The 2023 CMT Music Awards took place on April 2.
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.
We love seeing these country queens come together for an ICONIC performance of “You Oughta Know” 🙌💗 pic.twitter.com/r0tbpEWYkp— CMT (@CMT) April 3, 2023
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.
For more information and news, visit CMT.com.