Continuing to tease viewers with their “One-of-a-Kind Wednesday” reveals, CMA Awards organizers have let another couple of cool cats out of the bag. Country and rock will once again collide on the November 4th broadcast, with a special performance by Keith Urban and John Mellencamp.
In what’s likely to be the most meta moment of the live show, Urban will presumably be performing his latest single, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” In addition to a tractor and a Bible verse, the title of the chart-topping hit, of course, also references the one-time stage name of the singer who in the Eighties scored such roots-influenced hits as “Small Town” and “Pink Houses.” Mellencamp, who was initially billed as “Johnny Cougar,” then “John Cougar,” was saddled with the moniker by a manager but hated it. After his breakthrough hits, “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good,” he released his next LP under the name “John Cougar Mellencamp” before turning the Cougar loose for good in 1991.
Longtime Keith Urban fans may also remember the name game that was played early on in his career: Like singer k.d. lang, the New Zealander sometimes used the lowercase-styled spelling of “keith urban.”
This latest pairing of superstar performers follows last week’s reveal that Thomas Rhett and Fall Out Boy will perform during the three-hour gala. As previously reported, other hotly anticipated performances include the show-opening pairing of Hank Williams Jr. and Entertainer of the Year nominee Eric Church, plus the spotlighting of several female artists, including nominees Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Maddie & Tae and Kelsea Ballerini.
It all kicks off live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, November 4th, at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.