On Wednesday night (Oct. 21), the Country Music Television Awards got to hold their annual ceremony after the original delay from June. Instead of beaming from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the show took place throughout the greater Nashville area. Kane Brown,Ashley McBryde and Sarah Hyland hosted as the CMT Awards finally got to hold its long-delayed awards ceremony.
The fan-voted awards gave acts a chance to thank their fans, and it was palpable how much so many of the artists, especially the night’s big winner, Carrie Underwood, miss being off the road and seeing friendly faces in the audience.
Here were some of the evening’s top moments:
Glad They Didn’t Go To Bed
Dan + Shay performed their lush ballad, “I Should Probably Go To Bed” at the Estate at Cherokee Dock to disquieting effect. The duo combined the effects from the video (Shay Mooney singing from a bed) with the stripped down, acoustic version they just released. With great lighting and just the right amount of theatrical fog floating around the band members, it was an eerie, entrancing performance.
Woman are still struggling mightily to achieve any measure of parity with their male counterparts at country radio. While CMT has stepped up and now plays videos from male and female artists equally, there is still much work to be done at radio. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, recipient of CMT’s first Equal Play Award, has been one of the women leading the charge, including boldly wearing on last year’s CMT red carpet (remember those?) a cape that read “Play our f**kin’ records” on one side and “Please and thank you” on the other. Cam, Maren Morris, Tanya Tucker and Kelsea Ballerini were among the artists saluting Nettles for her advocacy (I guess no male artists are in favor of parity). Nettles vowed to keep holding radio’s feet to the flame, acknowledging she’s not alone: “Thank you… to my sisters out there who continue to burn the holy fire…I am so proud of the stories we tell.”
Pour One Out
While many of the performances were creatively staged, Little Big Town’s performance of “Wine, Beer Whiskey” took the prize. The quartet performed at Ruskin Cave with 20-foot images of liquor bottles projected onto the cave wall, as well as sky high, celestial trumpet players looking down as the earth-bound trumpet players bleated out lines. Vocally and visually arresting.