“CMT Artists of the Year,” which returns as a live show this month, will include some interdisciplinary duets among its lineup, as is customary — with honoree Kelsea Ballerini being joined by the Jonas Brothers, and Yola teaming up with Mickey Guyton, among other collaborations.
Some of the artists being feted on the broadcast will perform on their own, including Luke Combs, Gabby Barrett and Kane Brown. Others, like Guyton and Ballerini, will take part in pairings. But Chris Stapleton will presumably sit back while he’s serenaded by Boyz II Men and Pentatonix’s Kevin Olusola, who are set to collaborate in tribute to Stapleton.
The network is also finding a way to work in the hottest country song of the moment, even though its singer isn’t one of the night’s already designated honorees. That’s “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes, which will get its first live awards-show look on the CMT program. The TikTok meme-driven single continues to be No. 1 on the Billboard Country Songs chart and currently sits at No. 5 on Rolling Stone’s all-genre songs chart, a rare incursion into the overall top 10 by a country artist.
The only artist on the lineup of honorees who hasn’t had a performance of some sort announced is “artist of a lifetime” Randy Travis, who, being unlikely to sing on the telecast himself, seems likely to be the subject of a tribute still yet to be announced.
“CMT Artists of the Year” will air live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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