The 2019 CMAs: A Celebration of Women in Country Music

Country fans and country fan-favorites enjoyed the 53rd Annual Country Music Awards on Nov. 13, which was filled to the brim with anticipated award categories and legendary musical collaborations. This year, the award show chose to specifically showcase the women in the industry. The show was hosted by Carrie Underwood, who was joined by Opry members Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire as cohosts. 

Courtesy: Fox News

The CMAs opened with a history-making medley by some of the biggest female names in country music. Hosts Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire were accompanied by The Highwomen (a side band of Maren Morris’s), Terri Clark, Jennifer Nettles (lead vocalist for Sugarland), Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Crystal Gayle, Tanya Tucker, and Gretchen Wilson. All of these singers sharing a stage together inspired in-person and at-home audiences through the performance’s strong message that emphasized the power of women. 

Courtesy: The Boot

Kacey Musgraves took home gold in two categories: Female Vocalist of the Year and Music Video of the Year for “Rainbow.” This comes right after she won Album of the Year at the 2019 Grammy Awards for her record Golden Hour. To top off Musgraves’s record-breaking year, many promotional ads highlighted her performance of “The Rainbow Connection” with music icon Willie Nelson. This duet was especially sentimental to Musgraves, who performed the same songwhen she was nine years old. 

Courtesy: Kacey Musgraves

Maren Morris also had a busy evening winning the Album of the Year award for GIRL, which features many popular songs such as “GIRL,” “The Bones” and “Make Out With Me” that radio listeners are familiar with. The powerhouse singer performed “GIRL” earlier in the night while showing off her recently announced baby bump. On Instagram, Morris wrote, “The irony is just too rich that after a year of living in the ‘GIRL’ headspace, the universe would give us a baby boy to even things out.” 

Courtesy: Taste of Country

In a soulful and moving performance midway through the show, Kelsea Ballerini performedan acoustic rendition of her song “homecoming queen?” without any background singers or elaborate sets —just her and her guitar on one of the stages in the middle of the audience. She led the way into a cover of “Girl Crush,” where Ballerini was joined by Little Big Town, Lindsay Ell, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, Maddie & Tae, and Runaway Jude.  

While the show was female-focused, the men of country music came out on top in some of the categories. Luke Combs, who released his newest album What You See Is What You Get on Nov. 8, won Male Vocalist of the Year. Country legend Garth Brooks enjoyed the top spot as Entertainer of the Year and highlighted many other artists in attendance during his acceptance speech, saying, “If they gave this award for this show tonight, I'd have to give it to Reba McEntire for her performance tonight of 'Fancy.' And Kelsea Ballerini — if you want to know what an entertainer is, take a guitar and just a single voice in the middle of an arena and shrink a room...fantastic performance. And Luke Combs, wherever you're at, this [Entertainer of the Year Award] has got your name on it in the future, hoss.”

Courtesy: Taste of Country

After the winners were announced, the 2019 CMAs undoubtedly left fans and critics eager for all of the new country music expected during this upcoming year. 

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