2021 CMA Awards: How to Watch, Who's Nominated, Performers, Streaming - Rolling Stone
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2021 CMA Awards: How to Watch, Who’s Nominated, Who’s Performing

With new host Luke Bryan, the 55th edition of the annual country-music event will return to its home at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena

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Luke Bryan will host the 2021 CMA Awards.

Jim Wright*

The CMA Awards will more or less return to its usual form for its 55th year. After a 2020 edition that was held in a different location and without an audience, the annual event will be broadcast once again from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and fans will be in the seats. Even so, some things may look and feel different this time around: a new host is set to take over, the pandemic remains a lingering threat, and one particular nominee continues to raise eyebrows. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the 2021 CMA Awards, from performers to nominees and more.

When Are the 2021 CMA Awards?

The 55th CMA Awards are Wednesday, Nov. 10.

How Can I Watch the CMA Awards?

This year’s CMAs will air live at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and can also be streamed live on the ABC app or with streaming cable services like fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV. Both fubo and Hulu offer free trials that you can use to watch the CMA Awards online free. Grab a 7-day free trial to fubo here or a 7-day free trial to Hulu + Live TV here to stream the CMA Awards on ABC from your laptop, phone or connected TV.

In the run-up to Nov. 10, ABC has been airing some CMA-focused programming. On Nov. 7 and 8, the network broadcast the 30-minute special “On the Red Carpet: Countdown to the CMA Awards,” featuring interviews with this year’s nominees and segments with Ryan Hurd, Michael Ray, and Lainey Wilson. On Monday, Nov. 8, ABC News aired its annual special “Backstage Pass: Countdown to the CMA Awards,” which featured Luke Bryan, Carly Pearce, and Keith Urban.

With the show returning to its usual home at Bridgestone Arena, there will also be pre-show coverage on Nov. 10 from the red carpet. ABC News will broadcast live beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET with Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer, CMA nominee Jimmie Allen, and KABC-TV’s George Pennacchio.

Who’s Hosting the CMA Awards?

CMA went for someone new this year, bringing on former CMA Entertainer of the Year and current American Idol judge Luke Bryan to handle the job. He follows a two-year stint by Reba McEntire and co-hosts including Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, and Dolly Parton.

Who’s Nominated at the CMA Awards?

Chris Stapleton and Eric Church are this year’s top nominees with five nods each and all of them in the same five categories including Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year. Other multiple nominees include “The Good Ones” singer Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Chris Young, and Miranda Lambert. Additionally, mixing engineer Jason Hall and producer Jay Joyce have multiple nominations for their work with Church, Brothers Osborne, and McBryde.

Is Morgan Wallen Nominated at the 2021 CMA Awards?

Tennessee country singer Morgan Wallen was ruled ineligible to be nominated in individual categories after being filmed on camera using a racist word last February. But his blockbuster 2021 release Dangerous: The Double Album did land a collaborative nomination for Album of the Year alongside offerings from Church, Stapleton, Carly Pearce, and Brothers Osborne. The Country Music Association has not invited Wallen to appear at this year’s awards.

Who’s Performing at the CMA Awards?

Eric Church, Mickey Guyton, Dan + Shay, and Brothers Osborne will all be performing on the CMA stage, as will Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Chris Stapleton, Jimmie Allen, Blake Shelton, Gabby Barrett, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, and Thomas Rhett. In typical CMA Awards fashion, the event will include numerous collaborations: Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde will sing their duet “Never Wanted to Be That Girl”; Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean will give the television debut of their duet “If I Didn’t Love You”; Chris Young and Kane Brown will reprise their hit collaboration “Famous Friends”; Dierks Bentley will bring out Breland and Hardy to deliver their single “Beers on Me.”

Who Are the Presenters at the 2021 CMA Awards?

Presenters at the CMA Awards include Ingrid Andress, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Lionel Richie, Monarch stars Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins, and “Strawberry Wine” singer Deana Carter.

Who Are the New Artists to Watch at the CMA Awards?

Gabby Barrett returns to the New Artist of the Year category after building on her breakout 2020 with another huge single in “The Good Ones.” She’s joined by fellow 2020 nominees Ingrid Andress and Jimmie Allen. Rounding out the category are Hardy and Mickey Guyton, who released her debut album in 2021 nearly 10 years after signing her record deal.


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