Tim McGraw took home the big award of the night at Wednesday’s 2016 CMT Music Awards, broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Tim won Video of the Year honors for “Humble and Kind.” Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett and Little Big Town walked off with belt-buckle trophies for Female, Male and Duo/Group of the Year, respectively.
However, the musical performances took center stage at this year’s telecast, which saw top country artists sharing the stage with some of today’s biggest pop stars.
Billy Ray Cyrus, who stars as an Elvis Presley impersonator in the new CMT comedy Still the King, premiering on Sunday, joined Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick on the outdoor stage for a rowdy medley of Elvis’ ”Don’t Be Cruel,” and traded vocals with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander on the band’s classic, “Surrender”
Back inside the theater, Pitbull performed his single “Messin’ Around” — originally recorded with Enrique Iglesias — backed by Leona Lewis and Cassadee Pope doing the Enrique part.
Cam joined forces with Fifth Harmony for a medley of each other’s songs. 5H, dressed in matching red gowns, backed Cam up on “Mayday,” and Cam pitched in on the band’s big hit, originally recorded with Ty Dolla $ign, “Work from Home.” The medley turned into a mash-up, with the two songs seamlessly blending into one another.
The next crossover pairing was from Dierks Bentley and Elle King, who took on the battle of the sexes, with an intimate performance of Dierks’ “Different for Girls.” Elle picked a banjo as Dierks strummed a guitar.
Pharrell and Little Big Town performed their funky new song “C’mon,” from their upcoming collaboration album Wanderlust, to close out the show.
Other collaborations included Social Superstar of the Year winner Blake Shelton joining The Oak Ridge Boys for a medley of Blake’s “Doing It to a Country Song” and The Oaks’ classic “Elvira.” Keith Urban teamed up with his tour mates Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge for his hit “Wasted Time.”
Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean also performed.
The night’s other award winners included Chris Stapleton with Breakthrough Video for “Fire Away” and Underwood for CMT Performance of the Year for “Smoke Break,” from CMT Instant Jam.
Dierks Bentley paid tribute to Muhammad Ali, who died last Friday, and Merle Haggard, who passed away in April.
Martina McBride also premiered the video for “Just Around the Corner,” the official Band Against Cancer anthem and a single from McBride’s newest album, Reckless.
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