2nd CMT Artist Awards Show Soars

Brad and Kimberly Paisley; Jason and Jessica Aldean

[Photos: Alan Mayor]

The 2011 CMT Artists of the Year show was taped last night at the Bridgestone arena in Nashville (11/29/11). Fast becoming an “in demand” ticket for industry executives, the show honored Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney. The intimate audience was seated at round tables and treated to a gourmet multi-course meal prepared by “Top Chef” winner Stephanie Izard from the Girl & Goat restaurant in Chicago.

All the artist honorees were present. Additional presenters/performers, both live and on pre-taped video, included The All-American Rejects, The Avett Brothers, Ellen DeGeneres, Gavin DeGraw, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, Miranda Lambert, Matthew McConaughey, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Lionel Richie, William Shatner and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. The show is scheduled to air December 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on CMT and CMT.com.

Standout performances included Swift’s “Mean” covered by the All American Rejects who also worked their own “Gives You Hell” into a bridge. It was explosively original. Also sonically-satisfying was the evening finale which featured Brad Paisley and Joe Walsh cranking out “Life’s Been Good” and “Camouflage.” Lady Antebellum’s affable Charles Kelley was one of many moved by the Paisley/Walsh pairing and enjoying himself. He stood up in the audience pretending to conduct the music, with a big smile.

Lady Antebellum with show host Rob Lowe.

But there were plenty of other standout moments as well such as a great Avett Brothers performance. Insightful video clips of artist honorees reflecting upon their careers and relationships with family, friends and other country artists were also highlight. (For more live reporting search the Twitter hastag #CMTAOY.)

One moment that will likely be remembered by those at the Bridgestone, but never seen when the show airs, was an intended Hank Williams Jr./Jason Aldean duet. Unfortunately, the scene was shot a second time sans Bochephus. Hank’s publicist said the song was re-recorded without him because, “Hank didn’t feel like he was giving an adequate performance while joining Jason on the song.” Regardless of the cause for the decision, those present would likely admit it was a good decision.

CMT’s award honorees were chosen by ranking the top five artists based on the following criteria: sales (physical albums, digital albums, and single downloads); country radio airplay based on spins; concert grosses as a headliner or co-headliner; and activity on CMT.com (video streams, searches, and artist page views). The rankings were then compiled to identify the leading performers across the four categories cumulatively.

CMT Artists Of The Year was executive produced by Rac Clark. John Hamlin and Margaret Comeaux serve as executive producers for CMT. (Note to self: Be sure to RSVP YES! again for this event.) (Click here to see an uploaded Tweet photo from @Jennivercole)

Taylor Swift and posse...

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Category: Artist, Awards, Featured, Weekend

About the Author

Journalist, entrepreneur, tech-a-phile, MusicRow magazine founder, lives in Nashville, TN. Twitter him @davidmross or read his non-music industry musings at Secrets Of The List

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