After a months-long delay as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards finally aired on Wednesday (September 16.) Unsurprisingly, country music's biggest awards show looked pretty different this year. Not only were performances spread out across multiple venues, including the Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry House, the artists were also without an audience.
If there was an audience at the Grand Ole Opry on Wednesday night, Mickey Guyton surely would've received a standing ovation for her moving performance of 'What Are You Gonna Tell Her?'—undoubtedly one of the most powerful moments of the evening. Host Keith Urban played the piano for Guyton as she belted out her emotional lyrics. "What are you gonna tell her / when she figures out / that all this time you built her up / just so the world could let her down?" Guyton sang, asking parents what they will tell their children who think "life is fair, and God hears every prayer, and everyone gets their ever after."
It's clear that Guyton moved her country music peers as well as her fans. Tenille Townes, Cam, Kelsea Ballerini and more praised Guyton on social media following her performance.
Ahead of the awards show, Guyton chatted with Entertainment Tonight about the song, which addresses racism and sexism. "There's not a single woman that I know that hasn't gone through something, and I just hope that this song and people hearing me sing it inspires change," she said. "I hope this song gives everybody that fire within them to change to help make change for our future."
"Starting my career off, I never thought of myself as some activist," Guyton continued. "I was actually always someone that kind of just stayed in the back and didn't want to make any noise or rock the boat —and then everything kind of shifted for me. To step in that role as a woman, as a Black woman, it is such an honor that people are giving me this opportunity to be heard and to hopefully incite change. It means the world to me."