CMT's 'Artists of the Year' to Honor Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt - Rolling Stone
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CMT’s ‘Artists of the Year’ to Honor Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt

Blake Shelton, Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line round out this year’s class, who will be saluted during live December 2nd show

Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan is one of five country acts set to be honored at CMT's 'Artists of the Year' special.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Just one week after the 2015 CMA Awards, another awards show is gearing up to celebrate country music’s biggest and brightest. CMT’s year-end Artists of the Year event will hit the airwaves on December 2nd, shining a light on five names — Blake Shelton, Little Big Town, Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line — who’ve built up the most active presence in country music and on CMT’s network over the past year. 

Now in its sixth year, the Artists of the Year show isn’t a competition as much as a celebration, with all five honorees receiving the same award. There are no upsets or surprise wins. To keep its audience intact, the show has carved out a reputation as a home for unlikely duets and cross-genre tributes, such as Darius Rucker and Adele’s performance of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” in 2010. Lady Antebellum returned the favor last year, hitting the stage with Chris Stapleton to honor Luke Bryan with a stripped-down “Drink a Beer” (watch their performance below.)

Other highlights include Maroon 5’s funky, reggae-influenced take on Taylor Swift’s “Mine” in 2010, as well as Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie’s tag-teamed mashup of “Oh No” and “All Night Long” in 2013. Although specific guests for this year’s show have yet to be announced, the Artists of the Year ceremony will air live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center at 8:00 p.m. ET, capping off the year with one last salute to country music’s heaviest hitters.


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