ABC Celebrates ‘CMA Fest’ 2022 Television Special

ABC celebrated CMA Fest 2022 in a remarkable television special, recapping the events from earlier this summer. Check it out below.


Photo Courtesy of CMA // Credit: John Shearer/Getty

After a long, but necessary two-year hiatus, CMA Fest returned to Nashville, taking place from June 9 to June 12 with the biggest acts in the genre performing at Nissan Stadium over the four-night event. The three-hour television special aired on ABC last night (August 3), targeting the country fans who could not attend in-person or who wanted to relive the music-filled weekend. The dynamic duo of Dierks Bentley and Elle King hosted the action-packed program. 

The “KB”s, Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini, opened the show, performing their current, upbeat singles “Like I Love Country Music” and “Heartfirst,” respectively. Both songs are currently in the top 40 on country radio. Brown and Ballerini both performed later as well, singing “One Mississippi” and “Half of My Hometown.” Thomas Rhett was next, singing his latest number one hit, “Slow Down Summer.”

After several newer songs, it was time to flashback to 2013; Darius Rucker performed his classic country hit, “Wagon Wheel.” Rucker stopped singing to allow the 65,000+ fans to shout the final chorus. Bentley was next, and performed his biggest hit to date, “Drunk on a Plane.” Bentley brought Billy Ray Cyrus on stage to sing Cyrus’ crossover hit, “Achy Breaky Heart” on the 30th anniversary of its release. 

Cole Swindell was next to take the stage—he sang his nostalgic tune, “She Had Me At Heads Carolina.” After, Lainey Wilson made her debut on the CMA stage to sing her and Swindell’s number-one collaboration “Never Say Never.” Swindell’s good friend, Luke Bryan was up next. He kicked off his set with his hip-hop blended-bluegrass hit, “Kick The Dust Up.” The other Luke, reigning CMA-Entertainer of the Year, Luke Combs followed with a performance of his current top-10 single “The Kind of Love We Make.” He concluded his set with the energetic, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” which really got the crowd fired up.

The show’s mood changed when Carly Pearce expressed her sorrow in the death of her childhood icon, Naomi Judd. To honor her legacy, she brought out her daughter and bandmate, Wynonna Judd to sing their 1984 hit, “Why Not Me.” Judd told the band to lower the music so she could hear the crowd sing the “La la la” part of the bridge.

Bentley took the stage again to introduce his co-host, Elle King, who gave an animated performance of her collaboration with Miranda Lambert, “Drunk and I Don’t Want To Go Home.” After, Ashley McBryde joined her to sing King’s 2015 number one pop hit, “Ex’s and Oh’s.” After the commercial break, Jason Aldean sang “Trouble With A Heartbreak” and Old Dominion performed their uplifting, top-20 single, “No Hard Feelings.” Lead singer, Matthew Ramsey broke up his little xylophone during the final chorus, an instrument you rarely see on the country stage.

Zac Brown Band performed their boot-stomping single, “Out In The Middle” right before Rucker took the stage again to sing what is undoubtedly one of the most popular country songs of all-time, “Chicken Fried” with the GRAMMY-winning group. Later Carrie Underwood took the stage to sing her 2012 hit, “Good Girl” and her current single, “Ghost Story.” From two of the most-established acts in the industry to one of the newest, Parker McCollum made his debut on the CMA Fest stage, performing “To Be Loved By You.” Russell Dickerson also made his CMA Fest debut this year—he performed “Love You Like I Used To” later in the show.

Brothers Osborne brought skeletons on stage for their performance of the song of the same name. John Osborne always provides a little bit of flare to the live show, adding an electric guitar solo at the end of the song. Lady A brought the good vibes with their new tune “Summer State of Mind” before performing the song that started it all for the trio, “Need You Now” with special guest, Breland. Before the final chorus, the band stopped playing to let the audience harmonize the lyrics.

Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter performed their number one collaboration “Thinking ‘Bout You” on a stage in the middle of the audience. After Aldean gave a fiery performance of “She’s Country,” Rhett closed the show performing a medley of past hits such as “Get Me Some of That,” “It Goes Like This,” and “Vacation,” concluding three hours of high energy country music performances that will definitely make you want to attend the festival in-person in 2023.

If you missed the special, you can catch a replay of it on or on Hulu. Tickets to CMA Fest 2023 are on sale now! 

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