PHOTOS: CMT Awards attract big music stars - and JJ Watt

AP logo
Thursday, June 9, 2016

NASHVILLE, TN -- The 2016 CMT Awards kicked off with a number of collaborative performances featuring country stars and others outside the genre, from rockers Cheap Trick to rapper Pitbull.

Erin Andrews and J.J. Watt hosted the show.

Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris started the show off at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. That was followed with an outdoor performance by Billy Ray Cyrus with recent Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick. Then the show went back indoors for a performance by Pitbull, pop singer Leona Lewis and Cassadee Pope - all while Jason Aldean, Nicole Kidman and more watched in the audience.

Others from outside the country genre would hit the stage Wednesday, including Pharrell. The hit-making producer-rapper-singer, who produced Little Big Town's new album, is set to perform alongside the Grammy-winning country group. The eight-song "Wanderlust" will be released Friday.

Pharrell follows Beyonce, who has a country song on her new album, and Justin Timberlake, who had a country hit last year with the track "Drink You Away."

Other performers will include top country singers such as Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and Aldean. Aside from Pharrell, more performers outside of the country genre will hit the stage for collaborations, including pop-rock singer Elle King and girl group Fifth Harmony.

Underwood, who currently holds the record for most wins for video of the year with six, is nominated for the top prize at the fan-voted show with her hit "Smoke Break." She's won the honor consecutively since 2012.

Other video of the year nominees include Shelton, Stapleton, Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Tim McGraw.

Dierks Bentley, the Oak Ridge Boys and Cam will also perform at the show. Presenters include actors Vince Vaughn, Rob Riggle and Chad Michael Murray; NASCAR driver Danica Patrick; and country acts Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley and Kellie Pickler.