2020 CMT Awards: The Complete Recap

Country artists Kane Brown and Ashley McBryde, along with Modern Family star, Sarah Hyland hosted this year’s CMT Awards that took place in unique locations all over Nashville, Tennessee. Take a look below to see which artists took home hardware.

This year’s award show was very different than previous years in certain ways, as winners accepted their awards virtually and artists performed their songs from all different venues throughout Nashville, including Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Cherokee Dock, The Barn at Sycamore Farms, and Ruskin Cave.

One thing remained the same though; all the winners were chosen by the fans. They even got to vote for their favorite Video of The Year throughout the night, which started with fourteen nominees and dwindled down to just three by the start of the show. Carrie Underwood’s “Drinking Alone,” directed by Randee St. Nicholas, beat out Keith Urban’s “Polaroid” and Tanya Tucker’s “Bring My Flowers Now.” Underwood also took home the Female Video of the Year award with the certified gold song. For Underwood, this was her 21st and 22nd CMT award, making her the winningest artist in CMT history.

“Fan, you guys never cease to amaze me at how hard you work,” Underwood expressed after winning the Video of the Year. “I’ve seen you guys throwing Twitter parties and doing your thing and voting…this one is really all about you guys, especially because we haven’t been together, but I feel so loved this evening.”

CMT’s own Cody Alan and Katie Cook hosted a small, but live viewing party presented by Ram Trucks. The select, socially-distanced fans got to watch the show live from Cumberland Park on a big screen.

Luke Combs got the show off to a raging start with his upbeat, drinking tune “1, 2 Many.” Brooks and Dunn, who are featured on the studio version of the track, surprised fans and came out to perform their verse. Kix Brooks brought Combs a beer, which he then quickly shot-gunned. Sam Hunt was on next, performing his latest number one song, “Hard To Forget.”

McBryde handed out the first award of the night; the Duo Video of the Year award presented to Dan + Shay for “I Should Probably Go To Bed,” continuing their incredible success at award shows. They also performed this song later in the show. Shortly after, CMT honored their first Equal Play award winner to Jennifer Nettles for her contribution and dedication to getting women more airplay on country radio.

One aspect that made this show stand out from other years was the elaborate, music video-styled sets put together for the artists. A few sets we loved included Shania Twain’s, who performed her classic hit “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” in a western-themed jail cell with realistic mannequins beside her, and Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey’s performance of “The Other Girl” in an old saloon in Los Angeles.

Speaking of memorable performances, Chris Young took home the award for CMT Performance of the Year for “Drowning” at the CMT Artists of the Year special. That night honored five artists who had tremendous years in 2019 and Kane Brown was one of the recipients. However, that week his friend and drummer, Kenny Dixon passed away in a car accident and Young stepped in for Brown who was too emotional to perform.

“It was a really difficult moment for me, to get up there and play that knowing that he (Brown) was watching, knowing everything he was going through,” Young reflected. “I can’t imagine, even still, what his passing does to you.”

CMT continued their tradition of showcasing new artists throughout the show from the Ram Truck stage. Artists who performed snippets of their hits included Ingrid Andress, Travis Denning, Caylee Hammack, Riley Green, Mickey Guyton, and HARDY.

Old Dominion won the Group Video of the Year award for “One Man Band,” and Luke Bryan took home Male Video of the Year for “One Margarita.” He said the video was a blast to shoot and was a perfect song to lift our spirits as we entered the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gabby Barrett, making her CMT Awards debut, gave us an explosive performance of her double-platinum smash hit, “I Hope.” Later, Taylor Swift, who won the Breakthrough Video of the Year at the CMT’s thirteen years ago, announced Barrett as this year’s winner.

Later in the show, Jimmie Allen and Noah Cyrus performed “This Is Us” on stage together for the first time. This was followed by the announcement of the Collaborative Video of the Year; Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani for “Nobody But You.”

“I really do believe that these award shows are beginning to lose credibility over the last few years and fan-voted awards, to me, are really the only stand-up award shows left in our industry, Shelton stated after winning, “because you guys buy the records and come to the shows and vote on these things.”

Other performances included “Martha Divine” by McBryde, “Chasin’ You” by Morgan Wallen, “What She Wants Tonight” by Bryan, “Worship You” by Brown, and an acoustic rendition of “Hell and Back” by Maren Morris. A drinking song began this fun and incredible night, so it was fitting that a drinking song would end the show as well. Little Big Town performed their energetic current single, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” from the Ruskin Cave.



Best video of the year; awarded to the artist (male, female, group/duo or collaboration) and the video director. 

  • Carrie Underwood – “Drinking Alone” * WINNER
  • Keith Urban – “Polaroid”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “homecoming queen?”
  • Luke Combs – “Beer Never Broke My Heart”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Bluebird”
  • Tanya Tucker – “Bring My Flowers Now”

Best video by a female artist; awarded to the artist

  • Ashley McBryde – “One Night Standards”
  • Carrie Underwood – “Drinking Alone” * WINNER
  • Gabby Barrett – “I Hope”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “homecoming queen?”
  • Maren Morris – “The Bones”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Bluebird”

Best video by a male artist; awarded to the artist

  • Jason Aldean – “Got What I Got”
  • Luke Bryan – “One Margarita” * WINNER
  • Luke Combs – “Even Though I’m Leaving”
  • Morgan Wallen – “Chasin’ You (Dream Video)”
  • Sam Hunt – “Hard To Forget”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Remember You Young”

Best video by a group; awarded to the artists

  • Lady A – “Champagne Night”
  • Little Big Town – “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” (Live Cut)
  • Midland – “Cheatin’ Songs (Live From the Palomino)”
  • Old Dominion – “One Man Band” * WINNER
  • The Chicks – “Gaslighter”
  • The Highwomen – “Crowded Table”

Best video by a duo; awarded to the artists

  • Brothers Osborne – “All Night (Studio Performance)”
  • Dan + Shay – “I Should Probably Go To Bed” * WINNER
  • Florida Georgia Line – “Blessings”
  • LOCASH – “One Big Country Song”
  • Maddie & Tae – “Die From A Broken Heart”

Best video from an artist’s major breakthrough album; awarded to the artist (male, female or group/duo)

  • Blanco Brown – “The Git Up”
  • Caylee Hammack – “Family Tree”
  • Gabby Barrett – “I Hope” * WINNER
  • Ingrid Andress – “More Hearts Than Mine”
  • Riley Green – “I Wish Grandpas Never Died”
  • Travis Denning – “After a Few”

Best video from a collaboration; awarded to the artists

  • Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani – “Nobody But You” * WINNER
  • Carly Pearce and Lee Brice – “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
  • Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber – “10,000 Hours”
  • Kane Brown featuring Nelly – “Cool Again”
  • Marshmello and Kane Brown – “One Thing Right”
  • Thomas Rhett featuring Jon Pardi – “Beer Can’t Fix”

Musical performance on a television show, series or variety special on CMT; awarded to the artist (individual, group or duo)

  • From CMT Artists of the Year: Ashley McBryde – “One Night Standards”
  • From CMT Crossroads: Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs – “Brand New Man”
  • From CMT Artists of the Year: Chris Young – “Drowning” * WINNER
  • From CMT Crossroads: Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini – “Graveyard”
  • From CMT Artists of the Year: Sam Hunt – “Fancy”
  • From CMT Crossroads: Sheryl Crow and Chris Stapleton – “Tell Me When It’s Over”

*favorite video created during quarantine

  • Big & Rich – “Stay Home”
  • Brad Paisley – “No I In Beer”
  • Carly Pearce – “It Won’t Always Be Like This (The Social Distance Sessions)”
  • Charlie Worsham ft. Billy Justineau, Molly Tuttle, Rachel Loy, Jillian Jacqueline, Tucker Wilson, Stephen Wilson Jr., Leigh Nash, Fancy Hagood, Lucie Silvas, John Osborne & Sadler Vaden – “With A Little Help From My Friends” (Beatles Cover)
  • Dave Haywood (of Lady A) & Kelli Haywood – “Just Another Day In Quarantine”
  • Dolly Parton – “When Life Is Good Again”
  • Granger Smith – “DON’T COUGH ON ME!” * WINNER
  • Luke Combs – “Six Feet Apart”
  • Tenille Townes ft. Abby Anderson, Kassi Ashton, Keelan Donovan, Alex Hall, Adam Hambrick & Caylee Hammack – “Lean On Me” (Bill Withers Cover)
  • Thomas Rhett ft. Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin & Keith Urban – “Be A Light” (Fan Video)


Fans can also join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about the upcoming performance announcements in the coming weeks.

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