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Underwood to lend voice to tornado relief on CMTs

The Associated Press, Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 10:44am (PDT)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Carrie Underwood will pay tribute to the victims of the recent deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma when she appears at the CMT Music Awards.

Underwood will perform her new single "See You Again," recasting it as a somber memorial with the aid of two dozen choir members from Nashville's Christ Church.

"The choir, I've never done that before and they just kind of take it to a whole ethereal place," Underwood said Monday night following rehearsal.

Viewers will be directed how to donate to the Red Cross during the performance at Wednesday's awards show, airing live at 8 p.m. EDT from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Tornadoes have killed dozens in Oklahoma in the last two weeks, leading to an outpouring of support from country music stars. Blake Shelton hosted a televised telethon and Toby Keith, Ronnie Dunn and others are planning a benefit concert for later this summer. Underwood recently gave a $1 million check to the Red Cross from concert proceeds as well.

Underwood grew up in tiny Checotah, about 115 miles east of Oklahoma City, and is familiar with the terror of tornado season.

"The people in Oklahoma are really great," the former "American Idol" winner said. "Tornado season is something that we're all used to but you can never fully prepare for it. It takes what it wants and it knocks down what it wants and there's nothing you can do about it except just try to be prepared. They're just wonderful people and they're going to rebuild and they're going to bounce back stronger than ever."

The performance is just one of several events going on in Underwood's life as summer approaches. She got a sneak peak Monday at her Country Music Hall of Fame "Blown Away Tour" exhibit that opens this week. She celebrates five years with the Grand Ole Opry on Friday. And she'll close out the CMA Festival's nightly concerts with Sunday night's headlining slot.

It's been quite the run, starting with a little ruckus she raised with The Rolling Stones. The performance came May 25 on the eight-year anniversary of her "Idol" win, something she realized shortly before taking the stage in Toronto.

"It was kind of crazy timing," Underwood said.

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