CMT Music Awards 2021 WINNERS: Little Big Town kick off with a win for Group Video of the Year


The 2021 CMT Music Awards returned to its longtime home in Nashville on Wednesday evening, with Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini covering hosting duties.

Trace Adkins and football player Taylor Lewan presented the first award of the night for Group Duo Video of the Year to Little Big Town for the Wine, Beer, Whiskey video.

Lady A kicked off the show with a confetti-filled performance of their song Like A Lady, with Carly Pearce dropping by for a guest verse while Lindsey Ell shredded on the guitar. 

First win: Little Big Town kicked off Wednesday 2021 CMT Music Awards in Nashville with a win for Group/Duo Video of the Year with their song Wine, Beer, Whiskey

Its the second year in a row that Brown will lead the ceremony after helping to helm last year’s show, while Ballerini is making her debut in the high-profile role.

‘Kelsea and Kane are two of the brightest, most sought-after stars in country music today and we’re thrilled to welcome them both as hosts of the 2021 CMT Music Awards,’ the producers of the CMT Music Awards shared in a statement in May. 

‘This dynamic duo reflects the show’s revitalized energy as live music returns to center stage in a night filled with incredible outdoor performances, cross-genre collaborations and a few surprises!’ 

Miranda Lambert and Brown lead the nominees with four nods apiece, while Ballerini and Maren Morris are close behind with three nominations.

The bearded country rocker Chris Stapleton joined the show remotely from an outdoor stage in nearby Manchester, Tennessee, where the Bonnaroo music festival is held annually. 

Opener: Lady A kicked off the show with a confetti-filled performance of their song Like A Lady, with Carly Pearce dropping by for a guest verse

Opener: Lady A kicked off the show with a confetti-filled performance of their song Like A Lady, with Carly Pearce dropping by for a guest verse

Rocking out: Lindsey Ell shredded on the guitar after filling in for Gabby Barrett

Rocking out: Lindsey Ell shredded on the guitar after filling in for Gabby Barrett

He was joined by his wife Morgane Stapleton on backing vocals and tambourine for a hard-charging version of his 2020 song Arkansas.

Brown rocked an all-black suit when he arrived on stage, while Ballerini glowed in a hot pink jumpsuit. 

Next up, Hailey Whitters led a rollicking version of her song Fillin’ My Cup, though it was curtailed by a commercial break.

Morris shocked her fans on Tuesday evening when she announced that she was backing out of the ceremony at the last minute, citing a ‘scheduling conflict.’

She shared the news in her Instagram Stories but deleted the post shortly after posting it. 

The day before, Gabby Barrett also announced that she would no longer be at the show due to ‘personal circumstances.’

Ingrid Andress will now perform with JP Saxe in Morris’ place, while Lindsey Ell will replace Barrett to sing with Lady A and Carly Pearce.

Short spot: Next up, Hailey Whitters led a rollicking version of her song Fillin' My Cup, though it was curtailed by a commercial break

Short spot: Next up, Hailey Whitters led a rollicking version of her song Fillin’ My Cup, though it was curtailed by a commercial break

Back for more: Kane Brown is back hosting for the second year in a row, while Kelsea Ballerini is making her debut as co-host

Back for more: Kane Brown is back hosting for the second year in a row, while Kelsea Ballerini is making her debut as co-host

Luke Combs was the next big performer of the evening with a growling rendition of Cold As You. He was surrounded by socially distanced band members standing on elevated platforms.

In a statement released after he was announced as one of the hosts, Brown recalled the ‘amazing feeling’ he felt after winning his first country music award at the CMTs.

‘The CMT Music Awards are special to me — it’s the first industry award I won and getting on that stage was an amazing feeling,’ he said. ‘I love that the fans get to have their voices heard as we celebrate the best in country music.’

The co-hosts will both be performing during the ceremony alongside performances from country superstars Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.

Gruff: Luke Combs was the next big performer of the evening with a growling rendition of Cold As You. He was surrounded by socially distanced band members standing on elevated platforms

Gruff: Luke Combs was the next big performer of the evening with a growling rendition of Cold As You. He was surrounded by socially distanced band members standing on elevated platforms

Honoring a legend: After the hosts checked back in, singer Mickey Guyton led a stirring tribute to the 80-year-old country artist Linda Martell, 80

Honoring a legend: After the hosts checked back in, singer Mickey Guyton led a stirring tribute to the 80-year-old country artist Linda Martell, 80

History maker: Martell became the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry

History maker: Martell became the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry

Hit maker: She remains the only Black woman to 'make the top 20 country airplay charts; seen in a 2005 interview

Hit maker: She remains the only Black woman to ‘make the top 20 country airplay charts; seen in a 2005 interview

After the hosts checked back in, singer Mickey Guyton led a stirring tribute to the 80-year-old country artist Linda Martell.

She became the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry, and she remains the only Black woman to ‘make the top 20 country airplay charts.’

Girls5Eva actress Busy Philipps made a virtual appearance to introduce the next act, an acoustic trio featuring Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall.

The trio performed earlier this year at the CMAs, but they were back with a different song, Tequila Does.

Low key: Girls5Eva actress Busy Philipps made a virtual appearance to introduce the next act, an acoustic trio featuring Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall

Low key: Girls5Eva actress Busy Philipps made a virtual appearance to introduce the next act, an acoustic trio featuring Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall

Poised for gold: Miranda Lambert and Brown lead the nominees with four nods apiece

Poised for gold: Miranda Lambert and Brown lead the nominees with four nods apiece

Kane was back afterward to introduce the band Restless Road, which he shared that he signed to his label.

They began to sing John Denver’s song Take Me Home, Country Roads, but Kane jokingly interrupted them to remind them they were just their to present an award, not to perform.

Kelsea Ballerini emerged triumphant for the CMT Performance of the Year award, which went to her performance of The Other Girl with Halsey at least year’s ceremony.

The host gushed over her first CMT award and gloated over people who complained that the song wasn’t country enough to win an award.

Dylan Scott followed her by singing his track Nobody, which was later honored with the award for Breakthrough Video of the Year, which he gushed was his first award.

Winner! Kelsea Ballerini emerged triumphant for the CMT Performance of the Year award, which went to her performance of The Other Girl with Halsey at least year's ceremony

Winner! Kelsea Ballerini emerged triumphant for the CMT Performance of the Year award, which went to her performance of The Other Girl with Halsey at least year’s ceremony

The last laugh: The host gushed over her first CMT award and gloated over people who complained that the song wasn't country enough to win an award

The last laugh: The host gushed over her first CMT award and gloated over people who complained that the song wasn’t country enough to win an award

Turning it up: Dylan Scott followed her by singing his track Nobody

Turning it up: Dylan Scott followed her by singing his track Nobody

The CMTs are known for their collaborations, and Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne showed the wisdom of that approach with a propulsive version of Lighten Up from the Bonnaroo farm.

Nominee Carly Pearce looked lovely in feathery white shorts and a matching jacket when she stepped out to introduce the next performer, Thomas Rhett.

She quoted him to express his pleasure at getting back to performing for crowds: ‘Man, it feels good to be country again.’ 

Afterward, Brown introduced his cohost Ballerini as she made her first performance of the evening from a Nashville rooftop with Paul Klein. The two made the world television performance premiere of I Quit Drinking. 

Without a break, Tenille Arts then jumped into her poppier song Somebody Like That. 

Back at it: Nominee Carly looked lovely in feathery white shorts and a matching jacket when she stepped out to introduce the next performer, Thomas Rhett.

Back at it: Nominee Carly looked lovely in feathery white shorts and a matching jacket when she stepped out to introduce the next performer, Thomas Rhett.

On the mark: She quoted him to express his pleasure at getting back to performing for crowds: 'Man, it feels good to be country again.' Fittingly, he sang Country Again

 On the mark: She quoted him to express his pleasure at getting back to performing for crowds: ‘Man, it feels good to be country again.’ Fittingly, he sang Country Again

Keeping it short: Without a break, Tenille Arts then jumped into her poppier song Somebody Like That

Keeping it short: Without a break, Tenille Arts then jumped into her poppier song Somebody Like That

LA-based Comedian Iliza Shlesinger might have been a surprising choice to present, but she shared that she grew up in Dallas, Texas, and was a big country music fan.

After joking about how much female country singers like to sing about ‘murder’ and vandalism, she suggested it could be fodder for a new CSI show.

She announced the award for Collaborative Video of the Year, which went to Chris Young and co-host Kane Brown for Famous Friends.

Young called Brown his ‘brother’ and a ‘friend,’ while Brown said he was honored to have presented Young’s first CMT award the year before and been part of his second win this year. 

Unusual choice: LA-based Comedian Iliza Shlesinger might have been a surprising choice to present, but she shared that she grew up in Dallas, Texas, and was a big country music fan

Unusual choice: LA-based Comedian Iliza Shlesinger might have been a surprising choice to present, but she shared that she grew up in Dallas, Texas, and was a big country music fan

Having a laugh: After joking about how much female country singers like to sing about 'murder' and vandalism, she suggested it could be fodder for a new CSI show

Having a laugh: After joking about how much female country singers like to sing about ‘murder’ and vandalism, she suggested it could be fodder for a new CSI show

Pals: She announced the award for Collaborative Video of the Year, which went to Chris Young and co-host Kane Brown for Famous Friends

Pals: She announced the award for Collaborative Video of the Year, which went to Chris Young and co-host Kane Brown for Famous Friends

Next up performing was Ingrid Andress with a solo piano version of her song Lady Like. She was filling in for Maren Morris, who would have been performing one of her own tracks.

After she wrapped it up, JP Saxe joined her for a duet of his song Like That.

The next big performance belonged to the Nashville-based singer–songwriter Breland and Mickey Guyton with a version of his song Cross Country.

They led into a chugging rendition of Gladys Knight’s 1969 classic Friendship Train in which she showed off her legendary pipes with Guyton and Breland sticking around to accompany her.

Knight is known more for soul music than country, and she hued toward her comfort zone throughout the thrilling performance. She held the final note long after Guyton and Breland gave up to show she still had it.

Afterward, Blanco Brown proved his country bonafides with Nobody’s More Country. 

Smooth: The next big performance belonged to the Nashville-based singer–songwriter Breland and Mickey Guyton with a version of his song Cross Country

Smooth: The next big performance belonged to the Nashville-based singer–songwriter Breland and Mickey Guyton with a version of his song Cross Country

Legend: They led into a chugging rendition of Gladys Knight's 1969 classic Friendship Train in which she showed off her legendary pipes with Guyton and Breland sticking around to accompany her

Legend: They led into a chugging rendition of Gladys Knight’s 1969 classic Friendship Train in which she showed off her legendary pipes with Guyton and Breland sticking around to accompany her

Still got it: Knight is known more for soul music than country, and she hued toward her comfort zone throughout the thrilling performance. She held the final note long after Guyton and Breland gave up to show she still had it

Still got it: Knight is known more for soul music than country, and she hued toward her comfort zone throughout the thrilling performance. She held the final note long after Guyton and Breland gave up to show she still had it

Claiming his spot: Afterward, Blanco Brown proved his country bonafides with Nobody's More Country

Claiming his spot: Afterward, Blanco Brown proved his country bonafides with Nobody’s More Country

Jon Pardi and Lauren Alaina were next up to lean into country music’s penchant for breakup songs with the aptly titled track Getting Over Him.

Co-host Kane Brown scored another big win afterward when earlier winners Little Big Town returned to present him with the award for Male Video of the Year for his romantic song Worship You.

He thanked the video’s director and said it was the ‘most nervous’ he’d been all night. 

Afterward, the ‘country newcomer’ Lainey Wilson gave a short performance of Things A Man Oughta Know. 

Chemistry: Jon Pardi and Lauren Alaina were next up to lean into country music's penchant for breakup songs with the aptly titled track Getting Over Him

Chemistry: Jon Pardi and Lauren Alaina were next up to lean into country music’s penchant for breakup songs with the aptly titled track Getting Over Him

Strong start: Dylan Scott gushed that it was his first award ever when he won Breakthrough Video of the Year for his song Nobody

Strong start: Dylan Scott gushed that it was his first award ever when he won Breakthrough Video of the Year for his song Nobody

Back for more: Co-host Kane Brown scored another big win afterward when earlier winners Little Big Town returned to present him with the award for Male Video of the Year for his romantic song Worship You

Back for more: Co-host Kane Brown scored another big win afterward when earlier winners Little Big Town returned to present him with the award for Male Video of the Year for his romantic song Worship You

Rising star: Afterward, the 'country newcomer' Lainey Wilson gave a short performance of Things A Man Oughta Know

Rising star: Afterward, the ‘country newcomer’ Lainey Wilson gave a short performance of Things A Man Oughta Know

Oscar and Grammy winner H.E.R. brought some cross-genre star power to the CMTs when she joined Chris Stapleton for a version of her song Hold On with some impressive lead guitar playing from the singer (born Gabriella Wilson) that perfectly matched her vocal line.

Stapleton added a rawer complement to her sweet vocals when he took over on the second verse.

The two traded scorching lead guitar lines on an instrumental break that showed off their skills. 

The mood changed toward more reverence when the Christian rock band Needtobreathe took over from the Bonnaroo farm in Manchester with Carrie Underwood joining them for the single I Wanna Remember. 

Niko Moon followed them up with a quick version of his song Good Time. 

Changing it up: Oscar and Grammy winner H.E.R. brought some cross-genre star power to the CMTs when she joined Chris Stapleton for a version of her song Hold On with some impressive lead guitar playing from the singer (born Gabriella Wilson) that perfectly matched her vocal line

Changing it up: Oscar and Grammy winner H.E.R. brought some cross-genre star power to the CMTs when she joined Chris Stapleton for a version of her song Hold On with some impressive lead guitar playing from the singer (born Gabriella Wilson) that perfectly matched her vocal line

His turn: Stapleton added a rawer complement to her sweet vocals when he took over on the second verse

His turn: Stapleton added a rawer complement to her sweet vocals when he took over on the second verse

Guitar whizzes: The two traded scorching lead guitar lines on an instrumental break that showed off their skills

Guitar whizzes: The two traded scorching lead guitar lines on an instrumental break that showed off their skills

Mixing it up: The mood changed toward more reverence when the Christian rock band Needtobreathe took over from the Bonnaroo farm in Manchester with Carrie Underwood joining them for the single I Wanna Remember

Mixing it up: The mood changed toward more reverence when the Christian rock band Needtobreathe took over from the Bonnaroo farm in Manchester with Carrie Underwood joining them for the single I Wanna Remember

Gladys Knight was back after the break to salute the women of country music and announce the winner of Female Video of the Year.

The award went to Gabby Barrett, who had dropped out of the ceremony and her performances on Monday in an Instagram post, though Knight ‘gladly’ accepted it on her behalf.

Dylan Scott returned to the stage to introduce his upcoming tour mate Luke Bryan, who sang his poppy ballad Down To One atop a Nashville rooftop.

Last year’s ceremony had to be moved back from its scheduled June date to October of 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though Wednesday night’s show will have more of sense of normalcy as Covid-19 cases continued to decrease and vaccination rates rise across the US. 

In addition to the standard array of country stars, the CMT Music Awards will be stocked with artists not usually associated with country music.

John Legend scored a Video of the Year nomination for his duet Hallelujah with Carrie Underwood, while pop rocker Pink earned a nomination for Collaborative Video of the Year for One Too Many, a duet with Keith Urban.

Letting loose: Niko Moon followed them up with a quick version of his song Good Time

Letting loose: Niko Moon followed them up with a quick version of his song Good Time

Back for more: The 2021 CMT Music Awards will be held in its longtime home in Nashville, with Kane Brown returning to co-host along with newcomer Kelsea Ballerini; seen together on May 12

Back for more: The 2021 CMT Music Awards will be held in its longtime home in Nashville, with Kane Brown returning to co-host along with newcomer Kelsea Ballerini; seen together on May 12

Hosts and nominees: Both artists are nominated for three awards each this year. Kane recalled winning his first industry award at the ceremony in a statement last month

Hosts and nominees: Both artists are nominated for three awards each this year. Kane recalled winning his first industry award at the ceremony in a statement last month

In addition to the two co-hosts, Little Big Town is close behind with three nominations, while Mickey Guyton has two. It’s particularly impressive for Guyton, as this is the first year she has been nominated at the CMT Music Awards.

The ceremony will have plenty of star power on stage as the Avengers star Anthony Mackie drops by to present, while Freaks And Geeks actress Busy Philipps will also be on hand. 

The show airs Wednesday, June 9 at 8 p.m. EST and will be available to viewers on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT Australia, though viewers looking for a free viewing option online are out of luck.

2021 CMT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS

Video of the Year 

Carrie Underwood with John Legend ‘Hallelujah’ — WINNER

Elle King and Miranda Lambert ‘Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)’ 

Kane Brown ‘Worldwide Beautiful’

Keith Urban and Pink ‘One Too Many’

Kelsea Ballerini ‘Hole in the Bottle’

Kenny Chesney ‘Knowing You’

 

Female Video of the Year 

Carly Pearce ‘Next Girl’

Gabby Barrett ‘The Good Ones’ — WINNER

Kelsea Ballerini ‘Hole in the Bottle’

Maren Morris ‘To Hell & Back’

Mickey Guyton ‘Heaven Down Here’

Miranda Lambert ‘Settling Down’

 

Breakthrough Video of the Year 

Dylan Scott ‘Nobody’ — WINNER

Hailey Whitters and Little Big Town ‘Fillin’ My Cup’

Hardy ‘Give Heaven Some Hell’

Lainey Wilson ‘Things a Man Oughta Know’

Mickey Guyton ‘Black Like Me’

Niko Moon ‘Good Time’

 

CMT Performance of the Year

Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs ‘1, 2 Many’ (2020 CMT Music Awards) 

Dan + Shay ‘I Should Probably Go to Bed’ (2020 CMT Music Awards) 

Jimmie Allen and Noah Cyrus ‘This Is Us’ (2020 CMT Music Awards) 

Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey ‘The Other Girl’ (2020 CMT Music Awards) — WINNER

Little Big Town ‘Wine, Beer, Whiskey’ (2020 CMT Music Awards) 

Nathaniel Rateliff and Margo Price ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ (CMT Crossroads)

 

CMT Equal Play Award 

Linda Martell — WINNER 

 Male Video of the Year 

Chris Stapleton ‘Starting Over’

Darius Rucker ‘Beers and Sunshine’

Kane Brown ‘Worship You’ — WINNER

Luke Bryan ‘Down to One’

Luke Combs ‘Lovin’ on You’

Thomas Rhett ‘What’s Your Country Song’

 

Duo/Group Video of the Year 

Brothers Osborne ‘All Night’

Lady A ‘Like a Lady’

Little Big Town ‘Wine, Beer, Whiskey’ — WINNER

Old Dominion ‘Never Be Sorry’

Parmalee and Blanco Brown ‘Just the Way’

Runaway June ‘We Were Rich’

 

Collaborative Video of the Year 

Carrie Underwood with John Legend ‘Hallelujah’

Chris Young and Kane Brown ‘Famous Friends’ — WINNER

Elle King and Miranda Lambert ‘Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)’

Keith Urban and Pink ‘One Too Many’

Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris ‘Chasing After You’

Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard ‘Undivided’

 

Best Family Feature 

Brooke Eden ‘Sunroof’

Kane Brown ‘Worship You’

Luke Combs ‘Forever After All’

Miranda Lambert ‘Settling Down’

Russell Dickerson ‘Home Sweet’

Ryan Hurd and Maren Morris ‘Chasing After You’

Taylor Swift ‘The Best Day (Taylor’s Version) — WINNER 

 



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