The 2019 CMA Awards red carpet ranked best to worst

The 2019 Country Music Association Awards red carpet on Nov. 13, 2019, brought out the good, the bad, the ugly, and, let’s face it, the super tacky (but in the most charming ways). This year’s ceremony was hosted by three amazing female country icons — Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Reba McEntire — and plenty of female artists made huge statements, both during the show and with their fashion choices.

The hostesses made plenty of jokes at Parton’s expense as they opened the show. Underwood carried the time-honored torch referencing Parton’s ample bosom at any given opportunity, by quipping of their backstage area and dressing room, “It’s a fog of hair spray and shoes and costume changes … and for some reason Dolly’s rack is so much bigger.” Most of the women had a slew of outfit changes throughout the evening, but the real talk was about what they wore on the red carpet. Here are the best and worst looks of country’s big night.

Dolly Parton is the queen of the 2019 CMA Awards (and also everything forever)

This is a small reason why Dolly Parton is the icon that she is, but for The 53rd CMA Awards, the “I Will Always Love You” singer rocked a champagne beaded, sequined, and sparkling number that showcased her famous curves.

The Dollywood founder joked onstage while hosting with Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire, “Carrie and Reba, I just love them. They’re big now, I know they have a lot of fans and they’re big on social media. Now I’m big on social security!” McEntire retorted, “Dolly! That’s not true! You know you’re ageless and timeless … and that parts of you are barely legal.” 

Parton accessorized with sparkly diamond earrings, a necklace, and rings, as well as platform heels. If you look closely, you can also see Parton’s signature tattoo-covering sleeves, which are as sparkly as her dress, and her green and pink eyeshadow. Does anyone do it better?

Jennifer Nettles used the 2019 CMA Awards to make a serious statement

Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles took making a statement to a new level with her 2019 CMA Awards look. According to USA Today, the back of her oufit read “EQUAL PLAY,” while the inside of her cape-jacket hybrid (above) read “PLAY OUR F*@#!G RECORDS PLEASE & THANK YOU.” Telling the outlet she designed her part-gown, part-pantsuit ensemble with Christian Siriano and art by Alice Mizrachi. Nettles said, “When I found out that the CMAs were going to be celebrating women this year, and we had three women as the hostesses this year, I thought, ‘What a fantastic opportunity to take the conversation beyond the applause tonight, and to send the message to the industry that we’ve all been trying to send for a number of years now, that says women are important in country music, and women need to be represented and played equally on country radio and on country playlists.”

Nettles said that women on country radio and in country playlists only had “16 percent” representation and demanded country media change their programming to better represent female artists. “[I] wanted to send a message that said: ‘Play our records,'” she reiterated. “It’s time to go beyond just clapping. It’s time to go beyond the lip service of saying, ‘It’s getting better.'”

Hannah Brown's 2019 CMA Awards dress gets the final rose from us

Hannah Brown didn’t get to rock a white dress after The Bachelorette, but seeing her in this snowy number from Atelier Zuhra (that she told Entertainment Tonight was inspired by the mirror ball she hopes to win on Dancing With The Stars) makes us really wish that she had. She’s one of the few people on the planet who can rock cap sleeves comfortably, and the waist sash on this dress drew attention to her hourglass figure. The simplicity of the high neckline (resembling a crew neck T-shirt) with the elaborate pattern and full skirt was a lesson in balance … and the pockets! She paired the number with subtle yet dazzling earrings and a bold, classic red lip. Somewhere, Jed Wyatt is kicking himself, and he deserves it.

Gabby Barrett's 2019 CMA Awards look makes the dark side seem quite inviting

Talk about a black magic woman! Gabby Barrett rocked a high-neck, floor-length, black beaded and sequined gown with an elaborate tessellation pattern. She let the dress speak for itself, and didn’t try to compete with it anywhere else: She matched her manicure to her sparkly onyx number and rocked a clean, high ponytail, and smoky eyes paired with simple, clean makeup. The rock on her all-important finger and her shoulder-grazing earrings completed the expertly-executed glam look. Here’s hoping the “I Hope” singer paid her stylist handsomely.

Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd brought a third on the 2019 CMAs red carpet

Maren Morris is leaning into the “boy” phase of her life after the release of Girl. The singer, who’s expecting a baby boy with husband Ryan Hurd in March, rocked a baby blue off-the-shoulder crop top and full skirt by Hoynada in honor of the bun in her oven, she told Entertainment Tonight. And, is she still rocking ripped abs while pregnant? Yeah, life just isn’t fair for the rest of us. 

Anyway, Morris also sported serious lashes, glossy lips, glowing skin, and gorgeous drop earrings. Hurd also made a massive improvement from last year, rocking a midnight blue Dolce & Gabbana suit.

Nicole Kidman gets weird and wins the 2019 CMA Awards

Nicole Kidman went for whimsical on the 2019 CMA Awards red carpet and came out a winner. The statuesque beauty, arriving on the arm of husband Keith Urban, rocked an aubergine sequined number from Versace (per Glamour) with hot pink and orange feather accents and fringed hem, coupled with a bright red purse and coral heels. Kidman’s makeup was understated, with peach tones on her lips, eyes and cheeks to warm up her face, her hair swept back in an easy-breezy up-do with front pieces down to frame her face, and a mani-pedi matching her deep scarlet gown.

Ashley McBryde's jumpsuit rocked the 2019 CMA Awards red carpet

The award for best jumpsuit of the night goes to Ashley McBryde! The “One Night Standards” singer sported a burgundy ribbed number with a bootcut leg, a deep V-neck and gold necklaces. Part of what mades her ensemble so great was that it allowed McBryde to proudly flaunt her tattoos — including an eagle on her upper chest — without them being obscured or distracting from her outfit. She accessorized with stacked bracelets, a studded clutch, gold rings, tan booties and a great Rogue-style stripe in her hair.

Natalie Hemby was a colorful character at the 2019 CMA Awards

Songwriter extraordinaire Natalie Hemby’s look for the 2019 CMA Awards was a work of art. From the neck up, Hemby was an exercise in monochromatism, rocking the same magenta on her eyelids, lips, and earrings. It matched one of the patches on her black gown (the others were bright yellow and cobalt blue), and yes, it had pockets (our fave, if you couldn’t tell). The only slight caveat is the neckline: Featuring a cape-like ruffle near the shoulders and a seam across the upper chest, it felt a bit too busy when paired with the colorful bottoms, but it was subtle enough to still make this ensemble a win.

Carrie Underwood cried pretty … mediocre at the 2019 CMA Awards

Carrie Underwood is basically the homecoming queen of every country music event, but that doesn’t mean she’s always the best dressed. For the 2019 CMA Awards, her sheer brocade Elie Madi gown had a high neckline with gold pyramid studs, bronze embellishments throughout, and a baby blue chiffon cape-like train, and a super-short lining. Underwood paired the gown with Jimmy Choo heels and Maxior and Loree Rodkin rings, bronze eye makeup, and coordinating jewels. She looked stunning, of course, but she’s done better in her 12 years of hosting the show — a feat that she commemorated with 12 different outfits throughout the night.

“Carrie’s carpet look is full of hand beading and intricate embroidery, perfect for country’s biggest night,” her stylist Marina Toybina told People. Co-stylist Courtney Webster added, “We love the unexpected mix of color with the seafoam green tulle and the bronze beaded details. That’s something that Carrie does so well, mixing glam and edge with femininity and sparkle.”

Brandi Carlile goes green for the 2019 CMA Awards

Brandi Carlile seemed like she was having the time of her life at the 2019 CMA Awards. The Highwomen founding member rocked a sparkly green suit like nobody’s business. Her jacket, by Sanne London (per ET), boasted leopard print accents on the pockets, cuffs, collar and bodice, and she paired the pantsuit with a salmon pink Gucci pussybow top, super-subtle makeup, and tousled curls. The only knock is her footwear choice: Her tan ankle Saint Laurent bootsaren’t terrible, but if her pants were just a smidgen longer, the entire look would be more flattering.

Karen Fairchild's 2019 CMA Awards look left us roaring with applause

Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town took a pretty big risk with this animal print number by Alex Perry, featuring patterns from tigers and leopards interwoven with one another, plus a cape and a train. Thankfully, the “Over Drinking” singer didn’t overdo it, instead opting for soft beige and taupe with a muted black to avoid veering into Peg Bundy territory. Paired with black platform heels, delicate silver jewelry by Levian and Noudar, basic pink lip gloss and major lashes, Fairchild is one fair lady indeed.

Miranda Lambert embraces her wild (flower) side at the 2019 CMA Awards

Miranda Lambert showed off her wild side — her wildflower side, that is — at the 2019 CMA Awards in a magenta Tony Ward gown that was emblazoned with dandelions. The “It All Comes Out in the Wash” singer flaunted her curves in her gown and heels, which is a testament to her body confidence. The petite powerhouse told Health in an interview published just days before the award show, “I’ve hit a comfortable place; this is pretty much my size. I’m a size 6, give or take five pounds, depending on the day. It’s so good to find your place. I don’t like being onstage worrying about my body. That’s the last thing I want to be thinking about. I don’t give my best performance when I’m distracted by my insecurities.”

Crystal Gayle DGAF and was the HBIC of the 2019 CMA Awards

Some stars try too hard to look like they’re not trying. Some stars, however, like Crystal Gayle, genuinely don’t try — and it’s actually charming. Gayle, who dropped her first album in 16 years in September 2019, rocked leggings, a black sparkly tunic, and a red floral open cardigan. She completed the look with several necklaces, including one of an Evil Eye, and studded black boots, a belt and dangling earrings. Is it formal? Heavens no. But does it work? Yes, and she’s probably having more fun than everyone else who’s busy adjusting their Spanx all night.

Gigi Hadid wasn't quite white hot at the 2019 CMA Awards

Gigi Hadid showed up to the 2019 CMA Awards as a surprise alongside Kacey Musgraves — and like the “Velvet Elvis” singer (who we’ll get to in a moment), Hadid almost had an amazing red carpet look. Her slinky white Helmut Lang gown was stunning, but her white crocodile boots are unflattering with it. Further, it’s unclear whether she wore a slip under her dress or if thats’ just an unfortunately visible bra — but either way, it’s a problem that a supermodel who’s walked for the world’s most famous lingerie brand should easily be able to avoid. That said, her gold jewelry and sparkly matching eye makeup were gorgeous. Also, purely speculative, but isn’t it interesting that both of Tyler Cameron’s famous exes (Hannah Brown being the other) wore white?

RaeLynn went for Old Hollywood at the 2019 CMA Awards, but fell flat

RaeLynn’s 2019 CMA Awards red carpet look was amazing in theory, but fell a bit short in practice. The Voice alum clearly aimed for Old Hollywood glamour here — check out her curls and subtle cat eye — but the tailoring mades her dress look more like an unlicensed Marilyn Monroe costume (or Lady Gaga from the 2016 Golden Globes) than a style pulled straight from the silver screen. The low neckline, combined with ruching on the front of the gown, make it look slightly droopy, and the gloves on the sleeves weren’t worth the sacrifice of a good fit. In fairness, at the time of the show, most of the country was under a deep cold spell, so we can’t say we blame her for opting for something covered up and cozy.

Tanya Tucker loves herself and we love her and her 2019 CMA Awards red carpet look for it

Tanya Tucker’s brown suede was a choice. The teal accents were a choice. The hat was a choice. The high-low hem was a choice. The boots were a choice. It was all a choice. It was a busy choice, yes, and a tacky choice, sure — but look at her. She looked happy, confident, and fabulous (and her coordinating teal eyeliner actually looks awesome with her pink-tinted hair). However misguided her fashion choices may be, she owns them and chances are she doesn’t give a rat’s behind what we think. Bless her for living her best life.

Pink was a little rusty at the 2019 CMA Awards

Pink looked like like she was a little bit too into the Thanksgiving spirit. Rocking a rust and copper-colored dress, the singer’s high neckline and ruffled look simple at first, but there was more detail than at first glance. The dress had a subtle seam at the waist that looked almost like a belt or sash, and Pink’s lip gloss, eyeshadow, and manicure rocked coordinating copper and crimson tones to her dress. The weak link was, unfortunately, the headgear, which made the entire ensemble feel more like a failed pilgrim costume and less like a red carpet affair. Thankfully, she had the cutest accessories of the evening: Son Jameson and daughter Willow, who were adorably on theme.

Don't be fooled: Amanda Shires tried at the 2019 CMA Awards

Amanda Shires committed what may be a cardinal fashion sin at the 2019 CMA Awards: She tried too hard to look like she wasn’t trying. The pantsuit without a shirt could have been a statement of effortlessness on its own, but paired with the double buns, chunky black platforms, super smoky eye, cool gold earrings, and tons of rings, the Highwomen singer looks like a tween who tried on her big sister’s clothes. Driving home that impression is the fact that her jacket and pants don’t seem to fit her properly, and the proportions make her legs look shorter than they really are. Compare that to her 2017 look from the same event, where she genuinely didn’t try — and made a strong statement nonetheless.

Halsey was all mixed up at the 2019 CMA Awards

Halsey looks good in just about anything, but the Ledo number she chose for the 2019 CMA Awards didn’t do the chameleon pop star justice. The dress was pretty confusing to the eye: The skirt and bodice mix textures with black lace and the pink floral print. The neckline is nice on its own, but looks odd paired with the long sheer sleeves, and the belt is both unnecessary and unflattering. If this dress stuck with all of one theme and texture — floral or lace, not both— and ditched the unnecessary accessories, it could have been a contender instead of a “Nightmare.” That said, how cute is Halsey as a redhead — and how awesome was her performance with Lady Antebellum?

Pam Tillis needs a comeback from this 2019 CMA Awards comeback attempt

Presenter and CMAs vet Pam Tillis is on a comeback tour after signing a deal to release her first album in 12 years — but it’s a shame that this is how she made one of her first major appearances to promote it. Imagine Kim Kardashian’s tragic 2013 Met Gala “couch dress.” Make it goth and add in shoulder-grazing feather earrings (why?) and Isabella Rossellini’s helmet-like bob hairstyle from Death Becomes Her, and you’ve got poor Pam Tillis’ 2019 CMA Awards look. On the bright side? Her smoky navy eyeshadow is unique and makes her peepers pop. 

Kacey Musgraves' 2019 CMAs look really wasn't pageant material

Kacey Musgraves is stunning, and this shade of yellow is beautiful on her — but this dress just wasn’t. What’s so tragic about the “Rainbow” crooner’s gown is that if she would have opted for all sequins like the top and bodice, especially in the champagne, gold, and canary color scheme, this would have been an absolute knockout number. Unfortunately, the feathers may as well have been applied with tar, because they ruined the whole thing.

Musgraves’ stylist, Erica Cloud, previously told People of her fashion choices, “Kacey and I discussed the next phase in her career both musically and aesthetically. We both love the ’70s and color pairing and felt there was a way to interpret that through her wardrobe. We wanted her clothing to be a nod to the past but grounded in the future, like her music, and to create a strong overall look that felt familiar but aspirational and visually impactful.” Impactful, yes. Aspirational? Eh, maybe if you’re asking how to get to Sesame Street.

Was Ingrid Andress working at the 2019 CMA Awards or attending?

Listen, even Ingrid Andress has to know she messed this one up. Sporting tuxedo pants and an ill-fitting white vest with black trim and nothing underneath, the look on the “More Hearts Than Mine” singer’s face screamed, “I wish people would stop giving me drink orders … but I guess I get why they would.” Her stacked rings and necklaces didn’t distract from the mess, and the gold simply drew more attention to the dry ends of her hair (which we really hope were extensions). But let’s focus on the positive: Her makeup was minimal and stunning, and her subtle yet strong smoky eye drew our eyes to her gorgeous baby blues. Her heels are on point as well — we just wish a better outfit (or at least one that she looks somewhat comfortable in) topped them.

Kristin Chenoweth's 2019 CMA Awards look was under an evil, Bubble Yum-flavored spell

Good witch, bad outfit: Wicked star Kristin Chenoweth looked like if Barbie had a nightmare about getting bubblegum stuck in her hair. The tulle on the neckline and hem is a warmer toned pink than the cool, icy pink of the rest of the gown; the glittery stems on the late ’80s wallpaper floral pattern up the tackiness and the train was just … a lot. Chenoweth is so petite that the dress ended up wearing her instead of vice versa. On a positive note, her bling was stellar (love those big earrings) and her makeup and hair were, thank goodness, understated and beautiful. She at least seemed self aware, writing in her Instagram stories (via The Daily Mail), “Glinda is ready for the red carpet.”  

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