I love this city.

Nashville, Tennessee. Home of everything wonderful.

Can I say that again? I love this city.

This Thursday, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the CMA Awards for 2012. The celebration started the evening before, where I was able to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal with Rachel Wyatt, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2013, and Laura Kaeppler, my Wisconsin sister and Miss America 2012. Being able to spend some time with these incredible ladies was such an amazing experience. Being able to see my former tour manager Miss Dianne brought back so many memories from my year as MAOT 2010. Both of them were attending the CMA Awards as VIP guests and I couldn’t be more excited for them!

Great friends!
Great dessert!

I could hardly pay attention in class Thursday morning as I thought about the evening that was ahead! Because my friends Callie and Cole and I had all been extras in a movie {an experience that I’m going to write about soon!} we got to be seat-fillers for the awards. We had to get there really early and wait in line for a long time, but we got a chance to make some new friends who have been part of the music and acting industry here in Nashville.

Being a seat-filler means that you fill out the crowd if there are empty seats and sit where celebrities do if they go to receive an award. Being able to see the show FOR FREE seemed like a pretty great deal in return. We were on the floor for the opening act, and then moved to the back stage for the rest of the show. While that did mean that I was pretty far away from Taylor Swift, Hunter Hayes, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, and others, I did get up close and personal with the performers on the back stage. I was standing right behind the bassist for a number of different bands.

During one of the acts at the end of the show, I asked the bassist what they were going to play. He said “Blown Away,” and at that moment I realized that I was about to get up close and personal with none other than Carrie Underwood. I immediately rushed as far as possible as I could towards the stage as the rest of the crew was setting up. And then…I saw her.

Standing there, in all of her glory, the amazing Carrie Underwood.

My heart did a ton of funny things as I realized that it was her, in the flesh, about to perform! She walked over to where we were to talk to one of the tech guys, and all of us on the floor started to scream. She then apologized in advance about how her dress was about to go flying everywhere and how we were probably going to see the less glamourous side of the show. She then walked back to the center of the stage and proceeded to deliver a performance that literally blew me away!

Although that was probably my favorite part of the night, words can’t describe how incredibly grateful I was to be a part of that night. It seemed like a culmination of the reason I came to Nashville. Memories of being in seventh grade and playing my guitar in front of the Grand Ole Opry came back into my mind. Because even though I’m not Lady Antebellum or The Band Perry or Little Big Town or Taylor Swift, we all share something in common. The love of music, something that transcends time and space. And for one night, we were all in the same city, the same arena, celebrating that love and sharing it with each other.

So excited to see where my adventures in Nashville take me next!

—xox0, Jen


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