Following the devastating hurricanes, horrific California wildfires and tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, CMT today announced plans to transform this year’s “CMT Artists of the Year”’ special from a year-end celebration honoring the top artists of the year, into a night of hope and healing through the power of music featuring honorees Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. The eighth-annual special will air live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm ET/PT.
Grammy-nominated Andra Day and Grammy Award-winners Little Big Town will set the tone for the evening with an opening performance of the anthemic “Rise Up,” and Day, Little Big Town and Grammy Award-winner Lee Ann Womack will also perform Day’s new collaboration, the aptly titled “Stand Up For Something,” with Grammy Award-winner Common.
“Given the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, the raging California wildfires and the mass shootings in Las Vegas, we feel a commitment to our fans to address all of the tragedies not in one somber and solemn moment or segment, but rather devote the entire evening to uplifting the fans through high-spirited music,” said Frank Tanki, General Manager of CMT and TV Land. “Both “Rise Up” and “Stand Up for Something” are inspirational anthems that perfectly sum the message for the evening. The special has always been a place where artists from different genres can stand side-by-side, and now more than ever, we want to showcase the power of unity and resilience through music.”
The special will unite artists from all genres and feature a mix of never-before-seen collaborations and performances from the honorees. This year’s ceremony will forgo the formal presentations of awards and speeches in favor of heartfelt messages from the honorees directly to their fans. In addition, CMT has assembled the entertainment community to share messages of hope and healing. Additional performers will be announced at a later date.