Exclusive: Carrie Underwood on CMT OK Tribute


As Oklahoma continues to sort out the devastation of a damaging EF5 (winds above 200 mph) tornado, a special tribute will be delivered by Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood in her performance at Wednesday's CMT Music Awards.

In an interview, exclusive to ET, with Underwood after one of her rehearsals for her performance, the 30-year-old country singer gave her reaction to the tornado's heartbreaking destruction and previewed her performance.

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Underwood, who was raised in Checotah, Okla.—a roughly two-hour drive from Moore, Okla., where the tornado hit hardest—said she was in Canada when she found out about the destructive cyclone and was scrambling to discover the full details.

"Being from Oklahoma, you know that can happen, but you're never prepared full for it. It's not real, I guess, until it actually happens," she said. "I'm really glad that we were able to donate to the Red Cross and do this for the CMT Awards."

Underwood said that she'll be performing her most-recent single off her fourth studio album, Blown Away, which earned Best Country Solo Performance at this year's Grammys.

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"I'm doing 'See You Again,' which is my current single," she revealed. "We just really wanted to do something really special with the song. ... Right now, I feel like it's very timely. There seem to be a lot of things happening, where I'm from especially—from Oklahoma."

The Blown Away singer highlighted that Wednesday's performance will be the first time in her career that she's sung with a choir, which makes the tribute even more special for her.

As the devastation hits close to home for Underwood, she said she tried to avoid watching a video package containing powerful images of the destruction that will play as she performs in order to prevent an emotional breakdown during her performance.

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"I saw what's happening on the screens behind me in my performance but I kind of half-watched it because if I'm up there singing and I know the images—and they're really powerful images...[are] going on behind me, I don't if I'll be able to keep singing."

Watch the exclusive video above for more from Underwood, and check out her performance at the CMT Awards Wednesday at 8/7 c on CMT.