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The Country Music Awards honor the best artists, groups, songs, and albums in country music each year, and the 2023 CMAs had plenty of great material. From the hosts to the awards to the performances, here are five great unforgettable moments from this year’s CMAs.
Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning’s Co-Hosting
Singer Luke Bryan and retired football quarterback Peyton Manning co-hosted the CMAs together for the second year in a row, and their co-hosting definitely helped make the event entertaining. The combination of football and country music jokes is always a hit with country music fans, so this duo is likely to be around for more years of CMAs to come.
Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”
The Song of the Year and Single of the Year awards both went to Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit “Fast Car.” Combs received the award for Single of the Year and Chapman, while not in attendance herself, was given the Song of the Year award as the sole songwriter involved.
As he accepted the award, Combs said, “I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time.” He expressed that he hasn’t yet met Chapman in person but would love to, and he called her a “trendsetting, groundbreaking artist.”
Jelly Roll and K. Michelle Perform The Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge”
One of the best performances of the night was a collaboration between singer-songwriter Jelly Roll and hip-hop artist K. Michelle. Jelly Roll won Best New Artist this year, which was clearly a huge moment for the 39-year-old artist. Jelly Roll originally started his career as a hip-hop artist in 2003 before transitioning into country music over the last few years and has since become one of the most unique artists in the scene.
Post Malone Joins Hardy and Morgan Wallen on Stage
Rapper and singer Post Malone made a surprising appearance at the CMA’s, joining singers Hardy and Morgan Wallen on stage for an energetic rendition of Joe Diffie’s “Pickup Man.” The CMAs invite an artist outside of the world of country music for a performance each year, and as he’s shared his love for country in the past, Post Malone was a natural choice.
Malone has covered country songs in the past, and backstage after his performance he even hinted that there might be a country album in the works for him.
Lainey Wilson Performs in a Ring of Fire
Singer Lainey Wilson performed her song “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” standing in a literal ring of fire, one of the coolest set pieces we’ve ever seen at an awards show. Wilson, who won New Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year last year, has quickly become one of the hottest names in country music.
Wilson was nominated for a whopping nine CMAs this year, more than any other artist. She won awards for Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year, and she won Album of the Year for her album ‘Bell Bottom Country.’