Jason Aldean, who was on stage when the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting began, opened up the latest episode of Saturday Night Live with an emotional performance that had viewers across the country sounding off.
Before he went into a cover of the late Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," he began with a message to all the victims and their families affected by the attack.
"This week, we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history," Aldean said. "Like everyone, I'm struggling to understand what happened that night, how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, and they are all part of our family.
"I want to say to them, we hurt for you, we hurt with you. You can be sure that we are going to walk through these tough times together, every step of the way. Because when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit are unbreakable."
This message fo unity has acclaimed by many online, but it also stirred up a bit of drama, as well.
Scroll through to see some of the reactions.
The initial response to the appearance was overwhelmingly positive.
Many viewers saw his nationwide address as unifying, comforting and brave.
Which the added touch of Petty, who died on Oct. 2,many thought it was the perfect way to make a statement after such as traumatic week for many.
@Jason_Aldean Great SNL opening - well done! Thank you— Julie B. (@JBPNW9) October 8, 2017
@Jason_Aldean Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. What a great tribute on SNL. We Love 💘 you!— Kim Johnson (@TKimJohnson) October 8, 2017
The morning after, there was a surprising outcry from conservative fans. Some said the message was just fine, but he shouldn't have delivered in on the show.
Many took to Twitter to criticize Aldean for making the statement on SNL, as opposed to the UFC event in Las Vegas on Saturday.
A lot of onlookers see the sketch comedy show as too advertently liberal with no interest in unifying with the conservative parts of the country.
Good message. Wrong platform to give it from. SNL only seeks to divide and spit on this great nation.— Sean Freedom (@Mwgfghost) October 8, 2017
Wrong venue. Saturday Night Live doesn’t care one bit about “unity”.— Chris W (@ChrisDWojcik) October 8, 2017
I'm sure a lot of people missed it Jason Alden , because S. N. L. Is so political against Prez. another show another time would be nice🇺🇸— What's Up (@WhatsUp90780453) October 8, 2017
Defense of Aldean
As those criticisms and other knocks against Aldean for not doing more during the shooting began, numerous people took to his defense.
Fans and non-fans alike joined together to take up for the country singer. Many echoed the previous acclaim for the poignant Petty cover as well as pointing out that he reacted as anyone would during a mass shooting.
"If you have a problem with Jason Aldean performing on SNL, that's a you problem," wrote one user.
If you have a problem with Jason Aldean performing on #SNL, that's a you problem.
Also, anyone on stage during a shooting would take cover. pic.twitter.com/uJ48uXkyFU— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) October 8, 2017
It actually made me teary and even more so with him covering Tom Petty.
Why would anyone have a problem with him performing?— Ꮆ૯ɱ & ੮Һ૯ Һ૦Ն૦૭Րคɱς (@Gemma__Eleanor) October 8, 2017
Absolutely disgusted by people attacking Jason Aldean. I try not to judge people who have experienced a horribly traumatic event.— Dr. Nora, PsyD (@DoctorNora) October 8, 2017
Saturday Night Live airs every week at 11:30 p.m. EST on NBC.
Photo Credit: NBC / Will Heath