9 Moments You Can't Miss From the 2019 CMA Awards

A star-studded female opening number, Kacey and Gigi's solo cup moment and Reba's "Fancy" onstage quick change

01 of 09

Jennifer Nettles' Fashion Statement

Jennifer Nettles attends the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Music City Center on Novem
Jennifer Nettles. John Shearer/WireImage

The Sugarland singer made a bold fashion statement on the red carpet in an ensemble designed in collaboration with Christian Siriano and artist Alice Mizrachi, featuring the words, "Play our f*@#!n records, please & thank you."

Nettles spoke to USA Today about taking a stand for more gender equality when it comes to radio play on country music stations. "When I found out that the CMAs were going to be celebrating women this year, I thought, 'What a fantastic opportunity to take the conversation beyond the applause tonight,'" she said on the live stream. "I wanted to send a message: Play our records."

02 of 09

Thomas Rhett & Lauren Akins Joke About Their Growing Family

Willa Gray Akins, Thomas Rhett
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The "Life Changes" singer and his expecting wife hit the red carpet with daughters Ada James, 2, and Willa Gray, 4, and opened up about preparing for their little one on the way.

"I think I was born to be a dad of girls, and it’s been a lot of fun," the male vocalist of the year and album of the year nominee told Entertainment Tonight.

"My wife wants five kids, and when we get to five, she’ll probably want seven," he joked. "I want to wake up when I’m 55, and go to Thanksgiving, and have a thousand people at our Thanksgiving table."

03 of 09

Pink & Carey's Country Crew Hit the Red Carpet

Jameson Hart, Willow Hart, P!nk and Carey Hart
John Shearer/WireImage

Before taking the stage for a duet with Chris Stapleton, Pink hit the red carpet with husband Carey Hart and their kids, daughter Willow and son Jameson.

The little ones got into the sartorial country spirit, with 8½-year-old Willow wearing a dress featuring carousel horses and her brother, who turns 3 next month, rocking an adorable cowboy hat and boots paired with a studded jacket.

04 of 09

The Epic All-Female Musical Opener

Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, Jennifer Nettles, Sara Evans, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood
Sara Evans performs with Little Big Town and Danielle Bradbery. Terry Wyatt/Getty

Carrie, Dolly and Reba, yee-haw!

To kick off the 2019 CMAs, co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton were joined onstage by a slew of fellow country queens to help celebrate the night’s theme of country’s legendary women with performances by some of the biggest names in the industry: Martina McBride, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, The Highwomen’s Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires, and more.

05 of 09

Reba's "Fancy" Fashion Moment

Reba McEntire
ABC

The co-host and 50-time CMA nominee wowed the crowd with a fierce rendition of her classic '90s hit "Fancy." But she was determined to surprise, even while performing a standard: After strutting onto the stage in a bedazzled purple silk robe complete with feathered sleeves, Reba slipped out of her chic-yet-comfy look to reveal the sparkling red “dancin’ dress” featured in the song.

But she didn’t stop there! As the song hit its peak, she stayed true to the lyrics, and Fancy didn’t let us down: in one fell swoop, the country crooner dropped her dress mid-stride, showing off the matching red pantsuit underneath.

06 of 09

Kacey Musgraves Gives Gigi Hadid a Taste of Country

Gigi Hadid and Kacey Musgraves
ABC

The female vocalist of the year recipient — who’s single "Rainbow" already took home music video of the year — brought pal Gigi Hadid as her date to the show, where the pair danced along to the star-studded female opening number while sipping on drinks straight out of a country-song staple: red Solo cups.

07 of 09

A Celebration of Country’s Next Generation

Jennifer Wayne, Naomi Cooke and Hannah Mulholland of Runaway June, Ashley McBryde, Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town, Carly Pearce, Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye of Maddie
John Shearer/Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini and Lindsay Ell kicked off the night’s second star-studded group performance with a rendition of Little Big Town’s 2014 hit “Girl Crush.” The duo were soon joined onstage by Runaway June, Maddie and Tae, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde and the members of Little Big Town. After the performance, LBT vocalist Karen Fairchild gestured towards the musicians on stage and said, "You’re looking at the future of country music right here."

08 of 09

Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban Rock Out

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
ABC

Kidman may not have revived her iconic Oscars seal clap, but she didn’t shy away from dancing and clapping along to the upbeat performances alongside her Big Little Lies BFF Reese Witherspoon and husband Keith Urban, who later performed his song "We Were" onstage.

09 of 09

Thomas Rhett’s Sweet Slow Dance

thomas rhett
ABC

Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson’s duet of his song “Rainbow Connection” was tear-jerking enough on its own, but the waterworks kicked up a notch when the camera panned to Rhett rocking 4-year-old daughter Willa Gray in his arms to the ballad.

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