After the repeated hits the people of her home state have taken over the past weeks due to severe weather, Checotah, Okla., native Carrie Underwood was inspired to give a little something back during her performance on Wednesday night's (June 5) CMT Music Awards.
The show, which will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. ET/PT 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 said 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.
"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," she said, of the devastating series of tornadoes that have taken lives and destroyed thousands of homes in the state over the past few weeks. "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.
"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," she said 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."