CMT will turn the spotlight on real-life heroes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, replacing the yearly CMT Artists of the Year ceremony with a star-studded special.
Titled CMT Celebrates Our Heroes: An Artists of the Year Special, the night will feature big name country acts like Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Thomas Rhett, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne and more — but instead of honoring each other like a normal awards show, they’ll focus attention to the front lines of a global crisis. Contributing pre-recorded segments from the safety of their homes, each artist will take part in “one-of-a-kind tributes, callouts and performances” dedicated to workers in a number of categories, including healthcare, the food industry, American ingenuity, infrastructure, the U.S. military and first responders.
The pivot isn’t totally out of character for the show, which has also chosen to address issues like Hurricane Harvey, the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy and the underrepresentation of women in country in years past. But the special now heads into its eleventh year in a fundamentally different world.
“The CMT Artists of the Year franchise has always been reflective of the important issues of our time, and this year, we all felt it necessary to shift our focus to honoring the real heroes during these unprecedented times,” says CMT’s Senior Vice President of Music & Talent, Leslie Fram. “From the first responders and healthcare workers to members of the military, our educators, food industry workers and so many more, the country music community will come together to honor these heroic men and women. The evening of unity will feature incredible performances, uplifting tributes and a salute to those risking their lives on the frontlines of this crisis.”
CMT Celebrates Our Heroes: An Artists of the Year Special will air on CMT June 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.