Hollywood actors, NASCAR drivers, artists of every genre, and even a very particular Nashvillian pug showed up at the 2016 CMT Music Awards, hosted at the Bridgestone Arena in Downtown Nashville on the night of June 8th. From the first appearance on the red carpet to the final performance of the show, the whole evening was one big rush of glamour, talent, and good old fashion entertainment. The night was a huge turnout as a huge crowd showed up to thank these incredible country artists for the year of music they’ve given us.
The CMT Awards followed this season’s trend by replacing the red carpet with a pink one, and having a slew of beautiful people walk it before the show. Stars appeared throughout the early hours of the evening in groups, pairs, and singles, showing off everything from their country couture to their pride and joy standing next to them. One of my favorite things about red carpets is seeing those perfect celebrity couples in real time; pairs like Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher, and Chad Michael Murray and Sarah Roemer were three of the night’s standout celeb couples to walk the pink carpet.
A variety of stars like Fifth Harmony, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett, Vince Vaughn, and Luke Bryan made carpet appearances, along with stars from “The Voice”, “Duck Dynasty”, and CMT’s upcoming “Million Dollar Quartet”. But after a bit of socializing, flaunting, and champagneing at the end of the carpet, everyone made their way to the arena just in time for the show begin.
Sitting in an exclusive section, nominees, performers, and presenters took their seats together and exchanged friendly hellos, then proceeded to take turns snapping quick selfies with Doug the Pug, perhaps one of the biggest stars in attendance. The show started off strong as Keith Urban was the first to take the stage, opening the night with his hit “Wasted Time”. As the night unfolded, so did a handful of incredible performances by country’s favorite artists; Thomas Rhett’s energy filled live performance of “T-shirt” landing as my favorite by far.
The CMT Music Awards annually recognizes the best country music videos and live performances of the year. There were some big name winners this year including Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood, but they weren’t the only ones to win fan voted trophies. Tim McGraw, who attended the show with his daughter, took home Video of the Year for “Humble and Kind”. Male Video of the Year went to Thomas Rhett for “Die a Happy Man”, a video he starred in with his wife, Lauren Gregory. The award for Female Video of the Year went home with Carrie Underwood for “Smoke Break”, the hit that also won her the 2016 CMT Performance of the Year award. Group/Duo Video of the Year now belongs to Little Big Town for “Girl Crush”, and Breakthrough Video of the Year went to the “past, present, and the future of country music”, Chris Stapleton and “Fire Away”. A new award to the show this year was Social Superstar of the Year, which went home with Blake Shelton, who was overjoyed by his victory and announced that “sometimes he just likes to get drunk and get on Twitter”. The presenters of the night were stars like Vince Vaughn, Dan + Shay, Kelsea Ballerini, and many more.
Intertwined in the revealing of the winners of the evening was a list of great performances. A few special guest pop artists showed up on stage and definitely kept the night interesting with a number of brilliant country/pop mash-ups. Fifth Harmony and Cam took the stage together dressed in confidence and coordinated colors to perform a mash-up of “Mayday” and “Work From Home”, which was a performance that took everyone by surprise. Blake Shelton and the Oak Ridge Boys probably had the most fun on stage as they sang “Doing It To Country Songs” together, Blake jumpin’ and skippin’ around like it was the best thing he’d ever done. Little Big Town and a very camo-ed out Pharrell Williams put on another show-stopping collaboration with “C’mon”, a performance that literally gave me chills and closed out the night.
It was an award show complete with classic host banter between Erin Andrews and JJ Watt and sneaky footage of stars dancing and singing along to each others greatest hits, showing the coolest kind of interactive support. Not to mention the countless amounts of congratulatory fist bumps, high fives, and hugs that were shared between the stars. It was a night full of successes as artists, stars, and athletes from all over came together to celebrate a great year in music.
“That’s what we do tonight- we bring everyone together through the music,” Erin Andrews announced at the start of the show, and that’s exactly what they did. Round of applause to CMT for another amazing year of CMT Music Awards, thanks for having us, and we’ll see you next year!