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CMT Music Awards

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The CMT Music Awards is a fan-voted awards show for country music videos and television performances. The awards ceremony is held every year in Nashville, Tennessee, and broadcast live on CMT. Voting takes place on CMT’s website,



Beginning in 1967, the Music City News Awards were presented yearly by the now-defunct Music City News magazine. In 1988, The Nashville Network (TNN) began a fan-voted awards show dubbed the Viewers’ Choice Awards to help the network celebrate its fifth anniversary. In 1990, the two awards shows merged to become the TNN/Music City News Country Awards.

The TNN contract with Music City News ended in 1999, and the magazine ceased publication shortly thereafter. Country Weekly became the presenting sponsor of the awards show in 2000, and the show was known as Country Weekly presents the TNN Music Awards. In 2001, as TNN began to phase out its association with country music, the decision was made to shift the awards show to sister network CMT. The 2001 show was simulcast on both networks and was called the TNN/CMT Country Weekly Music Awards. When the show moved permanently to CMT, Country Weekly ended its brief association with the production. During this era, viewers voted for the nominees by telephone or mail in traditional categories such as “Entertainer of the Year,” “Male/Female Artist of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” etc. Most of the categories mirrored those on the CMA Awards and ACM Awards, except all awards were fan-voted[citation needed].

The awards show was completely retooled in 2002 to become the CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards, named for the network’s branding concept at the time for its most popular videos. The “Flameworthy” name was coined by program development vice president Kaye Zusmann, and aimed to symbolize the waving of lighters or similar lights at concerts. The show became more production-based, rather than awards-based, and was modeled after sister network MTV‘s Video Music Awards. In the process, the traditional awards were shifted to specifically honor the music videos of country artists.[1]

The show included several non-traditional categories highlighting especially funny, sexy, and patriotic videos; however, these categories were phased out over the years.[2] The show further differentiated itself from the CMA Awards and ACM Awards by showcasing bluegrass performers such as Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs.[1]

In 2003, the show was moved to April but returned to June in 2009 to coincide with the CMA Music Festival (the renamed “Fan Fair”) and the influx of tourists to Nashville as well as capitalize on a time when many of the artists would already be in Nashville at once.

The name of the show was changed to CMT Music Awards in 2005, although the format remained largely the same as in previous years.[3]

In 2020, the awards were delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with that year’s CMA Fest not going forward. Initially planned for October 14, a scheduling conflict with that year’s Billboard Music Awards caused the ceremony to be pushed back to October 21.

On June 28, 2021, ViacomCBS announced that the CMT Music Awards would move to broadcast television on CBS beginning in 2022, and move back to April. The new scheduling competes directly with the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards), which are also typically held in April, and had historically been broadcast by CBS;[4][5] the network subsequently declined to renew its contract to air the ACM Awards, citing declines in viewership in comparison to the rights fees being demanded by Dick Clark Productions.[6][7][8]

Major awards

Main article: List of CMT Music Awards ceremonies

YearVideo of the YearMale Video of the YearFemale Video of the YearBreakthrough Video of The Year
2002Kenny Chesney – “YoungKenny Chesney – “Young”Martina McBride – “BlessedChris Cagle – “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out
2003Toby Keith – “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)Toby Keith – “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)”Martina McBride – “Concrete AngelJoe Nichols – “Brokenheartsville
2004Toby Keith – “American SoldierKenny Chesney – “There Goes My LifeShania Twain – “Forever and for AlwaysDierks Bentley – “What Was I Thinkin’
2005Keith Urban – “Days Go ByKenny Chesney – “I Go BackGretchen Wilson – “When I Think About Cheatin’Gretchen Wilson – “Redneck Woman
2006Keith Urban – “Better LifeKenny Chesney – “Who You’d Be TodayCarrie Underwood – “Jesus, Take the WheelCarrie Underwood – “Jesus, Take The Wheel”
2007Carrie Underwood – “Before He CheatsKenny Chesney – “You Save MeCarrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats”Taylor Swift – “Tim McGraw
2008Taylor Swift – “Our SongTrace Adkins – “I Got My Game On”Taylor Swift – “Our Song”Kellie Pickler – “I Wonder
2009Taylor Swift – “Love StoryBrad Paisley – “Waitin’ on a WomanTaylor Swift – “Love Story”Zac Brown Band – “Chicken Fried
2010Carrie Underwood – “Cowboy CasanovaKeith Urban – “‘Til Summer Comes AroundMiranda Lambert – “White LiarLuke Bryan – “Do I
2011Taylor Swift – “MineBlake Shelton – “Who Are You When I’m Not LookingMiranda Lambert – “The House That Built MeThe Band Perry – “If I Die Young
2012Carrie Underwood – “Good GirlLuke Bryan – “I Don’t Want This Night to EndMiranda Lambert – “Over YouScotty McCreery – “The Trouble With Girls
2013Carrie Underwood – “Blown AwayBlake Shelton – “Sure Be Cool If You DidMiranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken HeartFlorida Georgia Line – “Cruise
2014Carrie Underwood – “See You AgainBlake Shelton – “Doin’ What She LikesMiranda Lambert – “AutomaticCassadee Pope – “Wasting All These Tears
2015Carrie Underwood – “Something in the WaterLuke Bryan – “Play It AgainCarrie Underwood – “Something in the Water”Sam Hunt – “Leave the Night On
2016Tim McGraw – “Humble and KindThomas Rhett – “Die a Happy ManCarrie Underwood – “Smoke BreakChris Stapleton – “Fire Away”
2017Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your ColorKeith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color”Carrie Underwood – “Church BellsLauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled
2018Blake Shelton – “I’ll Name the DogsBlake Shelton – “I’ll Name the Dogs”Carrie Underwood – “The Champion” (featuring Ludacris)Carly Pearce – “Every Little Thing
2019Carrie Underwood – “Cry PrettyKane Brown – “Lose ItCarrie Underwood – “Love WinsAshley McBryde – “Girl Goin’ Nowhere”
2020Carrie Underwood – “Drinking AloneLuke Bryan – “One MargaritaCarrie Underwood – “Drinking Alone”Gabby Barrett – “I Hope”
2021Carrie Underwood – “Hallelujah” (featuring John Legend)Kane Brown – “Worship YouGabby Barrett – “The Good OnesDylan Scott – “Nobody

Special/discontinued awards

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

All of the traditional categories awarded during the TNN/Music City News/Country Weekly era were discontinued following the 2001 show when the production was moved to CMT and retooled to honor music videos.

Several categories were removed after only one year, including the Love Your Country Video (2002), LOL (Laugh Out Loud) Video (2002), Fashion Plate Video (2002), Special Achievement (2003), Cocky Video (2003), Cameo of the Year (2004), Comedy Video (2008), Tearjerker Video (2008), and Supporting Character of the Year (2008). The Most Inspiring Video Award was presented only two years (2004–05).

In 2004, the Johnny Cash Visionary Award was introduced to honor innovation and vision in creating music (a similar award, “Video Visionary”, was presented in 2002). Reba McEntire was the first recipient of the award.[9][10] It was discontinued after 2007.

The Hottest Video of the Year award was discontinued after 2006 (and was split into Male/Female categories in 2003 alone). It honored videos featuring especially sexy performances by the artists or supporting cast.

In 2007, the Wide Open Country Video Award (named for the CMT Pure Country video block of the same name) was introduced to recognize music not normally played on country radio. Jack Ingram‘s “Love You” was the first recipient.[11] It was discontinued after 2009.

In 2009, the CMT Performance of the Year (to honor a CMT-exclusive performance by an artist or a collaboration) and Nationwide Is On Your Side awards (to honor an up-and-coming artist/group) were introduced. The Nationwide award is awarded off-camera, but the recipient offers a brief (taped) acceptance as the broadcast cuts to a commercial break.

In 2020, the first CMT Equal Play award was given to Jennifer Nettles. The award recognizes the work that an artist has done in fighting for parity.[12]

In 2020, the first ever Quarantine Music Video of the year was announced and won by Granger Smith.

In 2021, the first ever Best Family Feature award was announced and won by Taylor Swift.

Winning records

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (July 2014)

Carrie Underwood is the most awarded artist overall in CMT Music Awards’ history (2005–present), with 23 wins.[13]

By category


Havighurst, Craig (June 12, 2002). “Front-row video”. The Tennessean. Cooper, Peter (May 15, 2002). “Look for sexy, funny, patriotic at CMT video awards show”. The Tennessean. Cooper, Peter; Brad Schmitt (April 11, 2005). “You might be a redneck if you prognosticate correctly”. The Tennessean. White, Peter (2021-06-28). “CMT Music Awards Move To CBS In 2022”. Deadline. Retrieved 2021-06-28. Willman, Chris (2021-06-28). “CMT Music Awards to Air on CBS Beginning in 2022”. Variety. Retrieved 2021-06-28. “CBS Balks at Airing 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards Over $22 Million Asking Price, Declining Ratings”. TheWrap. June 16, 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-06-14. Retrieved 2021-08-19. Andreeva, Nellie (2021-08-19). “Academy Of Country Music Awards To Stream On Amazon Prime Video In Milestone For Award Shows”. Deadline. Retrieved 2021-08-19. Willman, Chris (2021-08-19). “Academy of Country Music Awards Will Bypass Networks, Stream Exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in 2022”. Variety. Retrieved 2021-08-19. Cooper, Peter (April 22, 2004). “‘American Soldier’ wins top Flame”. The Tennessean. Keel, Beverly (April 17, 2007). “Kristofferson honored for innovation and vision”. The Tennessean. Cooper, Peter (April 17, 2007). “Fans crown Underwood star of the night at CMTs”. The Tennessean. “Jennifer Nettles Says ‘We Have More to Do’ as She Accepts First-Ever CMT Equal Play Award”. Retrieved 2020-11-09. Celebretainment, By. “Carrie Underwood wins big at CMT Music Awards”. Tulsa World. Retrieved 2020-10-22. “Carrie Underwood Is Now The Most Awarded Artist In CMT History”. Forbes. 7 June 2017. “Male Video of the Year winners”. CMT.

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