Beyoncé Leaves Country Music Fans Shook at the CMAs

Beyoncé Leaves Country Music Fans Shook at the CMAs

Watch Queen Bey liven up the CMAs with the Dixie Chicks.

Watch Queen Bey liven up the CMAs with the Dixie Chicks.

Text: Jake Viswanath

All hail the newly crowned queen of country. After effortlessly conquering the worlds of pop, R’n’B, hip-hop, and rock throughout her career, Beyoncé apparently asked herself, why stop there? Last night, the superstar made her Country Music Awards debut at its 50th show, performing her bluesy country-influenced Lemonade track “Daddy Lessons” alongside the Dixie Chicks, an inspired choice for multiple reasons.

Naturally, the performance was completely unexpected, seeing as it was Beyoncé at a country show and it was not announced until yesterday afternoon. It was introduced in the exact same way, forgoing a presenter and simply letting the quartet kick off their performance as the screens rose.

The performance was subdued yet immensely joyful and free for Beyoncé’s standards, with the artist opting to simply swing and clap along in her pearls and gown as she sang with the legendary country trio rather than dive into the square-dance choreography as seen on the Formation Tour. Beyoncé’s vocals blended superbly with the harmonies of Natalie Maines and company, and the rousing bluesy breakdowns and interpolation of the Chicks’ hit “Long Time Gone” made for a thrilling and refreshing collaboration.

Beyoncé bringing on the Dixie Chicks for her debut CMAs performance was not a complete surprise, given that the trio has been covering “Daddy Lessons” on tour. But it was a risky move considering their rocky history with the country music community after the infamous President Bush fallout, and Yoncé’s own boycotts from conservatives after her Super Bowl performance of “Formation.” Reactions from country fans and commentators were mixed at best, of course, although fellow country artists were largely supportive.

The move paid off in spades, however, not only for the undeniably great performance, but for the significance of Beyoncé and the Chicks standing defiant and succeeding in front of many of their detractors. The group gladly faced their peers on a major platform for the first time in years, while Yoncé let country artists, fans, and critics know that she wasn’t afraid to invade their territory. If anyone feels threatened, it’s only because they’re frightened of their new potential country leader. In the words of Beyoncé herself, bow down, bitches.

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