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After injuries, Carrie Underwood comes back with a tear-jerking single

Carrie Underwood, who has said stitches may alter her appearance, shared this photo with fans last week. | INSTAGRAM

In “Cry Pretty,” Carrie Underwood’s first new radio single since 2016, the country star wants her fans to know that even she ugly-cries now and again.

Underwood shared “Cry Pretty” ahead of her comeback performance at Sunday’s ACM Awards, the singer’s first appearance since suffering a fall in November, breaking her wrist and requiring 40-50 stitches on her face.

The track, released on digital platforms, 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. Yet, her personal struggles add nuance to “Cry Pretty’s” emotional songwriting, which otherwise might read as just a standard country ballad.

“And falling apart is as human as it gets / You can’t hide it, you can’t fight,” Underwood sings before getting to the track’s chorus: “You can pretty lie and say it’s OK / You can pretty smile and just walk away / Pretty much fake your way through anything / But, you can’t cry pretty.”

In a letter to her fan club on Tuesday, Underwood dedicated the song to the moments 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,” she wrote. “It’s emotional. It’s real. And it ROCKS!”

Ahead of Sunday’s appearance, Underwood also said that physically she’s “doing pretty darn good these days.”

“My wrist is almost back to normal, about 90 percent there…and the docs say that last 10 percent will come in time. And my face has been healing pretty nicely as well.”

After previously telling fans she may look “a bit different” due to the stitches, Underwood shared several pictures of her face to social media last week.