“2017 CMT ARTISTS OF YEAR” FEATURES SPIRITED AND SURPRISING CROSS-GENRE PERFORMANCES WITH ROUSING MESSAGES OF SUPPORT FOR FANS FROM HONOREES CHRIS STAPLETON, FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE, JASON ALDEAN, KEITH URBAN AND LUKE BRYAN
Andra Day and Little Big Town set the tone for the evening with a rousing rendition of Day’s soaring “Rise Up.”
As a statement of unity and solidarity, this year’s honorees Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan took the stage together to share messages of hope and support to their fans. Luke noted, “music moves us, brings us together and tonight we hope music will be part of the healing.” Chris continued, “…on this night where we usually celebrate music, we will celebrate the incredible human spirit” and “…perhaps lift your spirits for a moment,” ended Keith.
“CMT Artists of the Year” has always been a place where artists from different genres can come together for unforgettable collaborations. This year, the show went to a whole new level when Andra Day, Common, Little Big Town, Lee Ann Womack and Danielle Bradbery joined forces to transcend genres with the exhilarating “Stand Up For Something” and generated a standing ovation from the crowd.
With numerous hits to choose from, Luke Bryan selected his aptly titled introspective hit “Fast” for a poignant performance showcasing how quickly life moves and changes, noting in his message to fans, “Enjoy each day and never take it for granted.”
Lionel Richie Crushes on Fellow American Idol Judge Luke Bryan
Giving us a sneak peek into the budding bromance between two of the new “American idol” judges, music icon Lionel Richie adoringly introduced Bryan noting, “It’s impossible not to like him. Just look at him – he’s a cutie.”
Sam Hunt might have taken “Body Like a Back Road” to the top of the charts to earn CMT’s inaugural “Song of the Year” award, but the crowd fell in love with the song all over again when fan-favorite singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips wowed them with a bluesy, jazz-fueled rendition.
With powerful lyrics like “Angels come down from the heaven/Just to help us on our way,” Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos” took on a poignant new meaning in light of the recent tragedies. Backed by his wife, Morgane Hayes, Stapleton commanded the stage with his signature powerhouse and haunting vocals.
Keith Urban stripped down and reimagined his massive #1 single, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” with an intimate jazz-tinged number that beautifully showcased his sweeping vocals and elegant lyrical prose.
After their record-breaking “CMT Crossroads” special, the Backstreet Boys returned to CMT and Nashville to celebrate friends Florida Georgia Line with an angelic and spirited performance of FGL’s smash “H.O.L.Y.”
The evening ended with a rocking exclamation point when Jason Aldean was joined by fellow honorees Keith Urban and Chris Stapleton (and backed by Little Big Town) for an electrifying rendition of the late Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” to perfectly sum up the evening and the future of country music.
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CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR will be retelecast on Thursday, October 19 at 12 a.m. ET/PT and Saturday, October 21 at 12 p.m., ET/PT.