In recognition of the influence and impact of female artists in country music, for the first-time ever, CMT dedicated its annual CMT Artists of the Year special to the women of country music—past, present and future. Wednesday night’s (Oct 17) honorees included Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. The coveted “Artist of a Lifetime” award presented to icon Loretta Lynn.
Keith Urban honored former duet partner and tour mate Carrie Underwood, who declared to her fellow honorees that “you are not here because you are a woman, you are here because you are dang good.” She added “I want little girls to see us on stage and know this is possible.” She then joined forces with Runaway June and Maddie & Tae for a performance celebrating the biggest female country artists and hits over the last 50 years including: Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” The Judds’ “Rockin’ With The Rhythm of the Rain,” Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” Faith Hill’s “Wild One,” Reba’s “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” and Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”. The medley closed with Carrie’s latest hit single “Cry Pretty.” The massive medley closed the show.
Runaway June and Maddie & Tae will be openers for Carrie’s “Cry Pretty” tour, set to kick off in 2019.
Watch Carrie Underwood, Runaway June and Maddie & Tae perform a medley of iconic female country hits below.