Mark Humphrey / AP
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 | 7:01 p.m.
NEW YORK — The CMT Music Awards are drunk on Little Big Town’s “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.”
The music video for the country foursome’s hit song won the first award at Wednesday night’s show — duo/group video of the year.
“This is awesome. First of all, we’re back and making music people,” Kimberly Schlapman yelled, referring to the pandemic.
“I know you like drinking songs,” Karen Fairchild added.
The event airing from Nashville, Tennessee, kicked off with a collaborative performance by Lady A with Carly Pearce and Lindsay Ell, and more will join forces onstage. The icon Gladys Knight and Mickey Guyton will perform together while Chris Stapleton and fellow guitar slayer H.E.R. are set to rock out at the awards show celebrating the year’s best country music videos.
Other collaborative performances include Carrie Underwood with rock band NEEDTOBREATHE, Ingrid Andress with pop singer-songwriter JP Saxe, Kane Brown with Chris Young, Kelsea Ballerini will Paul Klein from LANY, Brothers Osborne and Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, and Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi.
Brown and Ballerini are hosting the show, which will honor acts in country music but will also share its stage with pop and R&B stars, including Pink, John Legend, Halsey and Noah Cyrus.
Legend is nominated for video of the year for his appearance on Underwood’s “Hallelujah,” while Keith Urban and Pink’s “One Too Many” will also compete for the top prize. Both videos are also nominated for collaborative video of the year.
And acts like Halsey, Cyrus, rock-pop singer Elle King and brooding singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff are nominated for awards based on collaborations with country acts.
Fourteen videos were originally in contention for video of the year, but CMT narrowed it down to four videos Wednesday. Brown’s “Worldwide Beautiful” and Ballerini’s “hole in the bottle” round out the nominees, and the two stars will host the fan-voted show and perform.
Guyton — who is nominated for two awards — will not only sing with Knight, she’ll also perform with BRELAND and present the CMT Equal Play Award to Linda Martell, one of the pioneering Black acts in country music and the first Black woman to perform solo at the Grand Ole Opry. The 86-year-old released the album “Color Me Country” in 1970, and the title track — a country cover of The Winstons’ R&B hit — became her biggest hit-to-date on the Billboard country music charts, reaching No. 22.
Other performers include Luke Bryan, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett, while Anthony Mackie, Busy Philipps, Little Big Town, Michael Strahan and Trace Adkins will present awards.
Both Maren Morris and Gabby Barrett were originally set to perform at the CMT Awards but backed out.