Country Stars Shake Off the Pre-Party Jitters

Rehearsals for the CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Are Underway

Stars were putting the finishing touches on their CMT Ultimate Kickoff concert performances Thursday (Jan. 8) in Dallas, and CMT Hot 20 Countdown cameras were rolling behind the scenes.

Maddie & Tae were the first to take the stage for a run-through of their breakout single, “Girl in a Country Song.”

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Fellow newcomer Thomas Rhett followed the young duo with his own hit song, “Get Me Some of That.”

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

As the afternoon rolled along, Brett Eldredge made his way to the main stage to put finishing touches on his track from the night’s set list, his second consecutive No. 1, “Beat of the Music.”

Rick Diamond

And they may have been among the last to rehearse Thursday evening, but there’s no doubt Big & Rich will bring the house down when the show kicks off Friday (Jan. 9) at 9 p.m. ET.

Rick Diamond

CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Live From the College Football Playoff National Championship is sure to be unforgettable for country fans and the college football community. Joining Eldredge, Rhett, Big & Rich and Maddie & Tae will be Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc, Jake Owen, Jessie James Dekker, and Rob Riggle, and it’s all happening exclusively on CMT.

After the show, tune into an all new episode of CMT Hot 20 Countdown Saturday and Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

View photos from rehearsals at the CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party.