Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Kelly Clarkson, Little Big Town, Sam Hunt and Backstreet Boys Perform New Music Live for the First Time on Television
The loudest night in country music kicked it up a notch as the biggest stars in the genre and beyond took on Nashville for the 2018 CMT Music Awards Wednesday night (June 6th). In a night of firsts, Blake Shelton won his first-ever Video of the Year Award for “I’ll Name The Dogs;” Little Big Town hosted for the first-time; and Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Kelly Clarkson, Little Big Town, Sam Hunt and Backstreet Boys seized the moment to debut new music for the first-time anywhere. A slew of new artists walked away with their first buckles, including Dan + Shay (Duo Video of the Year), Carly Pearce (Breakthrough Video of the Year), Kane Brown (Collaborative Video of the Year with Lauren Alaina), Backstreet Boys (CMT Performance of the Year with Florida Georgia Line) and Ludacris (Female Video of the Year with Carrie Underwood). Carly Pearce and Kane Brown won the first awards of their careers. Carrie Underwood’s win for “Female Video of the Year” extends her record for most “CMT Music Awards” wins with a grand total of 18.
The show kicked off with a star-studded tongue-in-cheek sendup that has the royal family in Nashville to escape the prying paparazzi, only to find themselves engulfed in the bachelorette party capital of the country. The sketch featured Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, hosts Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Kelsea Ballerini, Midland, Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen, Jon Pardi, Trace Adkins, Darius Rucker (as the Queen, no less), and Florida Georgia Line as Princes William and Harry.
Little Big Town got the crowd jumping with their first-ever live performance of the danceable “Summer Fever” surrounded by large gold orbs, while Blake Shelton took to the rooftop of his new restaurant, Ole Red, in downtown Nashville for an intimate performance of his hit “Turnin’ Me On.”
Bordered by a dramatic white curtain, Jason Aldean delivered a stirring rendition of his hit “Drowns the Whiskey,” while Kelsea Ballerini offered a beautiful twist on love with her hit, “I Hate Love Songs.”
Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne shared the stage surrounded by fire for a hard-rocking version of Bentley’s single, “Burning Man.” Luke Bryan performed his summer anthem “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” aptly at dusk on the crowd-filled outdoor stage.
Florida Georgia Line turned the Bridgestone Arena into a cozy backyard get-together with the first-ever-live performance of their new single “Simple,” while Carrie Underwood dazzled the audience with her soaring power ballad “Cry Pretty.”
Sam Hunt roamed the streets Nashville’s famed Broadway before taking the outdoor stage in front of thousands of country music fans and fireworks for first-ever-performance of “Downtown’s Dead,” while Dan & Shay, in their first-ever CMT Music Awards appearance, delivered a sobering sweeping rendition of their smash, “Tequila.”
Chris Stapleton’s unmistakably powerful voice boomed through the streets of downtown Nashville for a priceless performance of “Millionaire,” while pop royalty Backstreet Boys got the entire house dancing with an electric first-time-ever performance of their new single, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” proving that great music transcends genres.
Accompanied by an all-female choir, Kelly Clarkson made her CMT Music Awards debut by reclaiming the classic Guess Who’s “American Woman” as a fiery female-empowerment anthem from the forthcoming series American Woman, starring Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Bartles, premiering Thursday, June 7th at 10 pm ET/PT on Paramount Network.
The evening concluded with a bang as Darius Rucker and The Troublemakers – Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Charles Kelley – turned the Bridgestone Arena into a local honky tonk with their first-ever-live performance of the seminal Drivin’ N Cryin’ classic, “Straight To Hell.”
Furthering its commitment to new artists, CMT’s Ram side-stage featured performances of CMT Next Women of Music artists Carly Pearce and Lindsay Ell, as well as CMT Listen Up Artists Devin Dawson, LANCO and Russell Dickerson.
The A-list roster of presenters from music, television and film includes Backstreet Boys, Brett Young, Bobby Bones, Carly Pearce,Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), Cody Alan (Radio and TV Personality), Courtney Force (NHRA racing), Dustin Lynch, Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound, Country Strong), Hoda Kotb (NBC’s TODAY), Joel McHale (The Joel McHale Show), Jon Pardi, Kaitlin Doubleday (Nashville), Katie Cook (TV personality), Keith Urban, Lauren Alaina, Leon Bridges, Lennon Stella (Nashville), Lindsey Vonn (US Ski Team), Luke Combs, Maisy Stella (Nashville), P.K. Subban (Nashville Predators), RaeLynn, Rascal Flatts and Sugarland.
The winners of the 2018 CMT MUSIC AWARDS are:
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Blake Shelton – “I’ll Name The Dogs”
MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Blake Shelton –“I’ll Name The Dogs”
FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris – “The Champion”
DUO VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Dan + Shay – “Tequila”
GROUP VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Little Big Town – “When Someone Stops Loving You”
BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Carly Pearce – “Every Little Thing”
COLLABORATIVE VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Kane Brown feat. Lauren Alaina – “What Ifs”
CMT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
From CMT Crossroads: Backstreet Boys and Florida Georgia Line – “Everybody”