A slew of country superstars just delivered the shining moment of the CMA Awards Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

We knew this year’s CMA Awards would be a memorable one and we knew that as a genre, we would find a way to recognize 2017’s trials and tribulations in a way that would all make us proud.

What we didn’t know is that this recognition would come so soon.

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In the opening minutes of the 51st Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 8 and as country music’s biggest stars’ high heels and tuxes were barely off the red carpet, the much-anticipated awards show delivered on its promise of an “unprecedented opening collaboration.”

It all began with the amazing Eric Church. Flocked in just a spotlight in the middle of darkness, Eric hit an emotional note with a subdued version of “Amazing Grace” before the stage was taken over by artists such as Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and Keith Urban for a choral-infused version of the 1994 Hootie & the Blowfish song “Hold My Hand.”

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And then, things got even more emotional when the stage opened up to a slew of country stars helping out on the chorus, including Kelsea Ballerini, Garth Brooks and Thomas Rhett among so many others. It was the ultimate way to start the 51st annual awards show on the perfect note.

Lady Antebellum on performing at the CMA Awards

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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