Fan-Facing CMT Awards Honor Keith Urban’s Appeal For Nearly Half Of The Show

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. Photo: CMT

It is a good thing Keith Urban stayed the duration of the 2017 CMT Music Awards on Wednesday evening (June 7). The Universal Music Group star’s name was called for nearly half of the envelopes turned.

“All I’m trying to do is just trying to make a connection,” confessed a humble Urban, who dedicated the evening’s biggest award—Video of the Year (“Blue Ain’t Your Color”)—to his fans inside and outside the room. “It’s all about [fans], that’s why I go over and say hi to everybody.” In a pre-show Facebook Live, Urban elaborated, “I hate when they rush us away from you [fans lined up outside], I love to try to get to as many people as we humanly can before they pull us away.”

In all, Urban’s name was called for four of the fan-voted awards, half of those distributed that he could have qualified for, including a win for Collaborative Video of the Year with new label mate Carrie Underwood.

Pictured (L-R): Danielle Bradbery, RaeLynn, Reba, Carrie Underwood. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser


Pictured (L-R): Dustin Lynch, Brett Young, Brett Eldredge, Gnash. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Underwood, who was the recipient of two awards in her own right, notching 17 wins at the awards show over the years—breaking her own record. “The captain’s wife” was involved in many of the award show’s shout-outs to the Nashville Predators, even offering one herself before wrapping her Female Video of the Year win for “Church Bells.”

“Thank you God for so many incredible blessings me and my husband have in our lives, there’s a lot going on in our lives and we are so grateful,” said Underwood after thanking the fans. “…Go Preds!”

In addition to the collaborative duo’s on-screen success, CMT’s Nashville and Music City’s Predators were in full view.

In introducing the Universal Music Group star’s Collaborative Video of the Year, Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher dumped a catfish on stage. Addressed later, the show’s host—Nashville’s Charles Esten—contextualized the southern hockey tradition.

Gnash, the team mascot, was on hand for another entertaining shtick involving Underwood and Lauren Alaina. Alaina herself was presented Breakthrough Video of the Year (“Road Less Traveled”) by an ageless Reba. Vocal powerhouse Alaina confessed her inexperience in actually winning. “Thank you to all of [the artists] here that I’ve watched get awards every year, you have inspired me,” said Alaina.

Additional winners included Florida Georgia Line for Duo Video of the Year for “H.O.L.Y.,” Little Big Town for Group Video of the Year (“Better Man”) and Jason Derulo/Luke Bryan for “CMT Performance of the Year” for “Want to Want Me.”

Charles Esten and wife Patty Hanson. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

CMT’s original Nashville TV show was also on full display, promoting its sixth season, with an amusing opening video sequence set at Rayna James’ mansion, filled with benign sexual innuendo. The tasteful monologues and hosting segments came across with full effect.

As customary, CMT offered a chance for unique duets. Perhaps most poignantly were top winners Urban and Underwood’s “The Fighter,” which blended a stripped down remake before launching in to the full production of the fan-favorite.

Cross-genre performances extended to Peter Frampton with the Brothers Osborne (“It Ain’t My Fault”); an opening tribute to Gregg Allman from Darius Rucker, Charles Kelley and Jason Aldean with former Allman bandmember Derek Trucks (“Midnight Rider”); Florida Georgia Line with The Chainsmokers (“Last Day Alive”); Luke Bryan (“Strip It Down”) Jason Derulo (“Want to Want Me”); and a closing number with Lady Antebellum (“You Look Good”) with Earth Wind & Fire (“September”).

Lady Antebellum. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser


Brothers Osborne (Center) with Lucy Silvas (L) and sister Natalie (R). Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Sponsorships abounded, as in-program shout-outs were made with Firestone tires, Hershey chocolates and Pepsi.

True to his speech, Urban’s Bentley Flying Spur waited patiently in the street as he signed autographs and took photos with fans, eight hours after arriving downtown. It was one hour after the show wrapped and shortly after Jason Aldean finished his free, post-show concert at Walk of Fame Park. The park, like many landmarks this week that are re-branded for sponsorships, was referred to as Hilton Park to promote Aldean’s concert, and will be named Chevrolet Park after today at the start of CMA Fest. Let the festivity bells and the cash registers start ringing!

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Kelsea Ballerini and fiancee and new Warner signee Morgan Evans. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Anderson East and Miranda Lambert. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Pictured (L-R): Michael Monaco, Luke Bryan, Hunter Jobes. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Thomas Rhett with wife Lauren. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Runaway June. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

CMT’s Cody Alan and Trea Smith. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Brandi Cyrus with Cyrus. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Shane and Michael McAnally Baum’s daughter Dylan with Savannah Chrisley. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser


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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine,, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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