The 2020 CMA Awards took over Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday night (Nov. 11), but as the novel coronavirus hits the highest-ever new daily cases in the United States, there were a few empty seats at country music’s biggest night.
A number of CMA performers and presenters had to pull out of the show in the week leading up to the event, as they reported positive coronavirus tests. In response, the Country Music Association issued a statement, noting that its policy of testing artists before they come to rehearsals is working.
“As you may have heard, unfortunately Lee Brice and Tyler Hubbard both tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to join us for the CMA Awards on Wednesday night,” reads the statement. “Although this is incredibly disappointing, not only for the show but also for CMA personally as we care deeply for these artists and only want the best for them and their families, it does reassure us that our protocols are working. Our process enabled us to manage each situation immediately and before either artist ever entered our set. Most importantly, it prevented anyone else from being exposed. We have been extremely diligent with our testing process in advance of anyone entering our footprint. Every single person has been tested, and many will be tested repeatedly throughout the week. This is in addition to wearing PPE and of course practicing social and physical distancing. We have an incredible show planned and look forward to bringing the Country Music community together. However, our number one priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our artists, our crew and our staff. That will never be compromised.”
See below for all the artists who missed the 2020 CMA Awards due to COVID-19.
Brice was scheduled to perform with Carly Pearce, and luckily, Lady A’s Charles Kelley filled in. The country singer is “in good spirits and not experiencing any symptoms,” a representative told the Associated Press. Brice will be isolating at home until he’s cleared by a doctor, according to the statement from his rep.
Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard
The singer took to Instagram on Sunday night (Nov. 8) to share a photo of a tour bus in his home’s driveway. “Any ideas why I would have my tour bus parked in the drive way?” he asked his followers. The next day, he confirmed that he “Got the Rona.”
“Asymptomatic. Quarantining on bus. Miss my family. Writing songs. Thankful,” he wrote. See the post here.
Just hours before the ceremony, the trio announced that they will not be attending this year’s ceremony after a family member tested positive for COVID-19. “Sadly, one of our immediate family members has just tested positive for COVID-19 this week,” they tweeted.
“So far, the three of continue to test negative, and out of caution and love for everyone involved with the CMAs, we’ve decided to stay home from the awards tonight,” the statement continues, before adding that Kelley pre-taped his performance with Pearce.
“We’ll be cheering on our friends at home like the rest of y’all! Stay safe out there,” the note concludes.
Fleenor was scheduled to take the stage with Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne and Ashley McBryde for a tribute to country music icon Charlie Daniels, but pulled out last minute due to a positive COVID-19 test. “I am thankfully feeling just fine, just bummed of course,” she tweeted.
Fleenor was replaced was Bentley’s fiddler, Dan Hochhalter.
“Hey Y’all, we wanted to let you guys know that we have received a positive COVID test within the band,” the group tweeted. “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. We miss y’all and stay safe!”