13 crazy things to look for at the CMT Awards
Little Big Town goes...big
Little Big Town is set to host the 2018 CMT Music Awards live from Nashville on June 6. It's the first time the band will host a major awards show — and a departure for a show that has largely relied on pairing individual big name stars as hosts in past years. Little Big Town has made a splash as performers in past years, getting paint bombed performing "Day Drinking" and riding a deck boat onto the stage for the premiere of "Pontoon." Though they'll be overseeing the night as hosts, the group will also be performing so look for another spectacular, over-the-top entry from this group that never disappints.
Justin Timberlake earns his first country nod
It's not every day fans can tune into country music award shows and see a massive pop star, but Timberlake should be present for the evening given he's earned his first CMT Award nomination for video of the year for "Say Something," which also features Chris Stapleton. His latest album Man of the Woods has a definite country influence and Timberlake previously performed with Stapleton on the 2015 CMA Awards, but this is our first opportunity to see him nominated for a country award. And a win could mark a big upset for the country music industry.
The Backstreet Boys — that's right, the Backstreet Boys —are nominated for a CMT Award for their performance of "Everybody" with Florida Georgia Line. Look out for the boy band going country as they attend in honor of their first ever CMT Award nomination.
Blake and Gwen!
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani have been an item since 2015, but we still get a kick out of them making public appearances together. Since Shelton is nominated for multiple awards, look for the two to make an appearance together and continue stirring up rumors that they might be headed for the altar. (As an extra bonus, Shelton's ex Miranda Lambert, whom he split with only months before going public with Stefani, is also nominated and expected to attend.)
Carrie Underwood is nominated, alongside Ludacris for her video for Champions, and she has been frank about injuries to her face that required 40-50 stitches following a November fall. Though her performance on the ACM awards in April marked her first public performance since her accident, fans are still eager for a glimpse at how Underwood is faring — they can get it here.
Blake joins the Today show
As part of the CMT Awards, Shelton will fill in for Kathie Lee Gifford on Today the morning of June 6, alongside Hoda Kotb. The pair will announce the five finalists for video of the year (there are currently 12 nominees) live from Shelton's Ole Red bar in Nashville.
Jason Aldean has multiple nominations for the video for "You Make It Easy," the first single off his new album. While Aldean has spoken about the Las Vegas shooting that occurred during his performance and dedicated an impassioned SNL appearance to those affected, if he wins, it could be another chance to pay tribute to the victims whom he has dedicated his new album to.
Chris Stapleton performs
Stapleton slays in his live performances (see: SNL), and he's likely to do it again as one of the announced performers on the show. Because he's also nominated alongside Justin Timberlake we'll be eager to see if the pop star makes a cameo in his set.
Kelly Clarkson tore the house down as host of the Billboard Music Awards in May, including making a fierce plea for gun control. Look for the singer to deliver another incredible performance on the CMT Awards — and we'll be especially intrigued to see if she gets political before a traditionally more conservative audience.
Ballerini is in heavy promo mode for her hit album "Legends," and in addition to being nominated for two CMT Awards she'll take to the stage to perform.
The American Idol judge gets to step out from behind the judge's table once more and perform on the CMT Awards. Bryan is nominated for male video of the year for "Light It Up," so it's a safe bet that's what he might perform. Between Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Bryan, there will be quite the blend of 'American Idol' and "The Voice" talent present at the awards.
Hunt debuted new song "Nothing Lasts Forever" at the Indianapolis 500 in May, and we're hoping it makes a return appearance when he performs on the CMT Awards.
Earth, Wind, and Fire
Earth, Wind, and Fire are nominated for their first ever CMT Award for their performance of "September" with Lady Antebellum — while much of the CMT nominees are young, new artists, it's a treat to see a band over 40 years into their career earning a nod.