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[12/01/10 - 09:50 AM]
Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band Honored in CMT's First Star-Studded "Artists of the Year" Special
Kevin Costner hosts the special, which taped last night and will air this Friday at 8:00/7:00c.

[via press release from CMT]

Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band Honored in CMT's First Star-Studded "Artists of the Year" Special

Hosted by Kevin Costner with Performances by Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker with Adele, Jason Aldean and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Maroon 5 and Zac Brown Band with Amos Lee

Presenters include Celebrity Chef Cat Cora, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Boston Red Sox's Josh Beckett, Kid Rock, Kix Brooks, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Alabama's Randy Owen, Randy Travis and Smokey Robinson

90-Minute Special Taped Last Night In Nashville and Premieres Friday, December 3 on CMT

NASHVILLE - December 1, 2010 - The stars were out last night in Nashville to honor CMT's first ever ARTISTS OF THE YEAR, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band, for their successes of the past year. Hosted by Kevin Costner, CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR will premiere Friday, December 3 from 8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., ET/PT on CMT and CMT.com.

During the 90-minute special, taped last night at the Factory in Franklin, the honorees were brought together with their peers, as well as celebrities from across the entertainment spectrum, including celebrity chef Cat Cora, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Boston Red Sox's Josh Beckett, Kid Rock, Kix Brooks, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Alabama's Randy Owen, Randy Travis and Smokey Robinson who served as presenters for the glamorous evening. Kevin Costner opened the night by taking the stage and reminding the five honorees that, "Tonight is about you. It's not just about numbers this past year�it's about impact."

Some of the night's honorees chose to perform their hits such as Jason Aldean, who kicked off the evening and was joined onstage by Aerosmith's Joe Perry for the rockin' "My Kind of Party"; Zac Brown Band who sang their new single "Colder Weather" joined by the soulful Amos Lee; and Carrie Underwood, who performed a medley of hits from the past year including "Cowboy Casanova," "Temporary Home" and "Undo It." Honorees Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum looked on as their hits were performed by others; Maroon 5 surprised Taylor Swift by performing her latest hit, "Mine" as the country superstar danced and sang along; and Darius Rucker and Adele performed Lady Antebellum's smash "Need You Now" as the trio watched in appreciation. Surprises were also in store as the honorees watched pre-taped segments that included words of praise from their biggest admirers, including Charlie Daniels, Reba McEntire, Ryan Seacrest, Selena Gomez and more.

The night was filled with tears of gratitude and appreciation as the honorees took the stage to thank those who have aided in their recent successes. Zac Brown Band accepted their Artist of the Year trophies first, which were presented to them by friend Kid Rock. Carrie Underwood gave a tearful speech as she accepted her award from legend Randy Travis and Jason Aldean gave thanks to everyone who has supported him in his career thus far after receiving his award from Alabama's Randy Owen. Taylor Swift obtained her trophy from close pal Hayley Williams and Martina McBride presented awards to her former tourmates Lady Antebellum.

In addition to the television taping, the evening also included an elegant three-course dinner created by the James Beard Award-winning chefs RJ Cooper (Washington, D.C., 2007); John Currence (Oxford, Miss., 2009); and Michael Schwartz (Miami, Fla., 2010), and chocolate truffles inspired by the night's honorees created by Nashville chocolatier Bethany Thouin.

Over the past 12 months, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band have collectively received over 2.5 million plays of their current songs; sold over 8.5 million copies of their current albums; sold over 21 million individual downloads of their current singles; and topped both the touring and CMT.com charts, proving themselves to be the top country artists for 2010.

CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR is produced by Audrey Morrissey and Chad Hines. John Hamlin and Margaret Comeaux serve as executive producers for CMT.

CMT, a unit of Viacom's MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 91 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.





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