When Carly Pearce brought Wynonna Judd out onstage during CMA Fest, it wasn't just a surprise for the crowd, but a full-circle moment for the star.
Growing up in Kentucky, Carly has been a longtime fan of The Judds. Prior to her CMA Fest performance with Wynonna, Carly got to pay tribute to legendary duo when she performed "Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)" at their Country Music Hall of Fame induction in May.
But the event was marked by tragedy, as Naomi Judd had passed away the day before due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Carly now feels a sense of responsibility to help keep Naomi's legacy alive.
"I have loved Wynonna and The Judds my whole life. 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," Carly says.
The singer is already fulfilling that wish with a special performance alongside Wynonna that will air during the CMA Fest special Wednesday night on ABC.
When Carly was presented with the opportunity to sing with Wynonna during her set at Nissan Stadium, she chose The Judds' 1984 hit "Why Not Me," citing it as "one of my favorite songs of all time."
"I said, 'I've become friends with Wynona a little bit, so maybe I could see if she wanted to sing with me,'" Carly recalls of how the collaboration came about. "Wynona was my first concert when I was eight 8 years old, so this is the biggest full circle moment ever for me."