The 2021 CMT Music Awards reunited socially distanced fans and artists inside Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday night.
Hosted by Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown, Lady A kicked off the fan-voted celebration with their summer empowerment anthem, “Like a Lady."
The group was backed by an all-female band that included Carly Pearce and Lindsay Ell.
Mickey Guyton honored pioneering Black female vocalist Linda Martell with CMT’s equal play award before going on to duet with BRELAND on “Cross Country.”
The legendary Gladys Knight invited them on board the “Friendship Train,” in a highlight that was rivaled only by H.E.R., who teamed with Chris Stapleton for “Hold On.” Earlier, Blanco Brown debuted “Nobody’s More Country.”
The cross-genre collaborations that are a hallmark of the CMT Awards were out in full force: Kelsea and Paul Kelin of LANY debuted “I Quit Drinking,” while Ingrid Andress subbed for Maren Morris on “Like That” with JP Saxe. Carrie Underwood joined NEEDTOBREATHE for “I Wanna Remember.”
Ultimately, Underwood extended her streak as the most awarded artist in CMT Awards history, taking home the night’s biggest honor for video of the year for "Hallelujah," her cross-country collab with John Legend.
Ballerini and Dylan Scott both nabbed their very first CMT honors.
Ballerini's co-host, Kane Brown, closed the show with his hit duet with Chris Young, "Famous Friends," the tune that also brought them collaborative video of the year honors.
Check out the night's winners below:
Video of the Year
Male Video of the Year
Female Video of the Year
Duo/Group Video of the Year
Breakthrough Video of the Year
CMT Performance of the Year
Collaborative Video of the Year