Carrie Underwood Unites With Other Women In Country For Groundbreaking CMA Awards Performance

We're celebrating women in country music tonight at the CMA Awards! Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton & more took the stage to open the show!

CMA Opening Performance
Image Credit: REX/Shutterstock

We’re all redneck women tonight! Iconic country singers and the genre’s female newcomers braced the CMA Awards stage tonight to celebrate legendary female country songs through the decades. The show’s hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton were joined by Terri Clark, Gretchen Wilson, Sara Evans, Crystal Gayle, The Highwomen (comprised of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires), Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles and Tanya Tucker to perform the iconic hits. Carrie, Reba and Dolly opened up the medley with “Those Memories of You” (recorded by Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris), before welcoming Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, who performed Loretta Lynn’s classic “You’re Lookin’ at Country.”

Then, The Highwomen along with the iconic Dolly broke into Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad,” before Tucker joined the group for her 1972 smash “Delta Dawn.” Carrie, Dolly, Karen and Kimberly then backed up Gretchen Wilson while singing her empowering hit, “Redneck Woman,” Crystal Gayle on “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” Terri Clark on “Better Things to Do,” andSara Evans on her iconic “Born to Fly” before all the women joined Martina McBride for her soaring “Independence Day.” WOW, what a performance. For the opening number, Carrie stunned in a fringe orange mini dress, while Reba slayed in a blue gown and the queen Dolly Parton wore a bedazzled nude jumpsuit.

“The CMAs have decided that it’s an important enough time right now at this point in America and the things that we’re fighting, dealing with as women that it’s important to show the respect that country music has for women in this industry,” Gretchen Wilson told The Tenessean backstage during rehearsals. “We try to carry it on as females in country music. “We pay it forward. That’s what we’ve always done. Just like in any industry, the women in this industry have had a hard road ahead of them. We’re fighting the same fight everyone else is fighting, and we’re getting there slowly just like every other woman is.”


Expecting singer Maren Morris, who leads tonight’s CMA Awards with 6 nominations, also spoke to the outlet about the epic opening, during which her group The Highwomen sang Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl is Gonna Go Bad.” “(The show opening) feels like it’s how it should always be,” she said. “It’s incredibly natural and always timely to celebrate women in country music. Getting to sing that in the middle of all this beautiful chaos is a privilege. I can’t imagine a more representative way for The Highwomen to make their CMA Awards show debut than with Dolly and Reba and Carrie and Tanya. All of them.”

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