Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde "Never Wanted to Be That Girl," but in their new single, they both are in different ways. The pair performed the single during the 2021 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 10).

Essentially a song of pain, this performance of "Never Wanted to Be That Girl" was nothing short of beautiful. Visually, the mix of Pearce's all-white outfit paired with McBryde's all-black pantsuit was quite striking. And the fact they seemed to be adhering to social distancing rules at the beginning of the song was a nice look — but by the last verse, the two walked towards each other, cementing the overall meaning of the song as they stared into each other's eyes. Sonically, their voices blended like they were always meant to come together to tell this story.

"Never Wanted to Be That Girl" appears on Pearce's newest album, 29: Written in Stone. The pair co-wrote the song with Shane McAnally, and while the song has drawn comparisons to Reba McEntire and Linda Davis' 1993 hit "Does He Love You," Pearce says the trio went out of their way to distance themselves from that song.

"That is a timeless piece of art that can never be topped or even matched," she says. "And for me, and for Ashley, we wanted to do a different perspective."

The Country Music Association held the 2021 CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The show, hosted for the first time by Luke Bryan, returned to the venue — its home since 2006 — after one year at Music City Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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