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Watch Keith Urban’s Knockout Performance of Stripped-Down Version of “The Fighter”

Keith Urban came out swinging on Wednesday night (Feb. 22) during an intimate performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The event was part of Country Radio Seminar, an industry-only gathering where radio programmers and personalities descend on Nashville for three days.

Gathered in the Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater, Keith talked with host Leslie Fram of CMT about his current album, Ripcord, and performed some of his No. 1 hits, including, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and “Break on Me.”

But it was a stripped-down version of “The Fighter” that stopped everyone in their tracks. The radio version of Keith’s current single features the vocal stylings of Carrie Underwood, but Keith was the only one in the ring for the performance on Wednesday night.

Watch Keith’s knockout performance below.

Prior to performing the tune, Keith shared a brief story behind the song that included his feelings about his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, as they began their relationship.

“The truth of it is, the beginning of the relationship with my wife was one of really wanting to—I’m sure you can relate to this too—someone comes into your life, like someone did into mine, who has been really hurt and they’re just looking for someone who will love them and be there for them and really, really protect them and take care of them,” Keith said from the stage.

“As a guy, I felt that way about my wife, but you need time to show it because otherwise it’s just a bunch of words—everyone’s heard all that before, but that’s all you got at the beginning,” Keith added. “So the conversation I had with my wife was really—a lot of these words were happening, ‘What if I fall, we’ll I won’t let you fall, and if I cry, I’ll never make you cry.’ Particularly with my wife, I wanted to take care of her innocent fragility as a human being.”

And with that, we all melted. Watch as Keith tell his story behind “The Fighter.”

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images