Just days ahead of the 54th Annual CMA Awards, both Lee Brice and Florida Georgia Line‘s Tyler Hubbard have had to drop out of country music’s most prestigious night, after testing positive for COVID-19.

Both nominees were set to perform, but now, they’ll be recuperating instead of taking the stage.

“It’s definitely a bummer…” double-nominee Ingrid Andress reflects. “It’s a reminder that it can happen to anybody. Anybody can get it. And just because you’re famous doesn’t mean COVID doesn’t come after your body.”

With the rigid protocols the Country Music Association has in place, Old Dominion‘s Matthew Ramsey says there’s no doubt he feels safe. 

“You have to go through a million tests and shields, and masks,” he explains. “And they’re really working hard to keep everybody safe.”

“And I do wish that the cases in Tennessee were different right now,” he adds, “but that’s just kind of the way it goes… You know, you’re gonna have people test positive. That’s just… what happens in a pandemic.”

Triple nominee Ashley McBryde is enjoying seeing her colleagues — from a social distance — and thinking about the ones who aren’t there.

“We’re following the rules, and I’m so glad because we get to at least be in the same building together,” she tells ABC Audio. “And I hope Lee’s feeling okay, and I hope Tyler’s feeling okay. But that’s just the reality we’re living in.”

Lady A‘s Charles Kelley will step in to sing Lee’s part with Carly Pearce on their hit duet, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” while FGL is no longer listed as a performer on the official CMA site.

You can tune in to watch Country Music’s Biggest Night, hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker — Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.  

By Stephen Hubbard
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