As the “Friends in Low Places” crooner sang directly to Yearwood, a spotlight shined on her. The couple teared up during the performance, and she blew him a kiss from the audience at its conclusion.
“I can’t say anything other than it’s the first … she’s never heard it,” Brooks, 56, teased on ABC’s All Access red carpet pre-show. “So I made it all the way to here without her hearing it. Now I’m almost there.”
Yearwood, 54, hinted at her own trepidation over the performance. “I’m like, ‘Why am I so nervous?’ And I realized it’s because I don’t really like surprises, and I really have no idea what he’s gonna sing,” she admitted.
Brooks noted that he had become emotional while practicing the track. “They’ve got her little picture on the thing, you know, in rehearsals, and every time I look at it, I start crying,” he said. The “Ask Me How I Know” singer added that he would have to look at someone “not pretty” like Blake Shelton during his performance to keep the waterworks at bay.
The six-time Entertainer of the Year winner was not nominated at the awards show. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban were up for the night’s highest honor in Brooks’ place.
“Best Date EVER!” he said of Yearwood, who presented at the ceremony, on his Instagram Story on Wednesday night. “love, g.”