The CMAs promised an unforgettable all-star performance by some of country music’s biggest female icons.
Show host Carrie Underwood with her co-hosts Reba and Dolly Parton opened the show with no introduction – they didn’t really need one – with “Those Memories of You,” a song that was popularized by another iconic trio that featured Dolly: the Dolly Parton/Emmylou Harris/Linda Ronstadt trio from the ’80s and ’90s.
Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman performed Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Lookin’ At Country” (as Ms. Loretta watched from the audience).
Then, the Highwomen performed Tammy Wynette’s “Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” before being joined by Tanya Tucker for her own “Delta Dawn.” Gretchen Wilson then joined them for her own “Redneck Woman” — where she mentions “And I know all the words to every Tanya Tucker song!”
Crystal Gayle sang “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” followed by Terri Clark who sang “Better Things To Do,” and then Terri Clark who sang “Better Things To Do.”
The medley ended with Martina McBride leading everyone through “Independence Day,” and the chorus of “Let freedom ring!” got everyone in the crowd out of their seats (although most of the crowd was standing and singing along anyway).