2020 CMA Awards: How to Watch, Who’s Nominated, Who’s Performing

Jon Freeman
·4 min read

The Country Music Association’s 54th edition of its annual awards show will look different than all the previous years. For obvious reasons, no audience will be present at Nashville’s Music City Center on November 11th, but artists are still anticipated to be, if not seated together, than at least in the same room. That could change, however, as two scheduled performers — Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line and Lee Brice — have both tested positive for Covid-19. Needless to say, it’ll be an interesting year. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the 2020 CMA Awards, from hosts Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker to top nominees.

When Are the CMA Awards?

The 54th CMA Awards air Wednesday, November 11th. Unlike the ACM Awards and the CMT Music Awards, both of which were postponed by the pandemic, the CMAs are being held in their usual month of November.

How Can I Watch the CMA Awards?

This year’s CMAs will air live at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and can also be streamed live via the ABC app. With no audience this year and strict safety guidelines due to Covid, the usual pre-show coverage will look a little different, but there are a handful of things happening. “Countdown to the CMA Awards, Live” will stream at 6 p.m. ET on ABC News Live with Lara Spencer and Jake Owen chatting with presenters and performers, while ABC stations will broadcast a 30-minute “On the Red Carpet” special at 6:30 p.m. ET and Nexstar affiliates will air a 30-minute pre-show program also at 6:30 p.m. ET. Additionally, Country Strong 2020: Countdown to the CMA Awards airs Tuesday, November 10th. Hosted by Robin Roberts, the preview special looks at how current events have affected country music and features interviews with Vince Gill, Maren Morris, and Kelsea Ballerini.

Will the CMA Awards Be Available for Streaming?

The CMA Awards will stream live on the ABC app.

Who’s Hosting the CMA Awards?

Reba McEntire returns after co-hosting the show with Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton in 2019, while first-timer Darius Rucker will get to showcase his hosting skills on a new stage.

Who’s Nominated at the CMA Awards?

Miranda Lambert leads all nominees with seven total nods, including Album of the Year for Wildcard and Entertainer of the Year. Second-place nominee Luke Combs will compete against Lambert in those two categories as well as four others. Maren Morris nabbed five nominations, while several performers including Dan + Shay, Carly Pearce, and producer Jay Joyce all earned four apiece. Competing with Lambert and Combs for the night’s top prize of Entertainer are Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban.

Who’s Performing at the CMA Awards?

Lambert, Combs, and Morris will all take the stage, along with Eric Church, Ashley McBryde, Chris Stapleton, Jon Pardi, Dan + Shay, and Rascal Flatts. Charles Kelley of Lady A will sing with Carly Pearce, filling in for duet partner Lee Brice after his coronavirus diagnosis. Unique collaborations will also feature heavily, with Thomas Rhett teaming up with Reba McEntire, Lady A’s Hillary Scott, and Chris Tomlin for “Be a Light,” Gabby Barrett and Charlie Puth collaborating on her hit “I Hope,” and hosts McEntire and Rucker performing a tribute song together. The show will open with a multi-artist tribute to Charlie Daniels featuring McBryde, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, and Musician of the Year nominee Jenee Fleenor.

Who Are the Presenters at the CMA Awards?

Presenters include radio personality Bobby Bones, Jake Owen, Lauren Akins, Lauren Alaina, Sara Evans, and gospel star Cece Winans.

Who Are the New Artists to Watch at the CMA Awards?

Gabby Barrett had a major breakthrough in 2020 and finds herself among this year’s New Artists nominees. Also competing for the win are returning 2019 nominees Morgan Wallen and Carly Pearce, plus Ingrid Andress and Jimmie Allen.

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