Country music’s biggest night is officially underway and the history-making opening performance did not disappoint.
To kick off the 53rd annual CMA Awards, which is celebrating the legacy of women within country music, one dozen female artists took the stage to deliver a powerful salute.
Co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton opened the medley with Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris’ 1987 hit “Those Memories of You”, before a slew of female artists joined the hosts on stage.
Jennifer Nettles was joined by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman to take the reigns on Loretta Lynn’s 1971 classic “You’re Lookin’ at Country”, while Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby — collectively known as The Highwomen — appeared on the opposite side of the stage to perform Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.
The celebration wouldn’t be complete without Tanya Tucker breaking into her 1972 hit “Delta Dawn”.
Other highlights from the medley included Underwood, Parton, Nettles, Fairchild and Schlapman backing up Gretchen Wilson on her iconic song “Redneck Woman” before all 11 women joined Martina McBride for her anthem “Independence Day”.
See some social media reaction from the epic opening number below: