Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Florida Georgia Line will be honored as 2016 CMT Artists of the Year. In addition, Kelsea Ballerini will be honored as Breakout Artist of the Year at the 7th annual CMT Artists of the Year special, premiering from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Thursday, October 20 at 8pm ET/PT.
Following last year’s nod as breakthrough artist, Chris Stapleton joins first-time recipient Thomas Rhett and veteran CMT Artists of the Year Carrie Underwood (2010, 2012, 2016), Florida Georgia Line (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) and Luke Bryan, who now ties with Jason Aldean as the artists with most wins with five consecutive years (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Each artist will be honored with never-before-seen performances alongside hilarious and emotional moments fueled by plenty of champagne during the 90-minute special on CMT. The five “Artists of the Year” collectively dominated the last 12 months in country music, ruling CMT’s platforms and country radio, scoring chart-topping album and singles, and selling out arenas across the country.
On the heels of her mega-hit debut album, The First Time, and before her first-ever headlining tour, “CMT’s Next Women of Country” member Kelsea Ballerini has taken the country world by storm. With her 3rd #1 hit “Peter Pan,” Kelsea Ballerini is the only female artist in country music history, including female duos and groups, to go #1 with her first three consecutive singles from a debut album. She is set to receive the second-annual “Breakout Artist of the Year” honor. Additional awards, performers and special guests will be announced at a later date.
Former CMT Artists of the Year honorees include Jason Aldean (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), Kenny Chesney (2011, 2012), Eric Church (2012), Hunter Hayes (2013), Toby Keith (2012), Lady Antebellum (2010, 2011), Little Big Town (2015), Miranda Lambert (2012, 2014), Tim McGraw (2013), Brad Paisley (2011), Blake Shelton (2015), Taylor Swift (2010, 2011), Keith Urban (2014), Sam Hunt (2015) and Zac Brown Band (2010).
Previous CMT Artist of the Year performances have included Adele and Darius Rucker performing Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis paying tribute to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” and Maroon 5 covering Taylor Swift’s “Mine.” The show has featured appearances by Ellen DeGeneres, Matthew McConaughey, Selena Gomez, Billy Bob Thornton, Roger Clemens, Morgan Freeman, the cast of “Nashville” and more.