Carly Pearce Surprises CMA Fest Crowd, Brings Out Wynonna For Duet Of “Why Not Me”

Two women standing together
John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

A special performance from two Kentucky stars.

In one of the first big surprise appearances of this year’s CMA Fest, Carly Pearce welcomed Wynonna on stage during her set Friday night at Nissan Stadium to perform The Judds’ hit “Why Not Me.”

Carly first paid tribute to the late Naomi Judd, who we tragically lost a little over a month ago, just one day before The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Calling Naomi one of the “absolute pillars of country music,” Carly talked idolizing the mother-daughter duo as a young girl growing up in The Judds’ home state of Kentucky:

“My first concert was to see Wynonna. And I’ve always loved all of the music that The Judds made, and just feel like it is such a representation of the best of country music.”

She then welcomed Wynonna onstage to a roar from the Nissan Stadium crowd, welcoming the legend back to the stage for the first time since she performed at her mother’s memorial last month.

And as she left the stage after taking in the applause from the crowd, Wynonna had a message for those in the stadium:

“I love you. We need more celebration. Thank you for tonight.”

What an incredible moment – for Carly and for everybody else in the stadium.

Carly Pearce Honors The Judds During Country Music Hall Of Fame Induction With Cover Of Their Hit “Grandpa (Tell Me Bout the Good Ole Days)”

At the request of the family,the Medallion Ceremony for The Judds went on as planned after Naomi’s tragic passing. And Carly took the stage during the ceremony to sing one of The Judds hits, honoring the iconic mother-daughter duo with a stunning rendition of “Grandpa (Tell Me Bout the Good Ole Days).”

Originally written by Jamie O’Hara, the song was released in 1986 as the second single from their 1985 album Rockin’ with the Rhythm, and eventually peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Carly is a Kentucky native just like Naomi and Wynonna, and delivered a poignant and moving rendition of a beautiful song with a perfect performance:

She also posted a sweet tribute to The Judds on her own Instagram page with her thoughts on how much it meant to her to be apart of the special occasion:

“A few months ago, the Country Music Hall of Fame called me to ask if I would be a surprise musical guest honoring The Judds for their induction ceremony. I’ve loved them my whole life, so this was such exciting news.

Last night was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever had in my life… singing “Grandpa” in light of such tragic loss, looking in the eyes of Naomi’s beautiful daughters. I am forever grateful & send Wynonna and Ashley all my love. Long live the Judds.”

In another, separate post, Carly noted how much Naomi inspired her as a fellow Kentucky girl in the country music industry:

“Naomi Judd, like ‘Grandpa,’ told me about the good old days in country music and living.

She was a beacon of glamour, fun and keeping it real. And now… she’s in heaven AND the Country Music Hall of Fame! Thanks for showing a Kentucky girl how to make dreams come true.”

RIP Naomi.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock