It’s a night of music, stars and surprises. And if you’re not watching, you’ll probably miss what everyone else will be talking about the next morning.
“We always want to do a little bit of the unexpected,” says Margaret Comeaux, one of three executive producers of the upcoming 2014 CMT Music Awards, which will air live Wednesday, June 4, from Nashville, Tenn. “We always want it to be new and different, to have a water cooler moment for the next day.”
Will that moment be a sizzling performance? An outrageous outfit? A jaw-dropping guest appearance? Will Carrie Underwood, the most-awarded artist in the CMT Music Awards’ 11-year history, continue her streak? Will Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, country’s superstar couple, repeat their Male and Female Video wins from last year?
You’ll just have to tune in to see! In the meantime, here are some major moments from recent years—moments that, Comeaux says, “make people think they’ve missed something big if they’re not watching” when the stars come out for country’s biggest night.
Kicking It Off
The show is known for its clever pre-taped “openers,” often featuring surprising pair-ups of country stars and special guests.
2009 Rapper T-Pain and Taylor Swift teamed for “Thug Story,” a country-rap parody.
2011 Shania Twain and Taylor Swift spoofed the movie Thelma and Louise.
2013 Actress Kristen Bell played therapist to an all- star session of pre- show hang-ups.
2010 Worlds collided onstage as Paula Deen and Jersey Shore reality-TV star The Situation created an abs-olutely major photo op.
2011 TV viewers thought Sheryl Crow’s skirt was a bit too revealing when she got off her stool after singing with Kid Rock. But she made a joke about it later in the telecast, quelling rampant Twitter rumors that she wasn’t wearing any underwear!
2012 Toby Keith and co-host Kristen Bell made a grand entrance into the arena riding in an oversize replica of the prop celebrated in his hit “Red Solo Cup.”
2012 Little Big Town’s performance of their hit song “Pontoon” was a major production that involved an actual pontoon boat, giant video screens and a cast of frolicking extras.
2013 Rapper Nelly joined hot country duo Florida Georgia Line for the duo’s hit “Cruise,” which won last year’s Duo and Breakthrough Video awards.