Hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton led the historic number, which also featured Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Crystal Gayle, the Highwomen (Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires), Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, Tanya Tucker, and Gretchen Wilson.
The singers performed iconic country songs spanning the decades. Underwood, McEntire, and Parton kicked things off with a rendition of “Those Memories of You,” the Highwomen performed Tammy Wynette’s 1967 hit “Your Good Girl is Gonna Go Bad,” and Evans sang her 2000 song “Born to Fly.” Other songs in the medley included “You’re Lookin’ at Country,” “Delta Dawn,” “Redneck Woman,” and “Independence Day.”
Loretta Lynn, the first woman to ever win Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs, was seen jamming along to the medley, and received a special shout-out on stage.
Before the performance, Nettles celebrated female artists in another way, by making a statement with her ensemble: a custom Christian Siriano suit with a pink satin train, which featured a message calling for equal radio play time for women performers. “Play our f—ing records,” it read. “Please and thank you.”
See the full list of winners here, and check out a clip of the medley below: