Rock-star cameos at CMA Fest can go either way — in 2013, Lenny Kravitz struggled to win over the crowd — but Friday night’s surprise appearance by Joan Jett was a success. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member appeared at the midpoint of Carrie Underwood’s night-ending set to join the country singer on a medley of Jett classics, including “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” a song whose melody Underwood sang for three seasons as the theme of Sunday Night Football.
Jett was all swagger in front of the country audience, bashing at her guitar and punctuating “I Hate Myself for Loving You” with a fierce “ow!” It served to unleash the inner rock star in Underwood, an unabashed fan of hard rock who has been known to cover Guns N’ Roses and Skid Row in concert.
“I Hate Myself for Loving You” segued into Jett’s defiant “Bad Reputation” and then her version of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover,” before culminating with a stadium singalong of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
The Nashville cameo is the latest surprise appearance by Jett this week: on Tuesday she joined legendary punk band Bikini Kill in Brooklyn for a performance of the 1993 single “Rebel Girl.”
Underwood is currently in the middle of her Cry Pretty Tour 360. On Wednesday, she won Video of the Year for “Cry Pretty” at the CMT Music Awards, extending her streak as the most awarded artist in CMT history.