CMT has named a high-performing group of Artists of the Year for 2016: Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett. The seventh annual celebration of the year’s biggest country stars will air live on CMT from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville on Tuesday, October 20th at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Previous AOTY honoree Underwood makes a welcome return to the group after a few years away, while Thomas Rhett makes his first-ever appearance. Chris Stapleton, who was named the Breakout Artist of the Year in 2015 for his phenomenal success with the album Traveller, also joins the AOTY honorees for the first time. Florida Georgia Line returns for a fourth consecutive year and Luke Bryan is back for his fifth straight year, tying him with Jason Aldean for most total “wins.” Each artist will be celebrated with special performances for leading the way across CMT’s platforms, radio, sales and touring.
Additionally, rising star and CMT Next Women of Country member Kelsea Ballerini will be presented with the Breakout Artist of the Year honor at the ceremony. She recently found her own place in radio history when her song “Peter Pan” hit Number One, making her the only female artist in country music to have her first three singles from a debut album reach the top of the country chart.
Additional honorees, performers and guests will be announced at a later date. Previous CMT AOTY winners include Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.