Even country stars get overwhelmed with raw emotions from time to time Sebastián Monsalve/YouTube screenshot
Sebastián Monsalve/YouTube screenshot

The struggle is real. How to remain looking like the superstar you are when you’re so overwrought with emotion that your face screws up, the color rises in your cheeks and the tears start to fall. It’s the “ugly cry.”

Newcomer Kelsea Ballerini owns her ugly cry, predicting that it’s coming at industry events where she is being honored for her accomplishments, but let’s face it, she’s far from ugly. That goes for Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelly Clarkson and Kellie Pickler, too. Somehow, their moments of raw emotion only serve to make them more human to us and often find us weeping right along with them.

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Oh, and hold on just a moment. Country music’s lovely ladies aren’t the only ones known to drop a tear. Our sensitive gentlemen aren’t afraid to show their vulnerable sides as well. In fact, tears pouring down Keith Urban’s face while Kelly Clarkson sings “Piece by Piece” may be one of our all-time favorite moments on “American Idol.”

If you don’t know about some of these intimate moments, you can relive them here, but you might want to grab a box of tissues first.

A continued and genuine thank you to these country stars for allowing us to share in these exciting, personal and sacred events.

1. Miranda Lambert

Nostalgia speaks to all of us, but when you have thousands and thousands of fans singing those memories louder than you, then you know you’re making a connection. Ran does a good job of holding it together… for a second. And we love her for it.

2. Carrie Underwood

It’s a rare event that Carrie is anything other than poised, gracious, smiling and bubbly, and while these are happy tears, she is most more than just misty-eyed when receiving the ACM’s Gene Weed Special Achievement Award. Precious girl.

3. Kelly Clarkson and Keith Urban

During an appearance on “American Idol,” Kelly recalls the very personal and painful story of her relationship with her father in juxtaposition to the relationship with her husband. The honesty and pain of it all is just more than judge Keith Urban can bear.


4. Kellie Pickler

Kellie’s story alone is enough to make you choke-up — raised by her grandparents after her father was imprisoned and her mother abandoned her and her brother. But when she sings it in front of an industry crowd, it brings her and us to tears.

5. Kelsea Ballerini

It’s one of the most precious moments in an artist’s life, when they receive their first industry award, but Kelsea ups the precious factor, even after a faulty mic stalls her thank yous. It’s the good kind of “bless her heart.”

6. Kenny Chesney

You can hear the normally jovial Kenny Chesney’s voice crack from the very start of “Better As a Memory.” Perhaps that’s because a packed stadium starts the song right along with him. Or perhaps it’s because the song is so heartfelt.

7. Vince Gill

Vince has been tapped to sing at many funerals for Opry legends, but when he and Patty Loveless perform at his pal George Jones’ funeral, it’s too much for him to bear, but remember, it was Possum (George) who gave Vince the moniker “Sweet Pea.” It takes us over the edge to see Patty reach out to her friend in comfort.

8. Luke Bryan

Do you ever see Luke Bryan not smiling? We can answer that — rarely, which is what makes it so special when he can’t hold it together after winning ACM Entertainer of the Year. His sincerity is so endearing, half the crowd is boo-hooing, too. It’s precious.


Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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