Carrie Underwood and John Legend took home the top award at the Country Music Television (CMT) Music Awards Wednesday evening.
The duo won video of the year for “Hallelujah.” Underwood, who expanded her record as the most decorated artist throughout in the history of the CMT Music Awards, accepted the nod on her and Legend’s behalf.
“Thank you fans! Thank you CMT!” Underwood said. “You’re the reason we’re all here doing what we do, doing what we love (and) making music videos.”
The 23-time CMT Music Award champ additionally shouted out Legend, especially for sending her the song, which showed up on her first holiday album “My Gift.” “Congratulations on what I think is your first CMT Award. Whoa!” she exclaimed.
The star-studded event kicked off from Nashville, Tenn., with an performance by Lady A. The trio was joined onstage via Carly Pearce and Lindsay Ell.
Ell stepped in after Gabby Barrett bowed out, citing “personal circumstances.”
Cameras then, at that point took viewers to a farm where Chris Stapleton performed “Arkansas.”
Following the two performances, has Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini made that big stage. “After this year … I’m thirsty for a great party,” Brown said.
The first award of the evening – group duo video of the year – went to Little Big Town for “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.”
“This is awesome. First of all, we’re back and making music people,” Kimberly Schlapman yelled, referring to the pandemic.
“I know you like drinking songs,” Karen Fairchild added.
The award was introduced by Trace Adkins and Taylor Lewan of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, who made fun at country music “lingo” by asking Adkins what a dobro, reduced fifth and bluegrass is – refuting the master’s answers with silly jokes.
Lewan revealed to Adkins that a lessened fifth was the point at which a drinker has less whiskey than they expected and that a dobro is a friend who eats a lot of pizza.
Hailey Whitters then, at that point made that stage to sing her hit “Fillin’ My Cup.” Miranda Lambert also performed a stripped-down version of her hit “Tequila Does,” honoring her Texas roots. She sang around a campfire alongside Jon Randall and Jack Ingram. Luke Combs additionally performed.
The legendary Gladys Knight won over audience members — not wearing masks — during an performance of “Friendship Train” with Mickey Guyton. Part of the show felt dedicated to Black female voices thanks to the top notch performances by Knight, H.E.R. what’s more, Guyton, who was nominated for two awards and presented the CMT Equal Play Award to Linda Martell, one of the pioneering Black acts in country music and the first Black woman to perform solo at the Grand Ole Opry.
Martell didn’t go to the awards show yet CMT broadcasted photographs of the icon holding her award and said she was watching the show from her home in South Carolina.
Humorist Iliza Shlesinger took the stage next to poke fun at country music lyrics, especially from a portion of the genre’s top female artists.
She brought up “violent” lyrics in songs from Underwood and Lambert, recommending that a “CSI: Nashville” television show be developed dependent on songs like “Before He Cheats.” The comment was a reference to the long-running CBS drama “CSI” and its spinoffs, which followed crime scene investigators.
The star presented the award for collaborative video of the year, which was given to Chris Young and Brown for their tune “Celebrated Friends.”
Later in the evening, Stapleton and H.E.R. took the stage with a jaw-dropping collaboration. They united for a smoky, thrilling performance of “Hold On,” coming off like a veteran duo. Another amazing collab featured Underwood and musical crew NEEDTOBREATHE. Luke Bryan likewise rocked the house with his hit “Down to One.”
Both Maren Morris and Barrett were originally set to perform at the CMT Awards however pulled out. Barrett won female video of the year and the best family feature award went to Taylor Swift’s “The Best Day (Taylor’s Version),” which was re-released this year and included home movies starring the pop star, her brother and parents.
The show finished off with a performance of “Famous Friends” by Brown and Young.
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