There was a running theme throughout last night’s 2019 CMAs. New and old country songs were sung by several women from different genres of music. Pop artists such as Halsey and Pink graced the CMA stage, as well as dozens of female country singers. Along with the empowering performances, a number of female country artists also took home some big awards. Here are some of the best moments.
The Opening Number
Several female country singers, including hosts Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, took the stage to perform the opening medley. The three women sang a rendition of “Those Memories of You.” Jennifer Nettles, Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman took on “You’re Lookin’ at Country,” and then the Highwomen sang “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad.” Several other artists sang a handful of their own songs including, Gretchen Wilson, Sara Evans, Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gale, Terri Clark and Martina McBride.
Halsey and Lady Antebellum
The country duo and indie pop singer graced the CMA stage to perform a beautiful medley about not being able to let go of a lost love. The performance was simple. Lady A’s Hilary Scott and Charles Kelley sat beside Halsey on the dark, smoke-filled stage. The performance began with Lady A’s “What If I Never Get Over You” before leading into Halsey’s “Graveyard.” Each heartbreaking ballad told a similar story, so the songs fit together seamlessly.
Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson
Musgraves‘ stellar year isn’t over yet. The singer took the stage with Nelson to sing an acoustic rendition of “Rainbow Connection” from the 1979 “The Muppet Movie.” The very peaceful performance was fitting for the dreamy song, and Musgraves ended it with a lyric from her own song “Rainbow,” singing “It’ll all be alright.” Musgraves posted a video to her Instagram later that night showcasing her nine-year-old self singing the same song. “A [WILLIE] FULL CIRCLE MOMENT,” she said.
Maren Morris Busbee Tribute
Though this wasn’t a performance, Morris’ speech after winning Album of the Year was a memorable moment. The songstress thanked her family and manager before tearfully mentioning her late producer, Busbee.
“I would be really remiss if I didn’t mention a huge facet of why this album sounds the way it does, and we miss him so dearly,” Morris said. “He texted me the morning that we got the nomination for album of the year this year, and we were so excited — that’s our friend, Busbee.”
Busbee, who died this past summer, produced a majority of the songs on “GIRL.” His wife attended the CMAs, and Morris addressed her in her speech as well.
“His wife, Jess, is here tonight and she looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your husband with us once a month,” Morris said. “My heart goes out to you and your beautiful daughters. I hope when they listen to this album… I hope they know how amazing their father was. Thank you country music, thank you to the fans, thank you.”
See the full list of winners here.