Cry Pretty (song)

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"Cry Pretty"
Carrie Underwood, Cry Pretty official cover art.jpg
Single by Carrie Underwood
from the album Cry Pretty
ReleasedApril 11, 2018 (2018-04-11)
LabelCapitol Nashville
Carrie Underwood singles chronology
"The Champion"
"Cry Pretty"
"Love Wins"
Music video
"Cry Pretty" on YouTube

"Cry Pretty" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music singer Carrie Underwood. It was released on April 11, 2018, as the lead single from her sixth studio album of the same name.

Writing and composition[edit]

"Cry Pretty" was written by Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose, and Lori McKenna.[1] About the song, Underwood said:

"The title refers to when emotions take over and you just can't hold them back. It really speaks to a lot of things that have happened in the past year and I hope when you hear it, you can relate those feelings to those times in your life. It's emotional. It's real. And it rocks!"[2]

Critical reception[edit]

"Cry Pretty" received positive reviews upon its release. Billboard praised its subject matter, writing, "The four-minute song digs deep into the difficulty of "dressing up" heartache with fancy rhinestones and lace when all you want to do is break down and cry, building to a sky-high crescendo in the final minute, where Underwood unleashes the full, soulful power of her voice."[3] NPR praised Underwood's delivery, writing that her "performance communicates the same weary rage these classics do, the injustice of being expected to keep it together so that the world is a little better-looking, a version of country's tragic punchlines that could only be sung by a woman."[4] USA Today praised the song, writing "The track is a promising return for Underwood, featuring an enduring melody that's instantly more memorable than "The Champion", her Super Bowl theme she released in January. For country music's unshakable sweetheart, "Cry Pretty" shows Underwood in full empowerment mode, even if she's not always in control of her emotions."[5]

Best-of lists
Publication Rank List
Billboard 1 The 20 Best Country Songs of 2018[6]
Rolling Stone 11 25 Best Country Songs of 2018[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song debuted at number 20 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart for the week ending April 21, 2018.[8] It peaked at number 9 on that chart, becoming Underwood's 27th consecutive top ten single and extending the record for most consecutive top ten singles from the start of a career.[9] The following week, the song topped the Digital Songs chart with 54,000 sold, becoming the first country song to top that chart since 2014.[10] It also became Underwood's first ever number one on the Digital Songs chart and reached number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming her 27th consecutive top ten single. It also debuted at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100.[11]

In Canada, the song debuted at number 83 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. On the Canadian Country Songs chart, it debuted at number 35 and has reached number 8.

"Cry Pretty" debuted at number 94 on the Scottish Singles Chart before moving to number 75 in its second week.[12]

As of September 2018, the single has sold 189,000 copies in the United States.[13] The song was certified Gold by the RIAA on November 7, 2018.[14]

Music video[edit]

Underwood first posted a short teaser clip for the official music video of the song on May 3, 2018, with a note at the end of the clip saying "official video coming soon". The video premiered during the May 6 episode of American Idol.[15] It was directed by Randee St. Nicholas.

The video begins with Underwood in the shower, then shows her walking onstage getting ready to perform the song. This is intercut with scenes of her in her dressing room, bedroom, shower and limousine, where she is seen crying. It was filmed over two days at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium and at the Noel Hotel in Nashville. [16]

Live performances[edit]

Underwood performed the single live for the first time at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 15, 2018, marking her first public appearance since November 2017.[17] The performance was very well received and she received a standing ovation from the crowd.[18] Billboard ranked it as the best performance of the night.[19]

On May 13, 2018, Underwood performed the song live during the semi-final of American Idol.[20] On May 11, she performed the song during her ten-year Grand Ole Opry anniversary celebration,[21] and at the 2018 CMT Music Awards on June 6, 2018.[22] Underwood's performance of the song was shown during the CMA Music Fest on August 8.[23]

Underwood performed this song at 2018's CMT Artist of the Year in the ending of her performance along with Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man." From there, her 2019 tour mates Maddie & Tae and Runaway June joined her on the next seven songs: Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," The Judds "Rockin' with the Rhythm of the Rain," Martina McBride's "Independence Day," Faith Hill's "Wild One," Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard from You," and Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" [24]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[34] Gold 500,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Awards and nominations[edit]

Teen Choice Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2018 "Cry Pretty" Choice Country Song Nominated

Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2018 "Cry Pretty" Music Video of the Year Nominated

CMT Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2019 "Cry Pretty" Video of the Year Won


  1. ^ Underwood, Carrie. "Carrie's Letter To Fans". CarrieUnderwoodOfficial. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  2. ^ "Carrie Underwood Gives Health Update & Talks New Single in Open Letter to Fans: 'I Feel More Like Myself'". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Gil. "Carrie Underwood Doesn't Hold Anything Back on Emotional 'Cry Pretty': Listen". Billboard. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  4. ^ Powers, Ann. "Ahead Of Her Return, Carrie Underwood's 'Cry Pretty' Does Some Heavy Lifting". National Public Radio. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  5. ^ "Carrie Underwood's new song 'Cry Pretty' is an emotional comeback". USA Today. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Billboard Staff (December 19, 2018). "The 20 Best Country Songs of 2018: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Jonathan Bernstein (December 19, 2018). "25 Best Country and Americana Songs of 2018". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Carrie Underwood's "Cry Pretty" Erupts As Country Radio's Most Added Song". Headline Planet. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "Carrie Underwood Is Sitting 'Pretty' As She Links Her 27th Straight Country Airplay Top 10". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Carrie Underwood's 'Cry Pretty' Is First Country No. 1 on Digital Song Sales Chart Since 2014". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Carrie Underwood's "Cry Pretty" Debuts on Billboard Hot 100". Headline Planet. April 23, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100 – Official Charts Company". Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Bjorke, Matt (August 14, 2018). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles: September 5, 2018". Roughstock. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Carrie Underwood Premiering 'Cry Pretty' Video on 'American Idol'". Taste of Country.
  16. ^ Maslow, Nick (May 6, 2018). "Carrie Underwood's Tears Flow in First Music Video After Receiving Over 40 Stitches in Her Face". People. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Pasquini, Maria (April 9, 2018). "Carrie Underwood Will Debut New Single at the ACMs, Returning to the Stage for First Time Since Accident". People. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "Carrie Underwood Stuns With Emotional 'Cry Pretty' ACM Awards Performance". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "2018 ACM Awards: All the Performances Ranked". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  20. ^ Hermanson, Wendy (May 13, 2018). "Carrie Underwood Delivers Another Perfect 'Cry Pretty' for 'Idol'". Tasre of Country. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  21. ^ Brickey, Kelly (May 15, 2018). "Carrie Underwood Commemorates Her 10 Year Opry Anniversary". Sounds Like Nashville. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  22. ^ Betts, Stephen L. (May 29, 2018). "Carrie Underwood, Backstreet Boys Added to 2018 CMT Music Awards". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  23. ^ "Carrie Underwood Puts On Awe-Inspiring, Fan-Loving Show at CMA Fest 2018". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Carrie Underwood Closes CMT Artists of the Year with 50 Years of Songs". Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  25. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  26. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  28. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  30. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "Cross Rhythms– Year-End 2018". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  32. ^ "Country Airplay – Year-End 2018". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  33. ^ "Hot Country Songs – Year-End 2018". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  34. ^ "American single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Cry Pretty". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.