Starting off with country riser Breland, Guyton sang along with the hip-hop influenced newcomer’s “Cross Country,” an inspiring anthem about a search to find yourself. Matching Breland’s soaring vocal with a shimmering verse of her own (and a shimmering gown), Guyton and her partner brought the good vibes up — and then Knight knocked them out of the park. The soul diva took Breland’s place and led a smiling, country-funk rendition of “Friendship Train,” letting the good times roll. All three then finished the timely moment of togetherness off, with the CMT Awards’ live audience roaring in approval.
Guyton’s performance with Breland and Knight wasn’t her only big moment of the night, as she also took the stage to tribute Equal Play Award recipient Linda Martell. The Texas native has been making waves among the country music genre, calling out its antiquated stance regarding equality across gender, sexual orientation and race. With songs like “What You Are Gonna Tell Her?” and “Black Like Me,” Guyton has been using her voice to ask questions and further challenge the divisive norms in the genre. Fans can expect for spell-binding songs from the singer when she releases her debut album Remember Her Name this fall.
Breland, like Mickey Guyton, is one of the genre’s breakout stars. He has collaborated with a slew of country’s biggest names, including Keith Urban and Guyton. Pulling from his collaboration with Guyton, Breland will embark on his headlining Cross Country Tour, which will take him on the road from September through October.
Other performances from country music’s only fan-voted awards show include Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina and more.
The 2021 CMT Awards, hosted by Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini, will air live on Wednesday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network and TV Land. Voting is open for Video of the Year from now through Wednesday, June 9. Check out a full list of the nominees here.
Sounds Like Nashville will have all of your coverage for the 2021 CMT Music Awards right here.