Photos: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images/CMT.com
Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan won two belt buckles each at last night’s (June 4) fan-voted CMT Music Awards, held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The entertaining show was packed with performances, thrilling fans on stages inside the arena and outside on Broadway. Carrie Underwood received the top prize, Video of the Year.
Kristen Bell was an engaging host, pulling off stunts including dressing up like Alan Jackson, and starring in funny pre-taped videos. (Forget Tinder, in one video she used the fictitious app Hollr to search for a co-host.) Having Bell return as host is a big win for CMT; she is one of the hottest entertainers right now, thanks to her work on blockbuster Frozen.
Lee Ann Womack and Kacey Musgraves honored Jackson for his 25 years of making music videos with a performance of his classic “Livin’ on Love.” Underwood presented the icon with the first-ever CMT Impact Award.
John Legend and Jason Derulo glided in from the pop/R&B world and fit in nicely. Legend performed “All of Me” with Jennifer Nettles and Hunter Hayes.
Inside, the Nationwide stage gave up-and-comers a chance to play a verse/chorus, with highlights including Dan + Shay and Brett Eldredge. (Some of the rising males seem to be mimicking Luke Bryan’s dance moves.) See a complete winners list.
Top 10 highlights:
10. Dierks Bentley appeared in character on the red carpet, showing up as Riser Air’s Captain Johnson. Later onstage, he brought out dancing stewardesses to help with “Drunk On A Plane,” but a more elaborate set would have pushed the performance to the next level.
9. Brantley Gilbert’s too-cool swagger during “Bottom’s Up” made his backflip off the riser even more unexpected.
8. Outside the arena, Jake Owen sent warm, happy vibes to the crowd with his sunset performance of “Beachin.’”
7. Eric Church and Lzzy Hale scorched the stage with a guitar-heavy take on “That’s Damn Rock and Roll.”
6. Keith Urban played inside the “Bluebird Cafe.” Accompanied only by his electric guitar, Urban was on a set made to look like Nashville’s famed venue, but was actually inside the arena.
5. The Real Big Pepsi Block Party shut down Broadway, where Blake Shelton thrilled a mass of fans with “Boys ‘Round Here.”
4. Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender” offered a fresh groovy sound from one of Country’s favorite bands. The female-driven song is a perfect showcase for Hillary Scott, who looked gorgeous during the outdoor set.
3. The show opened with a rowdy rendition of “This Is How We Roll/Talk Dirty” with the quadruple star power of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Jason Derulo and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill. FGL, Bryan and Derulo blasted up on to the stage seemingly out of nowhere and the bros even had a (loosely coordinated) dance routine. It was the energetic start the show needed to capture fans’ attention from the get-go.
2. Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert gave a damn good take on “Somethin’ Bad.” The Platinum-haired divas brought loads of personality and avoided the performance pitfall of trying to out-do one another. Adding to the effect was Lambert’s new look, Underwood’s big hair and powerful wind machines. (Wonder what happened after they got to New Orleans?)
1. Little Big Town played new single “Day Drinking,” starting off with an all-white set and wardrobe and ending in a splatter paint bonanza of color.