“I never thought I’d be on the CMT stage,” CBS News’ Gayle King told the audience at the 2022 CMT Music Awards on Monday night (April 11).
Before announcing the first-ever live performance of “Pray” from Jimmie Allen, Monica and Little Big Town, King told a sweet anecdote about her time in Nashville for the ceremony. Earlier in the day, she went to local spot Milk and Honey for brunch and was surprised to hear that her bill was paid for — by none other than Carly Pearce, one of the “really, really good soul people” of country music.
The genre-crossing performance of “Pray” found Allen, Monica and Little Big Town dressed in white on a stage that looked straight out of heaven, filled with clouds and dreamy smoke. The group delivered the angelic song, complete with soaring harmonies, as powerful scenes of prayer from all religions and belief systems were shown in the background — adding to the growing unity and inclusion within the country music world.
The emotional ballad is featured on Allen’s 2021 Bettie James Gold Edition project. “This song is powerful, because to me, it wasn’t a religious song. I’m not really a religious guy,” he told Billboard at the time of the album’s release. “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious. When I heard it, it’s just pushing the idea that at some point in everyone’s life, we all go through something that causes you to stop and realize that you need a higher power to help you get through the situation you’re in.”
Watch the performance below:
— CMT (@CMT) April 12, 2022