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2016’s CMT Awards Featured Pop and Rock Guest Stars

By Robyn Collins

When CMT’s 2016 Music Awards aired last night, at first viewers weren’t sure what kind of program they were watching. While the show was filled with country music’s top names it also featured artists not usually associated with the genre, including Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and Cheap Trick.

Related: Carrie Underwood Makes Most Powerful Mom List for 2016

The show kicked off with Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville performing his single “Wasted Time”, then threw to an outdoor performance by an Elvis-flavored Billy Ray Cyrus along with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick.

JJ Watt and Erin Andrews attempted to segue the audience between the stages and venues.

Pitbull, Leona Lewis and country’s Cassadee Pope took the Bridgestone stage. Then Thomas Rhett killed it with his single “T-shirt,” on the outside stage.

Main stage attractions were Luke Bryan, who got the crowd involved with his performance of “Huntin’, Fishin’ Lovin’ Every Day,” Florida Georgia Line with their new single “H.O.L.Y,” and Jason Aldean’s “Lights Come On.”

Arguably the most “country” moment of the night came when Blake Shelton sang his song “Doin’ It to Country Songs” with The Oak Ridge Boys, and then they closed with latter’s hit “Elvira.”

When Blake won CMT’s Social Superstar award he said, “That’s not what I was going for, but what the hell! I have a few drinks and get on Twitter once in a while. I didn’t know you could get paid for that, but damn!”

Dierks Bentley and Elle King were perfection in their performance of “Different With Girls.”

Cam, in her signature yellow, collaborated with Fifth Harmony on her song “Mayday” and their “Work From Home.” Little Big Town welcomed Pharrell Williams to the country stage as he performed their new single with them. Chris Stapleton slayed his song “Parachute,” as we have so quickly come to expect from the singer/songwriter.

Carrie Underwood took the house down with her choir-infused rendition of “Church Bells.”

But what’s an awards show without the awards… here are the details:

Country superstar Carrie Underwood added two more CMT Music Awards to her collection last night, taking home Female Video of the Year for “Smoke Break” and Performance of the Year. Tim McGraw went away with the night’s biggest prize, Video of the Year, for “Humble and Kind.”

Carrie Underwood spoke for her fellow nominees and artists when she accepted the Performance of the Year award. “I want to thank you guys for coming out and supporting country music on tour,” she said. “We’ve spent the first part of the year on the road and it’s just been so wonderful to see so many people come out. I know I speak for everybody out there – all of us artists who say you guys are the reason that we get to do what we get to do. Thank you so much for coming out and supporting us in concert. God bless you guys.”

Here are all the winners:

Female Video: “Smoke Break” Carrie Underwood
Breakthrough Video: “Fire Away” Chris Stapleton
Group/Duo Video: “Girl Crush” Little Big Town
Male Video: “Die a Happy Man,” Thomas Rhett
CMT Performance of the Year: “Smoke Break” (from CMT Instant Jam), Carrie Underwood
CMT Social Superstar: Blake Shelton
Video of the Year: “Humble and Kind” Tim McGraw

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