The 2023 CMT Music Awards, honoring excellence in country music, is here. Nominees for the only country music award show that is completely voted on by fans were announced in March.
Here’s how to watch, who’s nominated and what else to know ahead of this year’s CMT Music Awards on Sunday.
Where to watch
The 2023 CMT Music Awards is set to air on CBS live from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch the show on Paramount+.
This year’s hosts for the 2023 CMT Music Awards are Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini. The two previously co-hosted the show together in 2021 and 2022.
“[It’s the] only award show I’ve hosted, and it’s just cool, getting to keep doing it and getting to keep getting more comfortable,” Brown told Entertainment Weekly in February. “It’s cool to be doing it with somebody I’m familiar with. I’m very shy. So if I was doing it with a stranger, I don’t know how it’d go.”
Leading the pack in nominations at this year’s award show is Lainey Wilson, with a total of four nominations. She is up for video of the year and collaborative video of the year for her “wait in the truck” video with HARDY, female video of the year for “Heart Like a Truck,” and performance of the year for her performance at the 2022 CMT Awards.
Also nominated for video of the year is Carrie Underwood, who holds the record for being the most nominated artist in the history of the award show. She has won video of the year for the past four years in a row, with a total of 14 nominations in that category and 10 wins. Carrie could break her own record of 25 CMT Music Awards if she wins Sunday night.
Other video of the year nominees include Kane Brown with his wife Katelyn Brown, Blake Shelton, Cody Johnson and Morgan Wallen.
Performers and collaborations
Along with hosting the show, Brown is performing on the CMT Music Awards stage this year alongside his wife Katelyn to sing their record-breaking duet “Thank God” for the first time on television.
Fellow country music stars Underwood, Shelton and Keith Urban will also take the stage Sunday evening. Shelton, who has won a career total of eight CMT Awards, will be singing his single “No Body.”
Returning to the CMT stage this year are Carly Pearce, Johnson and Wilson, who have all recently had big career highs and will perform as nominees. Like Brown, co-host Ballerini is also playing double duty, and will perform one of her hit songs.
As part of the network’s “CMT Next Women of Country” franchise, seven-time Grammy Award-winning artist Alanis Morissette will take the stage with Wilson, Ingrid Andress, Madeline Edwards and Morgan Wade to sing “You Oughta Know.” Also making their CMT performance debut is Gwen Stefani, who will take the stage with Pearce.
Darius Rucker is set to perform with The Black Crowes to sing one of the band’s hit songs “She Talks to Angels.” Also teaming up for this year’s show is Ashley McBryde and Wynonna Judd. Last year, Judd performed at the CMT Awards with her late mother Naomi Judd, singing “Love Can Build A Bridge.”
There will also be a performance paying tribute to the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, which will include Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Cody Johnson, Paul Rodgers, Slash and Warren Haynes, as well as LeAnne Rimes and Wynonna Judd who will perform together as The Honkettes.
Shania Twain will be honored at the ceremony as the third-ever recipient of the CMT Equal Play Award. The award is given to artists who use their platform to advocate for change in the industry and elevate the voices of those who are underrepresented in country music.
The first recipient of the CMT Equal Play Award was given to Jennifer Nettles in 2020 who received the award for her efforts to get country stations to play more female artists.
In March 2023, Twain spoke to CNBC about the treatment of women in country music, saying instead of getting better, there are more “challenges” for women now.
“The music industry going back 20 years ago, 30 years ago, was primarily more dominated by men,” she told CNBC in an interview. “You know, male executives, most of the studio musicians were men, most of the managers were men, it was just more male-dominated in every sense. So being taken seriously as a woman was a challenge.”
Twain went on to note that she believes “the industry has regressed.” “I feel it’s more difficult for women to find space, to find room. It’s sad to see it, but it’s very true,” she said.