The 53rd Annual Country Music Association Awards took place last night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Carrie Underwood hosted the awards with special guest hosts Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton. In the past, Brad Paisley hosted alongside Carrie Underwood but this year, females ruled the stage at the 2019 CMA Awards.
Female empowerment was a running theme throughout the night. The country music genre has been criticized in the past for its lack of inclusion; artists and management companies point to the the male-dominated charts and male-dominated award shows of the past as proof of gender disparity. However, this year’s award ceremony was the first time that women have been nominated in every category, save for Male Vocalist of the Year.
The show kicked off with a groundbreaking performance from an all-female cast singing a barrage of hits, with the oldest dating back over 50 years. Currently, the “Women of Country Music” video is trending high on YouTube, signaling the shifting tides for women in country.
Other notable performances include Maren Morris’ moving rendition of her hit single GIRL. The star, who has been dubbed the next-gen “Voice for Women in Country Music,” also took home the Album of The Year award for GIRL.
Additionally, queen of country music Dolly Parton performed again later in the night with Christian pop duo For KING & COUNTRY, singing a “God Only Know” / “There Was Jesus” / “Faith” medley. Parton recently earned her first No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic charts thanks to her collaboration with DJ duo Galantis. She first appeared on the Billboard charts 53 years ago.
Outside of country music, others stars at the event included Halsey, who performed with Lady Antebellum and received a standing ovation; Nicole Kidman, in attendance supporting husband Keith Urban; Pink, who performed with Chris Stapleton; and Gigi Hadid, who accompanied friend and award-winner Kacey Musgraves. Check out the gallery of stars below for a full highlight reel of who shined on the red carpet.