Kelly Clarkson and Brooks & Dunn also joined in, with Clarkson – who was rewarded with a standing ovation – singing "Why Haven't I Heard From You" and Kix and Ronnie performing an emotional rendition of "For My Broken Heart," another McEntire standard.
McEntire, who received the Golden Note Award, also surprised the audience with one of her earliest hits, "(You Lift Me) Up To Heaven."
Rimes, who overcame vocal problems that caused her to cancel (and reschedule) two shows last week, told PEOPLE that severe autumn allergies are the source of her congestion and irritated throat.
A doctor prescribed rest, which she and her husband Dean Sheremet are looking forward to now that they are finally in their new home, which took three years to build.
Rimes's New Home"We have been moved in for five weeks, but have only actually been there two," Rimes told PEOPLE prior to the show. Sheremet added: "We are out of the boxes stage and into the 'Where is everything?' stage."
The couple will continue to settle in before heading to Calgary in mid-November to begin work on the film version of Nora Roberts's romantic suspense novel, Northern Lights.
Rimes will play Meg Galloway, a feisty bush pilot who knows how to handle a gun, living in tiny Lunacy, Alaska – though comparisons to Sarah Palin should not be drawn.
"Funny timing, I know," Rimes said with a smile. "But the similarities end there. Meg Galloway is a very young and single woman."
Says Sheremet: "She's definitely not a hockey mom."