CMT’s annual Artists of the Year special returns October 16th with a live broadcast from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center that will honor five country performers who have ruled in 2019. This year, those honorees include Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Kane Brown, and Thomas Rhett.
The 90-minute live music special will air on CMT at 8 p.m. ET and acknowledge the commercial and touring dominance of the five artists being celebrated. As is the case with past events, surprise guests and unlikely musical collaborations are expected, with additional performers and presenters to be named in the coming weeks.
Underwood, who released her album Cry Pretty in September 2018 and will host the 2019 CMA Awards with Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, won’t be on hand for the episode. Instead, she will live-stream a performance from her Cry Pretty 360 Tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio. This year marks Underwood’s fifth time to be honored and Rhett’s second. Combs, Brown, and Dan + Shay are all first-timers, with Combs looking to close out the year on a high note as his new album What You See Is What You Get arrives November 8th.
This year, the CMT Artists of the Year franchise celebrates a decade of honoring country’s superstars. In years past, guests on the show have included Adele, who sang Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” and Maroon 5, who saluted Taylor Swift with “Mine.” For the 2018 edition of Artists of the Year, CMT broke with its usual format and honored seven women including Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, and the women of Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum.