The Country Music Association’s hopes for a “no-drama zone” at the 54th Annual CMA Awards (in the midst of a pandemic, at the end of a divisive election cycle) were quickly dashed as performers began testing positive for COVID-19 and rumors about the breakup of the duo Florida Georgia Line over political differences began to swirl. The show will go on in-person at Nashville’s Music City Center, featuring over 20 performing artists and ten presenters. The determination to bring the genre’s biggest stars together in one room could result in even more COVID-19 cases within the country-music community. But, hey! There’s no other way to possibly do it! While it may not be drama-free and COVID-free, it should at least be entertaining.
Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker will host tonight’s event, with performances by Chris Stapleton, Rascal Flatts, and (most recently announced) Kelsea Ballerini. Justin Bieber and Charlie Puth will also make appearances tonight, Puth performing “I Hope” with Gabby Barrett and Bieber performing “10,000 Hours” with Dan + Shay. Country-music titans such as Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood are up for some of the top prizes, including Entertainer of the Year. They don’t have to compete with Garth Brooks this year, who removed himself following a tweet that called out his domination of the category (another bit of drama). Two awards were announced earlier today on Good Morning America, including Lambert’s Music Video of the Year win for “Bluebird” and Carly Pearce and Lee Brice’s Musical Event of the Year win for “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” Country’s pop queen Kacey Musgraves is up for Female Vocalist of the Year and Lady A competes for Vocal Group of the Year. The big question is: If Florida Georgia Line wins Vocal Duo of the Year tonight, will they cross state — and political lines — to celebrate?
Things will kick off this evening at 8 p.m. ET, airing live on ABC, and wrap up at 11 p.m. ET. The pre-show red carpet event starts at 7 p.m. ET, hosted by Lara Spencer of Good Morning America and featuring interviews with CMA Awards 2020 presenters and performers. For those sticking to streaming, Hulu Live and Youtube TV have got you covered.