NEW YORK • Singer Carrie Underwood returned to the stage on Sunday, after a serious face injury as country stars went back to Las Vegas for the first time since a mass shooting there last October.
Opening the Academy of Country Music Awards at a hotel less than 2km from the scene of the Oct 1 shooting that killed 58 people and wounded more than 850, singer Jason Aldean paid tribute to the victims and invoked the healing power of music.
"We wanted to open the show with something that sums up what it's like for our country music family to be back in Las Vegas for the first time since Oct 1," said Aldean, who was performing on stage when a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country festival from the window of a hotel on the Vegas strip.
"We thought about starting with a song, but it's a lot bigger than a single song. It's everything you'll hear tonight," said the singer, who was later named Entertainer of the Year.
In the most anticipated performance of the night, former American Idol winner Underwood appeared in public for the first time, following a fall outside her home last November that required 40 to 50 stitches to her face. In January, she revealed that she "might look a bit different" after the "gruesome" injury.
Performing her new single Cry Pretty on Sunday, she seemed pretty much the same.
She was welcomed back with a long standing ovation that left her overcome with emotion. "I'm still kinda shaky right now," she said afterwards, fighting back tears.
REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST