Heartfelt speeches and superstar collaborations were the main attraction on Tuesday night’s CMT Artists of the Year special, airing live from Nashville. Tim McGraw was the night’s first honoree, and Lady Antebellum teamed up with rock legend Peter Frampton to sing Tim’s big hit, “Highway Don’t Care.”
Luke Bryan welcomed Lionel Richie for a show-closing medley of Lionel’s hits “Oh No” and “All Night Long.” While accepting his Artists of the Year trophy, Luke acknowledged the role of his onstage dance moves in his massive success saying, “I never intended my butt to get this much attention. I’m gonna have to exercise more.”
Hunter Hayes collaborated with Train‘s Pat Monahan on a medley of “I Want Crazy” and the Train hit, “Hey Soul Sister.” Hunter voice quivered with nerves as he accepted his trophy. He told the audience, “Being included in this group of people is pretty stunning.”
Florida Georgia Line delivered a performance of their latest hit, “Stay,” and the duo’s Tyler Hubbard paid tribute to the other honorees saying, “Thank you for all the artists that are here that we’ve looked up to our whole life and learned everything from you guys.”
Cassadee Pope and country legend Travis Tritt honored Jason Aldean singing his hit, “Night Train,” and Jason thanked Travis during his speech saying, “I won a contest playing one of your songs in the clubs. Paid for my first car. Appreciate it.”
Comedian Ron White hosted this year’s CMT Artists of the Year special. The cast of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was also featured in pre-taped segments throughout the night introducing each honoree.
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