Wynonna Judd Explains Why She Broke Down During a Recent Concert After CMA Awards Performance (Exclusive)

On Wednesday, the singer opened the CMA Awards with Jelly Roll.

Wynonna Judd is explaining why she got emotional at a recent concert. ET's Rachel Smith spoke to the 59-year-old singer at Wednesday's CMA Awards, and she revealed what prompted her to break down during a stop on her Back to Wy Tour.

"The other night, I got really emotional. I felt mom," Wynonna explained of her late mom, Naomi Judd, who died in April 2022, and with whom she made up the iconic country duo, The Judds.

"I got a little bit overcome and I just said, 'I need some water. I need somebody to hold on to me for a second while I take a deep breath and cry,'" Wynonna said. "I just do it because that's the way life is."

On Wednesday, Wynonna delighted the crowd when she joined Jelly Roll onstage when he opened the show with a performance of "Need a Favor." It's a performance Wynonna didn't initially think she'd be able to do.

"He called me and said, 'Can you do it?' I said, 'No, I have to be in Texas tonight,'" she recalled of Jelly Roll. "He said, 'What if I got you a plane?' I said, 'I'm in.'"

That conversation led to a show-stopping performance of Jelly Roll's single, just the latest thing packed onto her busy schedule.

"I don't know how I'm doing it. I’ll let you know in December," Wynonna said of when her tour is set to come to an end. "No, seriously. I think it's like your wedding. You just keep hugging the next person and taking the picture and doing what you're supposed to do and then you sleep later. The show must go on."

Wynonna, who held onto Jelly Roll throughout their time on stage, confirmed she's feeling healthy as of late, telling ET, "I have my ups and my downs and that's life.

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

During rehearsals for the ceremony, Jelly Roll, the most nominated male performer at this year's CMA Awards, told ET that "there's no greater honor" than opening the show.

"I would pray that one day I could be a fly on the wall and look back in history in that boardroom, and I just want to know who suggested it, right? 'Cause somebody had to sit around a big table of important people and go, 'I think Jelly Roll should open the show,'" he said. "Whoever did it, I just want to kiss them on the mouth." 

Jelly Roll will also close this year's show, as he teams up with K. Michelle to pay tribute to mother-daughter duo The Judds with "Love Can Build a Bridge." 

"The first thing I said was, 'I won't do this without Wynonna's blessing. Even before I did the song or recording. I called Wynonna," Jelly Roll told ET on Wednesday's red carpet in Nashville. "I have an immense amount of respect for Wynonna, I grew up listening to The Judds. I love Wynonna. And she said, 'Not only do I want you to do it. I want you to do it big!'"

The 2023 CMA Awards, hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, airs live on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Check here for the full list of the night's big winners!



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