The 2019 CMA Awards kicked off with a trip through country music history, anchored by some of the genre's most beloved women. Lead by co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, artists Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Crystal Gayle, the Highwomen, Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, Tanya Tucker and Gretchen Wilson delivered a tribute to the genre's female icons.

Underwood, McEntire and Parton took the stage with vigor, decked out in sparkles, fringe, and ruffles and began with Pam Tillis' "These Memories" -- a song also recorded for Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's Trio project. Nettles pointed out Loretta Lynn sitting in the audience as she and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman sang Lynn's “You’re Lookin’ at Country."

The Highwomen sang Tammy Wynette's “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad" as celebrities Reese Witherspoon and Pink clapped along. Tucker, glammed out in a midnight blue velvet and rhinestone-studded jumpsuit joined The Highwomen for her hit “Delta Dawn." The pace did not slow down as Wilson belted out "Redneck Woman,” Gayle sang "Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" and Clark manned her guitar for “Better Things to Do.” Evans and McBride rounded out the incredible act with “Born to Fly” and “Independence Day," respectively.

The Country Music Association is using the 2019 CMA Awards to celebrate legendary women within the genre. In addition to the show-opening performance, a number of other big country music female names will be onstage and performers and presenters throughout the night. Other collaborations planned for the show include Kacey Musgraves and Willie NelsonBrooks & Dunn and Brothers OsborneGarth Brooks and Blake SheltonChris Stapleton and Pink, and Dolly Parton with for King & Country and Zach Williams.

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