Carly Pearce turned her 2022 CMA Fest performance into a legendary moment, destined to go down in country music history. On Friday (June 10) evening, the "Next Girl" singer stood before a lively audience on Nissan Stadium's mainstage and paid tribute to the late icon, Naomi Judd.
Before Pearce welcomed Wynonna Judd to the stage, she reminded fans of how the mother-daughter duo shaped the genre and touched upon the legacy that the Country Music Hall of Famer left behind.
"CMA Fest, we lost one of our absolute pillars in country music earlier this year: Miss Naomi Judd. As a girl growing up in Kentucky, I idolized the Judds and wanted to be like them," shared the reigning Female Artist of the Year according to The Tennessean. "My first concert was to see Wynonna. And I've always loved all of the music that the Judds made and feel like it is such a representation of the best of country music, So CMA Fest, please make welcome Wynonna Judd."
In a glistening black ensemble, the 58-year-old songstress stepped under the spotlight to join Pearce on The Judd's 1984 classic, "Why Not Me." A new type of CMA Fest magic consumed the outdoor venue, as the two tackled the groovy hit.
"Let's go back to the '80s, shall we?" said Judd to concert-goers before taking the lead on the initial verse. From the very first note, Judd sent a chill down listeners' spines with her award-winning country-rock twang. Judd gave Pearce permission to join in on the chorus and encouraged fans to sing along. The thunderous call and response brought a beaming smile to the resilient hitmakers' face, proving that their timeless music will live on for decades to come.
Following the unforgettable night, Judd took to social media to share her gratitude and to reminisce on the impromptu act.
"Friday night at Nissan Stadium was the most amazing celebration of Judds music," she shared alongside a carousel of photos. "70,000 people singing the words to "Why Not Me" back to us, WOW. Country music fans really ARE the most loyal!!!! I'm grateful to still have a seat at the table. #cmafest."
Notable names in the industry instantly flooded the comment section to thank the vocalist for her endless contributions.
"You will always have a seat at the table. At the head of the table. You are loved beyond words," said critically acclaimed producer Shane Mcanally. "We are beyond proud of you. You bring so much light into this world. We are all so thankful for you," uttered a fan.
Pearce told The Tennessean why the performance with Judd holds significant weight.
"You also want your heroes to kind of nod and pass the baton to you to be the next generation that they feel like, 'country music is safe in your hands,'" the young vocalist explained.
The surprise show serves as a sneak peek into her upcoming 11-city tour with fierce females in country music. The Judds: The Final Tour has turned into a star-studded tribute to her mother and duo partner. Brandi Carlile, Little Big Town, Faith Hill, Ashley McBryde, Martina McBride, and more will appear on select dates. The "Ultimate Girls Night Out" will begin on September 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Judd will take her final bow in her home state of Kentucky in late October.