Carrie Underwood has returned from her maternity break with a bang, if last night’s (June 10) CMT Music Awards is any indication.
The idol was the lead nominee and recipient at the video awards at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, taking home Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Collaborative Video of the Year (with Miranda Lambert).
“This is my first awards show since little Isaiah has been in the world,” beamed Underwood as she accepted Female Video of the Year. “I’m sure he’s napping on the bus right now, but I should definitely say he’s inspired me so much.”
Underwood performed “Little Toy Guns” to close the evening’s events, displaying powerful vocals and raw believability that rivaled an earlier performance by queen Reba (“Goin’ Out Like That”), who returned to the CMT stage after a 10-year hiatus.
Lady Antebellum kicked off the evening with their unrelenting “Long Stretch of Love” before transitioning into EDM keyboardist, Zedd’s “Beautiful Now.”
Since the show began at 7:00 p.m. CT, some of the outdoor performances were illuminated by daylight, including Florida Georgia Line’s (“Anything Goes”) and Darius Rucker’s (“Homegrown Honey”). The former of which saw Brian Kelley rivaling Underwood for the night’s most frizzy hair. Later, Kenny Chesney took advantage of the night sky and performed before a backdrop of full-scale fireworks on Nashville’s lower Broadway.
Speaking of hair, David Spade took the stage in “Joe Dirt” form: sporting a mullet and sideburns. His sketch introduced Keith Urban: “He’s so close to having a mullet, why don’t you just do it, man?” The Aussie made his television debut of new single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16), written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. The three tunesmiths plus Ashley Gorley are also behind Jake Owen’s “Real Life.” Last night Owen’s performance of the song included crowd surfing to the CMT stage.
A production highlight of the evening was a pre-filmed sketch of “Guuber,” Nashville’s fictitious car service. The star-studded piece included show hosts Erin Andrews and Brittany Snow, Kristen Bell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Tyler, Alan Jackson, Tom Arnold, Hunter Hayes, James Corden, Justin Bieber, Big & Rich and Rick Springfield.
Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Sam Hunt and Eric Church also performed. Newcomers took to the Nationwide side stage with their current singles as the show went to commercial break. To keep the tune fresh in viewer’s minds, a riff of the single ushered viewers back from break too. Rising artists who performed during these spots included Frankie Ballard (“Sunshine & Whiskey”), Maddie & Tae (“Girl In A Country Song”), Chris Janson (“Buy Me A Boat”), Kelsea Ballerini (“Love Me Like You Mean It”), and RaeLynn (“God Made Girls”).
With a slew of new programming coming to CMT, including new series from Kellie Pickler (I Love Kellie Pickler) and Billy Ray Cyrus (Still The King), comedian Ron White said, “Go ahead and bust the nobs off your TV because there’s no reason to ever change the channel again.” White is hosting his Fifth Annual Salute To The Troops event on CMT, Friday, June 12.
In addition to viewing the show online, additional CMT broadcasts include Thursday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m.; Friday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 13 at 12 p.m.; Saturday, June 13 at 12 a.m.; Sunday, June 14 at 6:30 a.m.; Sunday, June 14 at 8:00 p.m. Teen Nick will run an encore on Sunday June 14 at 10:30 p.m.
See a full list of winners here.
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