Wynonna Judd Makes Surprise Appearance at CMA Fest, Honors Late Mom Naomi

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Wynonna Judd made a surprise appearance at CMA Fest Friday in Nashville, Tennessee and paid tribute to her late mother, Naomi Judd.

The country star was brought out to the stage by Carly Pearce during her live set but before doing so, Pearce wanted to address the crowd and pay homage to Naomi as well.

"CMA Fest, we lost one of our absolute pillars in country music earlier this year: Miss Naomi Judd," said Pearce via The Tennesseean. "As a girl growing up in Kentucky, I idolized the Judds and wanted to be like them. My first concert was to see Wynona. And I've always loved all of the music that The Judds made and feel like it is such a representation of the best in country music. So, CMA Fest, please make welcome Wynonna Judd."

According to the outlet, Wynonna emerged from backstage teamed up with Pearce for duet as they belted out The Judds' 1984 hit "Why Not Me," prompting the 50,000 fans in attendance at Nissan Stadium to roar in approval. At one point, The Tennesseean reports Judd yelled, "I'm country, don't you understand" as she pointed skyward.

Carly Pearce and Wynonna Judd
Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Carly Pearce and Wynonna Judd
John Shearer/Getty Images

Wynonna and her sister, Ashley Judd, shared the news that their mother Naomi died on April 30 at the age of 76. Two weeks after her death, Ashley shared during a personal interview with Good Morning America, that Naomi tragically took her own life.  

Naomi’s daughters, along with her husband, Larry Strickland and a host of musical friends and family came together to honor her legacy during the Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration on CMT. During the public memorial special, Wynonna emotionally told the crowd that she would honor her mother’s legacy and carry on with their scheduled The Judds tour.  

The GRAMMY-winning musician tearfully told the crowd that she decided the show must go on, because that’s what her mother would have wanted.  

“So, I made a decision, that after a lot of thought, I’m gonna have to honor her, I'm gonna do this tour, because that’s what you would want. And mama once told me ‘Give them what they want. Not what you want.’” she said to the sounds of applause from the crowd.  


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