The evening kicked off with an elaborate pre-taped segment starring Taylor Swift and Shania Twain as the iconic partners in crime, “Thelma and Louise.” The parody also featured “Glee’s” Chord Overstreet, Donald Trump, Ron White, Kenny Rogers and host Kid Rock. Wynonna Judd made a surprise appearance at the top of the show with Kid Rock before Toby Keith and the Incognito Banditos debuted the world premiere of the new song, “Made in America.”
The party rolled on with two first-time performers on the CMT MUSIC AWARDS stage: The Band Perry, who performed their current hit “You Lie,” and Luke Bryan, who was surrounded by dancers for a pyro-filled performance of “Country Girl (Shake It For Me).” Eight-time CMT MUSIC AWARDS winners Rascal Flatts were joined onstage by Out For Souls, a Nashville based community choir, for an inspiring rendition of their hit, “I Won’t Let Go.” Big and Rich, whose CMT performance was the duo’s first televised performance in over three years, was joined by surprise guest Gretchen Wilson for their new song “Fake ID,” which is featured in the upcoming film, “Footloose.” Host Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow sang and danced to their newest song, “Collide”; and Zac Brown Band channeled Jimmy Buffett with their perfect summer song, “Knee Deep.”
Sugarland’s emotional performance of “Stand Up,” featured the Gilbert family from Joplin, MO, who lost their home in the recent tornadoes and served as a call to action to encourage viewers to give to the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) in support of continued disaster relief. Keith Urban rocked his single, “Long Hot Summer,” while Lady Antebellum performed their newest hit, “Just a Kiss” and then segued into the Prince classic, “Kiss.” Jason Aldean was then joined onstage by special guest Ludacris, who performed Jason’s hit, “Dirt Road Anthem,” which included lyrics especially written for this performance, and which will also be available for download on iTunes at midnight. Finally, Aldean added a bonus track, closing the show with the ultimate country party song, “My Kinda Party.”
Joining Kid Rock onstage were presenters Shania Twain, Justin Bieber, “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver and “Dancing With The Stars” winner Hines Ward, Sara Evans, Train, Kristin Chenoweth, stars of the CMT original movie “To The Mat” Laura Bell Bundy and Ricky Schroder, Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, actresses Melissa Peterman, Mary Steenburgen and Cheryl Hines, Gary Busey of “Celebrity Apprentice” and Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.
For the fourth year in a row, the CMT MUSIC AWARDS featured a second concert stage sponsored by Nationwide Insurance that included such up-and-coming artists as Lee Brice, Colt Ford, Hunter Hayes, The JaneDear Girls, Thompson Square and CMT’S NEXT SUPERSTAR Finalists Matt Mason and Steven Clawson.