CMT will celebrate the most accomplished women in country music from the last two decades with a new special debuting Friday (May 6) at 10 p.m., ET/PT. Titled What’s Your 20? 20 Greatest Women, 20 Years , the two-hour special features interviews with Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire and Taylor Swift, as well as Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Keith Urban.
Although the network compiled the list of contenders, the final rankings were determined by fan voting on CMT.com.
During the special, artists and journalists elaborated on what makes these women so special. For example, Swift said, “Dolly Parton is one of the best writers in history. And the fact that she has continued to feed off of inspiration from her life for her incredibly long career, it’s just mind-blowing.”
Alison Krauss echoed those statements, saying, “There’s nothing ever changed about the way she sings or the way she says things. It’s always her no matter what environment she’s in.”
Parton returned the compliment, stating that Krauss “is just so pure and so natural and I just think she’s brilliant.”
In addition, Lambert discussed Emmylou Harris, noting, “She’s one of those women that’s completely helped shape me as a musician.”
Meanwhile, Urban spoke highly of Reba McEntire. “When she performs, when she sings, when she talks … She’s just a compelling individual with such a strong light,” he said.
Eric Church reflected on Shania Twain’s success, saying, “When you talk about the greatest women or the greatest anything, they own their era. And for her a lot of people tried to copy her but nobody ever quite got it done.”
Trace Adkins praised Patty Loveless by saying, “You just close your eyes and listen to her sing and you think, ’That’s what angels sing like.'” He also described Lee Ann Womack as “probably the finest country singer I’ve ever heard. Period.”
Along with the women mentioned above, the special shines a light on the Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood, as well as Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum.