TAYLOR SWIFT, KELLIE PICKLER AND JULIANNE HOUGH WILL HOST "CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL: COUNTRY'S NIGHT TO ROCK" ON ABC
It's a raucous girls' night out when reigning CMA Horizon Award winner Taylor Swift, former "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler and "Dancing with the Stars" champion Julianne Hough host "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Filming June 5-8 during the annual CMA Music Festival, the special features today's most exciting Country Music stars during a four-day party and music celebration in Nashville. Some of the artists already announced to appear at the nightly concerts include Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Billy Ray Cyrus, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Dwight Yoakam, plus surprise appearances by Country superstars � a hallmark of the Festival.
What a difference a year makes. Swift has gone from high school student to bonafide Country superstar with a treasure trove of accolades and awards, including the coveted 2007 CMA Horizon Award. She is consistently ranked Country's No. 1 artist on MySpace and was named Country Music's Hottest Female Artist of 2007 by AOL Music and Best New Artist of 2007 by the editors of iTunes. Her self-titled Big Machine debut has surpassed sales of three million copies, and this summer she is on tour with CMA Vocal Group of the Year Rascal Flatts.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular finalists on "American Idol," Pickler's legion of fans continues to grow. She just released her new single, "Don't You Know You're Beautiful," from her forthcoming sophomore album, which will be available in late summer. Her Gold certified debut album, "Small Town Girl," includes the hit singles "Red High Heels" and "I Wonder," a song that moved many in the audience to tears when she performed it in November on the 2007 CMA Awards.
Most people know Hough as winner of two consecutive seasons of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," but her passion is Country Music. She recently released her self-titled debut on Mercury Nashville, and her current single, "That Song in My Head," is climbing Billboard's Hot Country Songs. She will be on tour throughout the summer with Brad Paisley. Hough is no stranger to the Festival; she made her first CMA Music Festival appearance in 2007, when she introduced Big & Rich.
The annual event is unlike any other: four days, 30 hours of autograph signings, 100 hours of live music, hundreds of artists and celebrities, and a party list of thousands of avid, singing and dancing-till-dawn fans. This is the fourth time ABC will broadcast this special � which invites the whole country to America's biggest Country Music bash. Originally started as Fan Fair� in 1972, last year the event experienced its biggest attendance to date � 191,000.
In addition to exciting, never-before-televised music performances, viewers will also enjoy the ultimate Country Music fan experience. In segments shot exclusively for the special, the cameras will capture behind-the-scenes moments between the artist and their fans and follow the stories of several passionate Country Music enthusiasts.
"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" is executive-produced by Robert Deaton and directed by Gary Halvorson. The 2008 CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" will be shot in high definition and broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.