For the performance of the track, which was originally from 1979's The Muppet Movie, Nelson stood with his guitar in-tow in front of a string section as a rainbow illuminated behind him. After kicking off the number, Musgraves took the stage in an orange one-piece to stand besides the living icon to delicate croon next to the country vet, before they traded portions of the track and eventually joined in on the hook together. To top things off, Musgraves offered Nelson a bow and an air kiss as they received their applause from the number.
The track is a special tune for the two since Nelson included it on his 2001 album of the same name, while Musgraves first performed the song when she was just 9-years-old. The two have a long standing friendship, including a number of collaborations both in and out of the studio like a "A Willie Nice Christmas," which appeared on the songstress' 2016 holiday album, A Very Kacey Christmas. Back in 2017, Musgraves shared sweet words about the country legend. "He’s an interstellar human being. I love his crowds," she told The San Francisco Chronicle. "People aren’t there to see a ton of fireworks, they’re just there to see a legend and hear some really incredible songs."
"Rainbow Connection" was one of the many special moments planned for this year's ceremony. Earlier in the evening, co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton led an all-star female number, which included Terri Clark, Sara Evans, The Highwomen and more. Additionally, Kelsea Ballerini joined Lindsay Ell, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce and Runaway June for a special performance of "Girl Crush" featuring an appearance by Little Big Town.
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