The CMT Music Awards — country’s version of MTV’s VMAs — have long had a reputation as the genre’s most relaxed, anything-can-happen awards show. They also have an extensive history, with their origins stretching back to 1967, when the country publication Music City News began presenting honors to the genre’s finest. Merged with the Nashville Network’s Viewers Choice Awards in the Nineties, they briefly became the CMT Flameworthy Awards from 2002 until 2005, when they were rechristened under their current, less cumbersome name. The fan-voted honors serve as an unofficial kickoff to CMA Fest, which gets underway June 6th in Nashville.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about the 2019 CMT Music Awards.
How to Watch: The 2019 CMT Music Awards air live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday, June 5th, at 8:00 p.m. ET on CMT.
Who’s Hosting: Little Big Town return to host the CMT Awards for the second consecutive year. Their sole nomination this year is for “Summer Fever,” which the foursome debuted on last year’s show. The group’s most recent single is the powerful anthem “The Daughters,” which addresses gender inequality.
Who’s Up for Awards: A four-way tie, with three nods each, puts Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris and Zac Brown Band ahead of the pack. First-time nominees this year include Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, soul singer Leon Bridges (for his CMT Crossroads appearance with Luke Combs) and Ashley McBryde, whose “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” is up for Breakthrough Video of the Year.
Who Are the Video of the Year Finalists: Each year, on the day of the show, the night’s ultimate honor is whittled down from 12 to five finalists. The clips in the running are “Cry Pretty” (Carrie Underwood); “Drunk Girl” (Chris Janson); “Break Up in the End” (Cole Swindell); “Speechless” (Dan + Shay); “Burning Man” (Dierks Bentley feat. Brothers Osborne); “Desperate Man” (Eric Church); “Simple” (Florida Georgia Line); “Rainbow” (Kacey Musgraves); “Good as You” (Kane Brown); “Coming Home” (Keith Urban feat. Julia Michaels); “Miss Me More” (Kelsea Ballerini); “She Got the Best of Me” (Luke Combs); “Girl” (Maren Morris); and “Someone I Used to Know” (Zac Brown Band). Viewers can cast votes via Twitter throughout the broadcast, using special hashtags, with the winner being announced at the end of the show.
Who Will Perform: Performances from Carrie Underwood, Dan + Shay, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Luke Combs, Zac Brown Band and Thomas Rhett have been announced, along with collaborations featuring Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker, Brett Young and Boyz II Men, Little Big Town with Trombone Shorty, Sheryl Crow with Maren Morris, and Toby Keith with Cole Swindell, who team up for Keith’s latest single, “That’s Country Bro.”
Who Are the New Artists to Know: In addition to the aforementioned McBryde, whose “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” video was filmed at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, other newbies in the spotlight — and all nominated for Breakthrough Video — include Jimmie Allen, Jordan Davis, Mitchell Tenpenny, Morgan Wallen, Runaway June and Tenille Townes. They’re each set to perform a snippet of their nominated song from the Ram Trucks Side Stage.
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