Carrie Underwood's ACM performance caused quite a stir

Carrie Underwood has come a long way since she won Season 4 of American Idol back in 2005. She was born and grew up in Checotah, Oklahoma, in what she defined as a "free-range childhood" (via Showbiz CheatSheet). We've no doubt she grew up with country music around her and during this year's ACM Awards she had the opportunity to pay tribute to some of the women that defined the genre. "Patsy and Loretta, Martina and Barbara, Reba and Dolly. These strong voices mean so much to me and to all the other female artists who stand on their shoulders. They are some of my heroes, and I am so honored to stand alongside them as a fellow member of the Grand Ole Opry. It's my pleasure to pay tribute to these legendary ladies as we celebrate the Opry's 95th anniversary," Underwood said, before she launched into a stunning selection of vocals (via People).

Carrie Underwood's medley paid tribute to the greats of country music

The tribute, which was sung on the Opry's stage, featured cuts from country music's trailblazing female vocalists. The medley included Patsy Cline's hit "Crazy," Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough," Barbara Mandrell's "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," Dolly Parton's "Why'd You Come in Here," Reba McEntire's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," and Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing" (via People).

Cline made history back in 1960 as the first solo female artist to join the Grand Ole Opry; she was also recognized for her achievements in 1973 when she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, becoming the first woman given the honor (via Taste of Country). Lynn joined the Opry two years after Cline did, in 1962; Parton became part of the great country music institution in 1969; Mandrell joined in 1972, McEntire in in 1986, and McBride joined in 1995. And Underwood became part of the country music tradition by joining the Opry in 2008.

Carrie Underwood's tribute resonated with fans

Thanks to social distancing, fans and artists could only appreciate Underwood's powerful performance from afar. She proved she was more than worthy of her nominations for both female artist of the year and entertainer of the year for 2020, and she showed audiences why she deserved the title of entertainment of the year, which she won in 2009 and 2010 (via People). 

And she didn't just wow with her vocals. Underwood made her fans catch a breath with two fashion ensembles worthy of country music royalty. She opened the show with the song "Before He Cheats" wearing a gold, V-neck Charles and Ron minidress, with oversized sleeves, and stiletto sandals with gold trim. For her memorable tribute to the queens of country music, Underwood emerged in a romantic princess gown decorated with floral embroidery (via Footwear News).

Twitter lit up with fans applauding Underwoods moving tribute, with one fan tweeting: "That was amazing! @CarrieUnderwood thank god for your talent and thank god you are there to keep #countrymusic alive." Another fan tweeted a photo of Underwood, saying: "This picture below is a picture of a QUEEN A very talented country music superstar! @carrieunderwood is absolutely incredible and that performance on the @opry stage on the @ACMawards was beyond words!" A third appeared lost for words, merely saying: "Drop the mic #CarrieUnderwood Reba, Martina, Dolly, Loretta, Patsy ... u nailed it!"

Fans felt Carrie Underwood was cheated at the ACM Awards

Carrie Underwood's powerful performances only served to heighten her fans' crushing disappointment when they found out that not only did she lose the female artist of the year award, she also had to share the entertainer of the year award with fellow vocalist Thomas Rhett, as both emerged with a tie in votes — which ACM host Keith Urban said had to be "a first in ACM history" (via Fox News).

"Of course they had to make the ACM Awards Entertainer a Tie and make sure a man still won, couldn't let a well deserving, hard working woman have it this year on her own. Over this s***," one Twitter user fumed on social media. "Seriously?!? "What are you gonna tell her? ... When you can't have Entertainer of the year by yourself ... and it needs to be shared with a man. Y'all know nobody compares to @carrieunderwood right now!" another fan complained. Another Twitter user voiced support for the criticism of ACM, writing: "Exactly. They should be ASHAMED. They know @carrieunderwood is so gracious; I would've told them to take their award and shove it!"

"ACM Awards with a TIE for Entertainer of the Year?! Participation trophy generation at its finest. Next up will be a World Series tie where both teams win! Loser mentality," tweeted another. 

It seems like Carrie Underwood's fans will be talking about this year's ACMs for some time to come.