Jimmie Allen, Monica + Little Big Town Deliver Powerful ‘Pray’ at the 2022 CMT Music Awards
Jimmie Allen enlisted Little Big Town and R&B great Monica to join him onstage at the 2022 CMT Music Awards. Together, they performed "Pray," a song that features on Allen's Bettie James Gold Edition project form 2021.
It's the first time that "Pray" has been performed live on television.
Allen opened the performance at an upright piano, cloud-like smoke billowing in the background as he wore a bedazzled white suit with a cowboy hat to match. The theme of white clothing continued, as both Monica and Little Big Town soon emerged in their own dazzling, ethereal white outfits.
By the end of the song, the collection of artists came together in sweeping, gospel-esque harmony, the audience waving lit-up cell phones in the air as they cheered along.
Behind the stage, powerful images of people in prayer floated across several large screens. Older, black-and-white images were interspersed with newer images that seemed to be specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, featuring people wearing masks as they prayed.
The performance marked Monica's debut on the CMT Awards stage, but it's not her first venture into country music. In August 2021, the "Angel of Mine" star teased a country album, according to Rated RnB, saying that she had been in the studio with Brandi Carlile.
Collaboration comes easy to Allen: Not only is Bettie James an expansive collaborations project with artists from all genres and eras, but one of its duets, "Freedom Was a Highway" with Brad Paisley, earned a nomination for Collaborative Video of the Year at Monday night's show.
Meanwhile, it's a big night of performances for Little Big Town, who took the stage not once, but twice on this night. Earlier in the evening, they premiered their new single, "Hell Yeah," on the CMT Awards stage.
The 2022 CMT Awards aired live from Nashville on CBS. Kelsea Ballerini, Anthony Mackie and Kane Brown co-hosted the show. Brown was a last-minute addition to the hosting lineup, as Ballerini had to bow out of attending in person after receiving a positive COVID-19 test. She's still doing her part to host virtually from home.