Loretta Lynn made a surprise appearance at the 2019 CMA Awards in Nashville on Wednesday night, and the country music legend "had a blast" at the show.
The 87-year-old singer sat front-row at Bridgestone Arena as some of her genre's leading ladies opened the 53rd annual show with a star-studded tribute to its legends, including Lynn. Jennifer Nettles and Little Big Town singers Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlpman sang her 1971 hit "You're Lookin' at Country" as part of the bigger medley.
During the performance, the camera cut to Lynn smiling in the audience, where she was seen mouthing, "Who's that singing?" to the woman next to her when Schlapman was singing.
Following the ceremony, the singer, who won Female Vocalist of the Year at the first-ever CMAs in 1967, spoke to Us Weekly about her rare night out, saying that she couldn't have had a better time.
"I just loved sitting front and center at the CMAs," she told the outlet. "I was so proud of all of the artists. I know what it’s like to sit there hoping they call your name out for an award."
After adding that she was "especially proud" of Garth Brooks for winning his record-extending seventh Entertainer of the Year award ("I just love him so much," she said), the Kentucky native gushed about all of the powerful female singers who took the stage throughout the show.
"I thought all the girls rocked the stage last night in their salute to women in country music," she explained. "I saw so many friends and was practically up all night! I had a blast."
Making Lynn's celebrated return at a public event even more special was the fact that, just two years ago, the singer suffered a stroke in May of 2017. Seven months later, in December of the same year, she broke her hip.
Lynn wasn't the only legendary country music star in attendance at the 2019 CMA Awards, however: Both Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire helped Carrie Underwood co-host the ceremony, while Willie Nelson performed towards the end of the night with Female Vocalist of the Year winner Kacey Musgraves.
See what everyone wore to the 2019 CMA Awards below: