Toby Keith Brought Us All to Tears at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards
It certainly made the audience feel something.
Keith took the stage after a sincere, humorous tribute from Blake Shelton. The star accepted the Country Icon Award before singing — that came after a great one-liner.
"I bet you all never thought you’d see me in skinny jeans," Keith joked, referring to his thin frame on account of his health.
While Keith sounded strong, he and his wife Tricia's tears told anyone watching that his battle is A) either much more difficult than fans know, B) far from over, or C) both.
Visibly shaking, Keith worked through a ballad about fighting time.
"Try to love on your wife / And stay close to your friends / Toast each sundown with wine / Don't let the old man in," he sang.
Watch the performance in its entirety in the clip below:
"Don't Let the Old Man In" was written by Keith for the 2018 Clint Eastwood movie The Mule.
Shelton lauded Keith after performing Keith's hit "Who's Your Daddy?" During his speech, he shared several entertaining anecdotes from their time on tour together. He recalled one awards show where Keith lost every award he was nominated for.
Related: Toby Keith Cancer Update
“I was so excited to get under his skin," Shelton said before explaining how he told Keith he hopes he's nominated against him real soon.
The veteran cracked that he had brought Shelton on tour to prove he didn't need an opening act.
2023 People's Choice Country Awards Red Carpet Pictures
Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes