The 2019 CMA Awards embraced its theme of celebrating women in country music with a surprise performance of Little Big Town’s 2014 hit “Girl Crush.”
Immediately following her own performance of “Homecoming Queen,” Kelsea Ballerini was joined onstage by Lindsay Ell, who played the opening notes of the ballad on her guitar and mixed her voice with Ballerini’s. The trio Runaway June handled a few lines, before Duo of the Year nominees Maddie & Tae appeared. Ashley McBryde, fresh off being named New Artist of the Year, and Carly Pearce sang another verse, which set up the appearance of Little Big Town, who helped take the song to its conclusion.
— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) November 14, 2019
The 53rd CMA Awards opened with another all-women number, as co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton sang their rendition of “Those Memories of You,” a song that Parton originally recorded with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris for their 1987 Trio album. Tanya Tucker, Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, and Terri Clark also performed their signature hits as part of the show opening.
Earlier this week, Ell released her latest single “I Don’t Love You,” while Ballerini unveiled her single “Club.” “Girl Crush” was named Song of the Year at the 2015 CMA Awards and went on to win the Grammy for Best Country Song.