Dan + Shay on All the Nerve-Racked Feels

Bringing Their A Game to the #CMTawards

If Dan + Shay seemed a little anxious at their CMT Music Awards rehearsal, it’s because of Blake Shelton.

And Chris Stapleton. And Devin Dawson. And all the country music fans watching them.

When CMT caught up with the duo backstage at the Bridgestone Arena, Dan Smyers admitted what it felt like to get up on that stage and run through their “Tequila” performance.

“It’s always nerve-racking when you come into rehearsal,” Smyers said, “and you see who’s going to be here, and you see all the big stars. It’s like, I need to forget that Chris Stapleton and Blake Shelton and all these superstars are gonna be watching it. I’ve got to keep cool.”

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Smyers co-wrote “Tequila” with Nicolle Galyon and Jordan Reynolds, and the video is nominated for duo video of the year.

Not only are Smyers and Shay Mooney nervous about their performance, but they are also a little worried about where they’ll be in the audience.

“We’re sitting with the crew, and we’re right behind Blake Shelton, which is trouble to begin with. He’s a good buddy of ours; we toured together. Then catty-corner from us we’ve got Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and our buddy Devin Dawson who sang the first dance at my wedding,” he said.

Mooney added that any and all of their performances matter, but awards shows are kind of next level for the duo.

“Anytime we step up on the stage now at an awards show, we try to bring our A game,” Mooney said. Why? “Somebody might be watching you for the very first time. And this is just a heightened sense of that. It’s easier being in a duo because we kind of have each other to lean on.”

The 2018 CMT Music Awards are live at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (June 6) at 8 p.m. ET.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.