Who Joked Reba McEntire’s Revealing CMA Awards Dress Was on Backwards?

When country superstar Reba McEntire took to the CMA Awards stage in 1993, she surprised her audience by donning a revealing dress with some very strategically placed beads and sequins on the neckline. She looked great, of course, but it was a notable change from her usual style of evening gowns.

There were many opinions about the dress — and about the dress on McEntire on that stage — including from her family. Of course, the ‘90s tabloid machine had a field day, but she said the gossip rags got something wrong in the wake of her performance.

Who wasn’t nearly as “outraged” as they claimed? And who asked if she had worn the dress backwards?

Kelly Clarkson (L) in a dark purple dress and Reba McEntire (R) in a red dress perform on stage
Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Reba McEntire and the CMA Awards dress

When McEntire hit the stage for the show in her red dress designed specifically for her for that event by Sandi Spika, she received plenty of vocal response from the audience. She told People she thought, “Dang, I look good.”

Having only had two fittings, McEntire said she wasn’t aware just how revealing it really was until after the show. However, she did have some notion and had asked Spika to add a few more beads before hitting the stage that night.

Apparently, a few more beads weren’t enough for some watchers. In her autobiography, Reba: My Story, she wrote, “I think that dress shocked even more people than my singing ‘Respect’ had on the CMA Awards Show.”  

She confessed she wanted to make the papers since she didn’t expect to win, and that mission was a great success. “Photos went out over the news wire services to virtually every newspaper in America,” she shared in her book.

But there was a not-so-silver lining. Letters expressing viewers’ anger immediately appeared in Nashville’s two daily newspapers. And the tabloids “went crazy for it” by claiming she’d “outraged” her own mother, who they wrote called from her home in Oklahoma to tell her daughter as much.  

What did Reba McEntire’s parents think of her CMA Awards dress?

According to McEntire, “Mama” was at the show when she performed and didn’t seem upset at all. “All she said to me at my office after the show was, ‘You need a few more sequins on that dress, girlie,” she recalled in Reba: My Story.  

Even her brother, Pake, gave her a compliment only a sibling could by telling her he thought the dress was beautiful and would have looked great on anyone else. And as for her rodeo-roping father, she told People he playfully asked her, “Did you have that thing on backwards?”

Reba McEntire brought the 1993 CMA Awards dress back in 2018 and added a practical twist

Reba McEntire's red bedroom shoe
Reba McEntire’s red bedroom slippers | Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for ACM

So, the dress didn’t cause a fuss with her parents and became something fans associated with McEntire’s performance style throughout her career. And in 2018, she dug the gown out and put it on for the ACM Awards.

“I really liked the red dress from the ’90s,” McEntire told People. “It was like seeing an old friend again. When Sandi Spika made that dress for me, I felt like Cinderella.”

But this time, McEntire chose something more practical for her feet and slipped on a pair of red bedroom slippers for pictures after the show.

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