The CMAs honor the best in country music, so they would have been amiss not to give the late Loretta Lynn a shout-out. Fittingly, they found a way to honor her right off the bat -- by asking superstars Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Reba McEntire to perform Lynn's best melodies.
Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, And Reba McEntire Honor Loretta Lynn At CMAs
Underwood Kicked Off The Proceedings With A Bang
Underwood began the tribute by taking center stage and lilting through the first lines of Lynn's 1966 classic hit "You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)." Then Lambert took things up a notch with her take on "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)."
McEntire then reminded the audience of her superstardom by singing a moving take of 1971's "You're Lookin' at Country," before the other two women joined her to sing "Coal Miner's Daughter," thus bringing things home.
Throughout the performance, photos of Lynn played on the screen behind the women.
McEntire Had A Mother-Daughter Bond With Lynn
"Mama and Loretta were four years apart, mama being the oldest. They always reminded me a lot of each other," she wrote. "Strong women, who loved their children and were fiercely loyal. Now they're both in heaven getting to visit and talk about how they were raised, how different country music is now from what it was when they were young. Sure makes me feel good that mama went first so she could welcome Loretta into the hollers of heaven."
She continued: "I always did and I always will love Loretta. She was always so nice to me. I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers."
Loretta Lynn Once Smacked Carrie Underwood's Backside
For her part, Underwood went for a funny story when it was time for her to honor Lynn after her passing. On Instagram, she described the moment in which she first met Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry.
"This is one of my most favorite stories to tell," Underwood wrote at the time. "I think it sums up her personality pretty well. She was a cantankerous little pistol…friendly and sweet…never afraid to be herself and speak her mind."
Lynn also, according to Underwood, "smacked [her] on the rear end!"
Lambert Also Paid Tribute
As for Lambert, she wrote at the time, "[Lynn] blazed so many trails for all of us girls in country music."
To see the women's tribute to Lynn, check out the 2022 CMAs on ABC On Demand or Hulu.