“Hey Y’all, we wanted to let you guys know that we have received a positive COVID test within the band,” Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney announced via Instagram shortly after the 54th annual ceremony kicked off at Music City Center in Nashville. “As much as we were looking forward to performing at the CMA Awards tonight, we will no longer be attending in the interest of everyone’s safety.”
The “Bless the Broken Road” singers added, “Some of our favorite moments have happened on the CMA Awards stage, and we cannot wait to return!”
Lead singer LeVox, 50, bassist DeMarcus, 49, and lead guitarist Rooney, 45, did not reveal which one of them tested positive.
Rascal Flatts were one of five acts who were forced to pull out of Wednesday’s show due to the virus. Lee Brice, who was supposed to perform “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Carly Pearce, was the first to announce his diagnosis. Charles Kelley of Lady A stepped in to replace Brice, 41, and pretaped the duet with Pearce, 30, before his band also had to drop out of the CMAs over a coronavirus-positive family member. Florida Georgia Line, meanwhile, canceled their performance of “Long Live” after Tyler Hubbard’s test results came back, while Jenee Fleenor was unable to participate in the Charlie Daniels tribute after she contracted the virus.
Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker hosted this year’s CMA Awards with a live audience, becoming one of the first ceremonies to do so since the pandemic began in March. Only the nominees, performers and their families were invited to attend, and their tables were spaced six feet apart throughout the venue.
“As safety is our top priority, we have worked tirelessly over the past several months to fully transform Music City Center into a breathtaking setup that resembles the very first ‘CMA Awards Banquet and Show’ from 1967 and ensures our nominees, performers and their guests a fully safe and physically distant environment,” executive producer Robert Deaton said in a statement leading up to the big night. “We are honored, in this very challenging time, to help provide an escape and deliver a live awards show experience unlike any other this year.”
Miranda Lambert was the most-nominated artist of the night with seven nominations in categories such as Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year. Maren Morris took home three awards, the most of the evening, including Female Vocalist of the Year.
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