Carly Pearce was very much looking forward to singing "I Hope You're Happy Now" with Lee Brice at the 2020 CMA Awards, and when she found out he can't because he tested positive for COVID-19, she was upset, to say the least.

"I almost wrecked my car," Pearce tells Taste of Country. "I was just like, 'What is happening?'"

Brice is one of two mainstream country artists who tested positive prior to the 2020 CMA Awards, with Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard also having to skip the show due to a positive coronavirus test.

Pearce's duet partner on her chart-topping song is said to be in good spirits and not experiencing any symptoms while isolating at home. Still, she very much wanted to share this moment on television — and perhaps one or two awards wins — with him.

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"I'm so bummed for him," she says. "But I'm so grateful to the CMAs that they wanted me to still perform the song."

CMA Awards Executive Producer Robert Deaton is the one who suggested Charles Kelley fill in for Brice. Kelley was already in the CMA COVID protocol, as he's set to sing with his group Lady A and Darius Rucker during in the show. They agreed he'd be the perfect fill-in.

"I kinda held my breath ... like, 'Please Lord, let him be able to do it,'" Pearce recalls. Even though she has performed it by herself before, "I Hope You're Happy Now" was written as a duet.

"We all felt like you just miss a part of the story if you don't have that male voice to it. I really felt like it was the right move to bring somebody else in," the "Next Girl" singer says.

"I Hope You're Happy Now" is nominated in the Song of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Musical Event of the Year categories at this year's CMA Awards. She's also nominated for New Artist of the Year, a prize that will be televised on ABC on Wednesday night (Nov. 11).

Remember: The best way to watch the 2020 CMAs is on TV, with ToC on your phone!

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