Carly Pearce certainly didn’t expect to win female vocalist of the year at the 2021 CMA Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 10). She also could not have expected that fellow nominee Ashley McBryde would be there to help her give a speech.
Presented by country stars Amy Grant and Lauren Daigle, the female vocalist of the year award ended up going to Pearce, who was in a fierce race against McBryde, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Gabby Barrett. Wearing a sparkling blue dress, Pearce took the stage already sobbing, in disbelief at her win in such a stacked category. “I really didn’t think this was going to happen” she said, gasping for breath as she cried.
Taking a step back from the microphone to collect herself, the star made way for her fellow nominee McBryde to step onto the stage and up to the microphone, where she jokingly offered her own interpretation of what was happening. “What she meant to say was,” McBryde said with a laugh. “There is a lot of love, respect and admiration in this category.”
After collecting herself, Pearce went on to thank God, Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta, and her entire label team. “I’ve had just like a crazy year, and I just want you guys to know that this means everything to me,” she said, continuing to cry. “Country music saved me at a time that I needed it, and I just want you guys to know that this is all I’ve ever wanted in the entire world, and I just hope you know that country music is all I love, so thank you so much.”
Pearce was also nominated for album of the year at the show for her critically acclaimed album 29. Chris Stapleton ended up taking the award home for his album Starting Over.