The best moment of the opening medley from Wednesday night's (Nov. 13) 2019 CMA Awards, aside from the spirited closing rendition of Martina McBride's "Independence Day," came when Jennifer Nettles pointed out a country music icon in the audience. The great Loretta Lynn was among the stars with a place of honor in the crowd as the opening number's all-female cast performed, among others, one of her well-known songs.

Eighty-seven-year-old Lynn was all smiles when shown during the CMA Awards' live broadcast. It was a homecoming of sorts for Lynn, winner of Female Artist of the Year at the first-ever CMA Awards show in 1967 and, just five years later, the first woman to win Entertainer of the Year.

The 2019 CMA Awards opening medley doubled as a celebration of Lynn's talented family: The onstage collective performed an excerpt from Lynn's "You're Looking at Country," with Nettles and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman on lead vocals. The gathering of talented women spanning the past 50 years of country music also sang part of "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" with Lynn's younger sister Crystal Gayle. Additional participants in the CMAs' opening medley included co-hosts Carrie UnderwoodReba McEntire and Dolly Parton, as well as Terri ClarkSara Evans, the HighwomenMartina McBrideTanya Tucker and Gretchen Wilson.

It's been a relatively slow year for Lynn, who suffered a stroke in May of 2017 and fell and broke her hip in early 2018. She's stayed largely out of the public eye, save for a massive birthday party at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena back in April and making public statements on social media to shut down tabloid rumors about her health and promote the recent Lifetime film Patsy & Loretta.

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