Carly Pearce and Wynonna Judd Join Forces To Honor The Late Naomi Judd With ‘CMA Fest’ Performance

Carly Pearce, Wynonna Judd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Carly Pearce, Wynonna Judd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Carly Pearce and Wynonna Judd teamed up for a surprise performance of The Judds’ 1984 hit, “Why Not Me” during CMA Fest. 

Pearce welcomed the Country Music Hall of Famer to the music festival during her set. 

Carly Pearce, Wynonna Judd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Carly Pearce, Wynonna Judd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“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. My first concert was to see Wynonna,” Pearce explained from the stage. “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.”

Judd entered the stage with a smile, prompting fans at Nissan Stadium to rise to their feet to welcome her. 

The performance served as a tribute to the late Naomi Judd and fans sang along in her honor. 

While promoting the CMA Fest TV special, Pearce opened up about the opportunity to share the stage with one of her musical heroes. 

Carly Pearce, Wynonna Judd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Carly Pearce, Wynonna Judd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“I have loved Wynonna and The Judds my whole life,” she said (quote via ABC). “I’ve been so fortunate to get to be a part of some of the very special ceremonies to honor Naomi. And with her passing, I think that it has shined a light on me that I’ve loved them forever and it is my duty as one of the country females to make sure that her legacy stays alive.”

She later called their CMA Fest called the “biggest full circle moment ever.”

Carly Pearce’s CMA Fest set also featured performances of songs such as “Next Girl,” “Hide The Wine,” and “Never Wanted To Be That Girl.” Those portions were not televised on ABC. 

Carly Pearce; Photo by Natasha Moustache, CMA
Carly Pearce; Photo by Natasha Moustache, CMA

For her performance, Pearce dazzled fans in a pink beaded Dundas minidress, Alexandre Birman heels and Joselie earrings. 

CMA Fest ABC Special was filmed in Downtown Nashville at Nissan Stadium during the star-studded, four-day festival, which took place Thursday, June 9 through Sunday, June 12.

The three-hour music event of the summer featured 30+ performances and surprise collaborations from some of Country music’s hottest stars, including Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Russell Dickerson, Lady A, Parker McCollum, Darius Rucker, Cole Swindell, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Lainey Wilson, and Zac Brown Band and more. 

Carly Pearce; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Carly Pearce; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

The Music Event of Summer, which marked the 49th year of the festival, was hosted by first-time hosts Dierks Bentley and Elle King.

“I think Elle brings so much to the table,” Bentley shared. “Onstage she’s just a riot and also super talented – a great combination of talent with comedic humor. A lot of spontaneous moments between the two of us and just a lot of laughs.” 

“I am co-hosting this whole shebang,” King added. “Not only do I get to do it with my buddy Dierks, I also get to see all these incredible performances and be a part of a big party!” 

The CMA Fest special aired at 8/7c on Wednesday, Aug. 3 via ABC Network and will stream via Hulu on Thursday (Aug. 4).

Additionally, CMA Fest will return to Nashville in 2023 for its 50th anniversary. The event will take place June 8-11 and tickets are on sale now