Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT/ViacomPerforming in honor of CMT Artist of the Decade Reba McEntire Wednesday night wasn’t something Lady Antebellum took lightly, especially since Hillary Scott practically grew up on the road with the country legend.

Hillary’s mom, Linda Davis, sang backup for Reba and won a Grammy for their #1 duet, “Does He Love You.” So Lady A’s been privileged to have a front row seat to learn from the legend.

“She’s such a great entertainer. She’s so authentic,” Dave Haywood reflects. “She’s always been so true to herself, where she came from, how she was raised in the Midwest, and who she is…that’s always been such an inspiring thing for us.”

“We’ve watched how she tours, how she puts on a show, how she paces a show,” he explains. “We’ve gotten to know her over the years…that’s another surreal moment, that we’re able to kind of call her friends now. And she is one of the biggest icons in this format.”

Hilary admits Reba’s immense catalog made it difficult to pick a song to perform during the tribute.

“It’s kind of like throwing a dart,” Hillary admits. “But we chose ‘Is There Life Out There’ just because it’s one of my personal favorites. I just love the lyric…the melody. It lends itself to three-part harmony beautifully.”

Ultimately, Hillary’s goal during the tribute was to mirror the love Reba’s shown her through the years.

“I am so encouraged by her and her confidence, and have always felt so uplifted…myself by her over the years,” Hillary says. “So I just want to make her proud and hope that she feels celebrated and loved.”

“You can’t find one person who could say ‘Reba McEntire’ and not say ‘I love her’ in the next breath. She’s just the best.”

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