Those were the words that a shocked Carly Pearce heard during the 55th Annual CMA Music Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 10). When the camera panned to Pearce, seated at her table, the “Next Girl” singer was visibly stunned. After she planted a kiss on boyfriend Riley King, she took the stage and fell to her knees in a moment of complete surprise.
“I really didn’t think this was going to happen,” Pearce said through tears. She then asked for a little help from friend and duet partner Ashley McBryde. “Help me,” she could be heard saying. McBryde jumped up on stage to help her friend out.
“What she meant to say was…,” McBryde joked. “There’s a lot of love, respect, and admiration in this category.”
Pearce came back to the microphone to thank the folks from her record label and behind the scenes. “I’ve had just like a crazy year and I just want you guys to know that this means everything to me,” she said with incredible emotion. “Country music saved me at a time that I needed it and I just want you guys to know that this is all I ever wanted in the entire world and I just hope you know that country music is all I love, so thank you so much.”
Prior to her win, Pearce teamed up with McBryde for a powerful performance (and one of the evening’s best) for their song “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” about a woman who hates herself for becoming the other woman.
I never wanted to be that girl / I never wanted to hate myself / I thought this kind of lonely only happens to somebody else / Bein’ the other one when there’s another one / God, this feels like hell / Thought I knew who I was, but it’s gettin’ hard to tell / I never wanted to be that girl, the two powerhouse vocalists sing in perfect harmony.
During the performance, Pearce and McBryde, two of country music’s finest vocalists, stood on opposite ends of the stage. McBryde, dressed in black, and Pearce, decked out in white—representing the opposite sides of the love triangle— moved toward each other only to come face to face at the close of the performance in a powerful moment.
“Never Wanted to Be That Girl”, written by Pearce, McBryde, and Shane McAnally, is featured on Pearce’s current album, 29: Written in Stone.
The 55th Annual CMA Awards aired on Wednesday, November 10, live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images