The CMT Music Awards took over Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena last night, and it was quite a show.
Carrie Underwood was the night’s big winner taking home two trophies, Video of the Year for “Cry Pretty” and Female Video of the Year for “Love Wins.” Kane Brown took home the tropy for Male Video of the Year for “Lose It,” while while Dan + Shay won Duo Video of the Year for “Speechless” and Keith Urban continued his CMT winning ways taking home Collaborative Video of the Year for “Coming Home,” his song with Julia Michaels.
Meanwhile, Zac Brown Band took home the award for Group Video for “Somebody I Used To Know”.
Little Big Town were back as hosts for a second year in a row and got the job done, making jokes about whether “Old Town Road” is country or not (they seem to think it is), Dan +Shay’s makeup routine, the “Game of Thrones” Starbucks cup, beer pong in the audience with Midland and more.
Of course, what the night is known for is the performances, and there sure were some great ones. Highlights included:
Thomas Rhett got the party started with his fun new song “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” featuring Little Big Town and special guest Trombone Shorty.
Brett Young and Boyz II Men recreated their “CMT Crossroads” special, teaming up for Brett’s “Here Tonight”.
Toby Keith took to the outdoor stage to sing his brand new single “That’s Country Bro,” before he was joined by Cole Swindell for Toby’s classic tune “Beer For My Horses.”
Kelsea Ballerini opened her performance of “Miss Me More” with just her and her guitar, surrounded by an arena full of cellphone lights, and then eventually took the main stage with her band.
Hosts Little Big Town returned to perform their emotional track “The Daughters,” under a glowing globe, and sparkly lights.
Maren Morris brought some soul to the night for “Shade,” and was then joined by Sheryl Crow for their collaboration “Prove You Wrong,” although Stevie Nicks, who’s also featured on the song, wasn’t there.
After Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild talked about the lack of female representation on country radio, they introduced Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker, who teamed for probably the single best moment of the night, a performance of Tanya’s classic track “Delta Dawn.” They were joined by a star-studded female guest list, including Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Lauren Alaina, Deana Carter, Rae Lynn and Carly Pearce.
Carrie Underwood didn’t actually perform at Bridgestone. Instead Carrie performed her song “Southbound” live from the Parthenon monument at Nashville’s Centennial Park. The party-like performance featured a lot of glow sticks and pyro.
All of this year’s Breakthrough Video of the Year nominees got to perform a bit of their nominated songs on the Ram Trucks Side Stage, including Jimmie Allen (“Best Shot”), Jordan Davis (“Take It From Me”), Mitchell Tenpenny (“Drunk Me”), Morgan Wallen (“Whiskey Glasses”), Runaway June (“Buy My Own Drinks”), and Tenille Townes (“Somebody’s Daughter”).
Luke Combs closed he show with a rousing rendition of his latest single “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” although there was so much confetti at the end yoy could barely see him.
Among the other performances: Zac Brown Band performed “Someone I Used To Know,” Luke Bryan performed “Knockin’ Boots,” Kane Brown, performed his single “Short Skirt Weather” on at a stage in Downtown Nashville, Dan + Shay performed “All To Myself” also outside, and Keith Urban performed his brand new single “We Were.”