Back in November of 2017, country superstar Carrie Underwood took a serious tumble on stairs in her Nashville home and came away with a broken wrist, cuts and abrasions, and a facial laceration that required more than 40 stitches to repair. Though the mishap was non-life-threatening, Underwood lowered her public profile to almost nil, dropping out of sight while she recovered and refusing to reveal images of the damage to her face. No one blames her for that but the celebrity monster must be fed and millions of fans around the world couldn’t help wondering if the crooner’s flawless skin and face would still be the same?

On Sunday, Underwood had her injury coming out party at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, performing her new single, “Cry Pretty” in her first public appearance since the accident. Combined with recent challenges, the emotional ballad is a good candidate to fly quickly up the charts. Underwood won the award for Musical Event of the Year – for “The Fighter” with Keith Urban – and was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Though she warned fans to ready themselves for her appearance to be different, the close-up face shot she posted to Instagram after rehearsals was anti-climactic. Same ol’ Carrie, people.

Though her features appear to have made a full recovery, with no discernable evidence of scarring, there’s no doubt that the experience was a long, traumatic process, as is documented by the words in “Cry Pretty,” which she says was motivated by the fall and its aftermath and she hopes serves as an inspiration to people going through emotional experiences of all sorts.

The performance of her new song, complete with smeared mascara, illuminated the fact that the road back from the fall in Nashville hasn’t been an easy one, filled with pain, self-doubt, and fear that the physical and emotional scars might be more than she could bear.

Underwood claimed that the ordeal did have a silver-lining in one aspect. The “forced relaxation” forced her to dial back a normally hectic schedule and spend more time with her husband Mike Fisher and three-year-old son, Isaiah, which was a good thing. But performers must perform and Ms. Underwood presumably itched to get back on stage. Which she did in predictable Carrie Underwood fashion at the ACM Awards.

The only thing left to say is welcome back, Carrie.