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Jelly Roll And Lainey Wilson Top The CMT Music Awards & Other Highlights

3 April 2023 | 2:19 pm | Staff Writer

The 2023 CMT Music Awards took place on April 2.

(Image: via Facebook)

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Jelly Roll was the ultimate winner at the CMT Music Awards, taking home all three of his nominations. He was awarded ‘Male Video of the Year’, ‘Breakthrough Male Video of the Year’ and ‘CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year’ for his breakout single, Son of a Sinner.

“They let a loser win tonight, baby,” Jelly Roll said when collecting his ‘Breakthrough Male Video of the Year’ trophy, “This is more than an award... this is for the underdogs, the losers and the have-nots. God takes the impossible and makes it look small.”

Lainey Wilson was also a multiple award-winner for ‘Collaboration Video of the Year’ with Hardy for Wait In The Truck and ‘Female Video of the Year’ for Heart Like A Truck.

Additionally, Cody Johnson was awarded ‘CMT Performance of the Year’ for ‘Til You Can’t from the 2022 CMT Music Awards, ‘Breakthrough Female Video of the Year’ went to Megan Moroney for Tennessee Orange and ‘Group/Duo Video of the Year’ to Zac Brown Band for Out In The Middle.

Kane and Kaitlyn Brown made history as the first husband and wife duo to win the coveted ‘Video of the Year’ award with Thank God. This is also the first win for each of them in the category.

The 2023 CMT Music Awards were co-hosted by Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini and broadcast live from Austin, Texas’ Moody Center on Sunday, April 2.

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Ballerini made her red carpet debut with her new beau, Chase Stokes. The Outer Banks actor was later seen dancing and singing along to her performance of If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too), in which Ballerini was joined on stage by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Manila Luzon, Kennedy Davenport, Jan Sport and Olivia Lux all dressed in their best 1950s southern drag.

The performance came as something of a political statement from the country star, especially as drag has become a target for right-wing legislatures around the country. Most recently, after Tennessee passed its widely criticised public-drag ban, a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect for 14 days on Friday (March 31), claiming that the state failed to make a compelling argument as to why the new law was warranted.

Maren Morris also took a recent stand against Tennessee's controversial drag show bill. "Yes, I introduced my son to some drag queens today. So, Tennessee, f---ing arrest me," she said.

Shania Twain used her moment to call on the music industry to be more inclusive. Accepting the Equal Play Award, which recognises artists who are vocal advocates for elevating diverse and underrepresented voices in country music, Twain referenced her 1997 hit Man! I Feel Like a Woman, and said that when she wrote the now-classic, she "had no idea at the time that it would become an undercurrent of a decades-long career."

"It's amazing how just one statement can empower so many. And Man! I Feel Like a Woman has been adopted by an array of fantastic communities all around the world and become such a genuine path of power, which brings me so much joy," she said.

"I believe in an all-inclusive country music. This is a genre of music with a rich history that raised and nurtured my own songwriting and performance and recording career from childhood. Currently, the industry standard does a real disservice to this," she added. “Let us, the country music community do our part to close the gap and provide an equal workspace for all talent.”

"My hope is this opportunity and spotlight impresses you much and lights up the careers of these very talented people on their journey. I will continue to do my best as a trailblazer. Together, let's ensure all our fellow artists get equal play regardless of gender, age or race."

The standout performance was between ‘90s music icon Alanis Morissette and rising stars Ingrid Andress, Lainey Wilson, Madeline Edwards and Morgan Wade performing Morrissette’s iconic hit, You Oughta Know, which reached #4 on the Australian ARIA top 50 Singles Chart in 1995.

The 2023 CMT Music Awards also featured performances by Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Carrie Underwood, Cody Johnson, Gwen Stefani and Carly Pearce, Jelly Roll, Kane Brown and Katelyn Brown, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, The Black Crowes + Darius Rucker, Tyler Hubbard, and Wynonna Judd and Ashley McBryde

All-Star Tributes included Lynyrd Skynyrd featuring Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Cody Johnson, Paul Rodgers, Slash and Warren Haynes with LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd joining as “The Honkettes;” and Gary Clark Jr. performing a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Emerging artists Avery Anna, Chapel Hart, Jackson Dean, Lily Rose, Megan Moroney and Nate Smith also performed from the Ram Trucks Side Stage.

Presenters included Carly Pearce, Carrie Underwood, Charles Esten, Dixie D’Amelio, Dustin Lynch, HARDY, Ian Bohen and Jen Landon (Yellowstone), Jon Pardi, LeAnn Rimes, Madison Bailey (Outer Banks), Max Thieriot (CBS’ Fire Country), Megan Thee Stallion, Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things), Parker McCollum, Peter Frampton, Shania Twain, Steve Howey (True Lies) and Travis Kelce.  

2023 CMT Music Awards Nominees and Winners


  • Carrie Underwood, "Hate My Heart"
  • Hardy ft. Lainey Wilson, "Wait in the Truck"
  • Kane Brown and Katelyn Brown, "Thank God" -- WINNER


  • Carly Pearce, "What He Didn't Do"
  • Carrie Underwood, "Ghost Story"
  • Gabby Barrett, "Pick Me Up"
  • Kelsea Ballerini, "Heartfirst"
  • Lainey Wilson, "Heart Like a Truck" -- WINNER
  • Maren Morris, "Humble Quest"
  • Miranda Lambert, "Actin' Up"


  • Bailey Zimmerman, "Rock and a Hard Place"
  • Cody Johnson, "Human"
  • Cole Swindell, "She Had Me at Heads Carolina"
  • Jelly Roll, "Son of a Sinner" -- WINNER
  • Kane Brown, "Like I Love Country Music"
  • Luke Combs, "The Kind of Love We Make"
  • Morgan Wallen, "Wasted on You"


  • Dan + Shay, "You (Performance Video)"
  • Lady A, "Summer State of Mind"
  • Little Big Town, "Hell Yeah"
  • Parmalee, "Take My Name"
  • The War & Treaty, "That's How Love Is Made"
  • Zac Brown Band, "Out in the Middle” -- WINNER


  • Avery Anna, "Narcissist"
  • Kylie Morgan, "If He Wanted To He Would"
  • MacKenzie Porter, "Pickup"
  • Megan Moroney, "Tennessee Orange" -- WINNER
  • Morgan Wade, "Wilder Days"
  • Tiera Kennedy, "Found It In You"


  • Bailey Zimmerman, "Fall In Love"
  • Corey Kent, "Wild as Her"
  • Drake Milligan, "Sounds Like Something I'd Do"
  • Jackson Dean, "Don't Come Lookin'"
  • Jelly Roll, "Son of a Sinner" -- WINNER
  • Nate Smith, "Whiskey on You"


  • Elle King ft. Dierks Bentley, "Worth a Shot"
  • Hardy ft. Lainey Wilson, "Wait in the Truck" -- WINNER
  • Ingrid Andress with Sam Hunt, "Wishful Drinking"
  • Kane Brown & Katelyn Brown, "Thank God"
  • Midland ft. Jon Pardi, "Longneck Way to Go"
  • Russell Dickerson ft. Jake Scott, "She Likes It"
  • Thomas Rhett & Katy Perry, "Where We Started"


  • Black Pumas & Mickey Guyton, "Colors" (from 2022 CMT Music Awards)
  • Chris Stapleton, "Whenever You Come Around" (from CMT Giants: Vince Gill)
  • Cody Johnson, "'Til You Can’t" (from 2022 CMT Music Awards) -- WINNER
  • Cole Swindell & Lainey Wilson, "Never Say Never" (from 2022 CMT Music Awards)
  • Darius Rucker, "Let Her Cry" (from CMT Storytellers)
  • Emmy Russell & Lukas Nelson, "Lay Me Down" (from Coal Miner's Daughter: A Celebration of the Life & Music of Loretta Lynn)
  • Keith Urban, "Wild Hearts" (from 2022 CMT Music Awards)
  • LeAnn Rimes with Ashley McBryde & Carly Pearce, "One Way Ticket" (from CMT Crossroads: LeAnn Rimes & Friends)
  • The Judds, "Love Can Build A Bridge" (from 2022 CMT Music Awards)
  • Wynonna Judd & Brandi Carlile, "The Rose" (from Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration)


  • Charley Crockett, "Time of the Cottonwood Trees" (from CMT Campfire Sessions)
  • Chris Young, "Gettin’ You Home" (from CMT Stages)
  • Ingrid Andress, "Wishful Drinking" (from CMT Studio Sessions)
  • Jelly Roll, "Son of a Sinner" (from CMT All Access) -- WINNER
  • Megan Moroney, "Tennessee Orange" (from CMT Viral To Verified)
  • Scotty McCreery, "Damn Strait" (from CMT Campfire Sessions)

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