Wynonna Judd made her grand return to CMA Fest earlier this summer. The four-day star-studded festival took place from June 9 through June 12, with the event being broadcast on ABC and streamed on Hulu on Wednesday. During her return performance, Judd paid special tribute to her late mother, Naomi Judd, who passed away in April at the age of 76.
Judd returned to Nashville's Nissan Stadium for a surprise performance with fellow country star Carley Pearce. Pearce hosted the Friday night set that included performances from Gabby Barrett, Cole Swindell, Lainey Wilson, and herself. For the final song, Pearce brought out Wynonna, and they sang The Judds' famous single "Why Not Me," which amassed 14 No. 1 Billboard country hits in the '80s, together. However, before Judd took the stage, Pearce introduced her with a special message noting her and her mother Naomi's impact on country music.
"CMA Fest, we lost one of our absolute pillars in country music earlier this year: Miss Naomi Judd," Pearce said on stage in a special moment that was witnessed firsthand by PopCulture's own John Connor Coulston. "As a girl growing up in Kentucky, I idolized the Judds and wanted to be like them. My first concert was to see Wynonna, and I've always loved all of the music that the Judds made and feel like it is such a representation of the best of country music. So CMA Fest, please make welcome Wynonna Judd."
The special tribute and Judd's return to CMA Fest came just weeks after Naomi tragically passed away on April 30 at the age of 76. Her daughters, Judd and Ashley Judd, later confirmed that their mother died by suicide after a lengthy battle with depression. Speaking on Good Morning America, Ashley said, "when you're talking about mental illness, it's important to distinguish between the loved one and the disease. My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish and she was walked home."
Naomi's death came just one day before The Judds were formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. When the group was formally inducted, Pearce was on hand performing The Judds' hit "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)." A memorial service for Naomi was later held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.