The 2018 CMT Artists of the Year show airs tonight, on the CMT network and on TV Land, live at 8 p.m. ET/PT. This year’s honorees for the event are all female and they include Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, Hillary Scott and Loretta Lynn. Several of these women have actually been honorees in the past as well and Loretta Lynn is actually this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Honor.
When Carrie Underwood was talking about Lynn and the impact she has had on country music, Underwood told CMT.com that, “I’ve seen Coal Miner’s Daughter many times. And I know our growings up were very different, but she came from a very small place, and she had big dreams. And (she) wasn’t sure how to achieve them, and along the way just worked really hard, worked her butt off and managed to become Loretta Lynn: somebody that we all know and love and respect the crap out of. To have her life kind of documented like that for the rest of the world to see, it’s definitely influential to the rest of us growing up seeing that.”
Tonight, three big artists will deliver a tribute performance to Lynn, in honor of her big award, and these performers include Sheryl Crow, Dierks Bentley and Martina McBride. Oscar and Golden Globe winner Sissy Spacek, who played Lynn in the 1980 film Coal Miner’s Daughter, will present Lynn with the honor.
Other presenters scheduled to appear on stage tonight, according to CMT, are Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Smokey Robinson, singer-songwriter Elle King, Hillary Scott, Jimi Westbrook, Phillip Sweet, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, and Trisha Yearwood.
Each of the other honorees tonight will be giving performances as well. Honoree Maren Morris will team up with Brandi Carlil to pay tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, as reported by Billboard. Morris announced the news on Twitter, writing, “Cat’s outta the bag! I’m so incredibly honored to tribute the late Aretha Franklin with @brandicarlile at Artist of the Year. Don’t miss it!”
Other collaborative performances for tonight include Carrie Underwood with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June, Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman with the legendary Gladys Knight, Hillary Scott with Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin, Kelsea Ballerini with Alison Krauss, and Miranda Lambert with Pistol Annies.
The 2018 CMT Artists of the Year event is to honor achievements in the entertainment industry, but, according to Leslie Fram, senior vice president of music strategy for CMT, “This show is really about the artists having a great time. They can perform, or not perform. And of course, they’ve all decided they want to perform, and they’ve all curated their own performances.” Fram also told Entertainment Weekly that, “Most of these artists love and respect each other. They all support each other, but when do they get to see each other?”
Tune in tonight to see some of the biggest artists in country music take the stage at the annual event in unexpected collaborations and heartfelt performances.