2020 CMT Music Awards recap: Carrie Underwood reigns at the socially-distanced, mostly outdoor show

STEPHEN HUBBARD
·3 min read

CMT took to the great outdoors around Nashville Wednesday night to put on a socially-distanced version of the 2020 CMT Music Awards. A sparse, spaced-out audience even got to watch in Music City's Cumberland Park -- all sporting masks emblazoned with the show's logo.

Carrie Underwood extended her record as the winningest artist in the show's history, picking up her 21st and 22nd trophies for the night's top honor, Video of the Year, as well as Female Video of the Year, both for "Drinking Alone."

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Luke Combs kicked off the night with an amphitheater performance of "1, 2 Many" that found him shotgunning a beer as he welcomed Brooks & Dunn to the stage.

Kane Brown, Ashley McBryde and "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland hosted the evening that mixed plenty of pop star power with country's biggest and brightest. Taylor Swift gave Gabby Barrett her first-ever CMT trophy for Breakthrough Video for "I Hope," an award the superstar took home just 13 years ago.

Katy Perry introduced fellow "American Idol" co-host Luke Bryan, who performed "What She Wants Tonight." He also nabbed an award for "One Margarita."

PHOTO: In this video image provided by CMT, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani toast as they accept the collaboration of the year award for 'Nobody But You' during the Country Music Television awards airing on Oct. 21, 2020. (CMT via AP)
PHOTO: In this video image provided by CMT, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani toast as they accept the collaboration of the year award for 'Nobody But You' during the Country Music Television awards airing on Oct. 21, 2020. (CMT via AP)

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani toasted after the rock star won her first CMT statue for Collaborative Video for "Nobody But You." Their "The Voice" co-star Kelly Clarkson introduced Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey's bar-themed take on "The Other Girl," a routine seemingly inspired by "Coyote Ugly."

Diplo brought on his pal Morgan Wallen to sing his No. 1 song, "Chasin' You," while Rob Thomas introduced Jimmie Allen's duet with Noah Cyrus, who perhaps sported the night's most memorable ensemble -- a white bodysuit and cowboy hat reminiscent of Cher.

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But it wouldn't have been a country music awards show without a tug or two on the heartstrings. An emotional moment came early, as Chris Young won CMT Performance of the Year for "Drowning," the song he wrote about the loss of a close friend. He stepped in at the last moment to perform in Brown's place at the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year special after the sudden death of Brown's drummer.

PHOTO: In this video image provided by CMT, Jennifer Nettles accepts the CMT Equal Play Award during the Country Music Television awards airing on Oct. 21, 2020. (CMT via AP)
PHOTO: In this video image provided by CMT, Jennifer Nettles accepts the CMT Equal Play Award during the Country Music Television awards airing on Oct. 21, 2020. (CMT via AP)

Jennifer Nettles accepted the inaugural CMT Equal Play Award for her work to further a more inclusive atmosphere for women in country music. CMT did its part, showcasing up-and-coming artists like Mickey Guyton, Ingrid Andress and Caylee Hammack.

Little Big Town closed with a last call for "Wine, Beer, Whiskey" from Ruskin Cave in Dickson, Tennessee. Ashley and Sarah wrapped up with quick birthday wishes for Brown, who turned 27 on Wednesday.

Here's a complete rundown of the night's winners:

Video of the YearCarrie Underwood -- “Drinking Alone”

Female Video of the YearCarrie Underwood -- “Drinking Alone”

Male Video of the YearLuke Bryan -- “One Margarita”

Group Video of the YearOld Dominion -- “One Man Band”

Duo Video of the YearDan + Shay -- “I Should Probably Go To Bed”

Breakthrough Video of the YearGabby Barrett - “I Hope”

Collaborative Video of the YearBlake Shelton with Gwen Stefani -- “Nobody But You”

CMT Performance of the YearChris Young -- “Drowning” (from 2019 CMT Artists of the Year)

CMT Equal Play AwardJennifer Nettles

2020 CMT Music Awards recap: Carrie Underwood reigns at the socially-distanced, mostly outdoor show originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com