On Wednesday night (June 3), CMT will air a very special special. It’s called CMT Celebrates Our Heroes: An Artists of the Year Special. The live-from-home show will have country artists and celebrity guests paying tribute to the countless heroes who have worked tirelessly during the entire coronavirus pandemic since day one: the teachers, the healthcare workers, the problem solvers and all the others who have been on the front lines of this pandemic.
The two-hour show will have music, but there is so much more to this story. It’s the perfect balance of uplifting entertainment and heartfelt, real-life stories that shine a well-deserved light on everyday people doing extraordinary things to make a difference, sometimes right in their own neighborhoods, and sometimes for the entire world.
Here are just seven of the many, many moments you won’t want to miss.
1. Carrie Underwood Shows Up with a Shout Out
Underwood isn’t singing on this special, but the spotlight she has on seven educators from around the country is brighter than ever as she thanks the ones who’ve had to pivot in order to do their jobs in brand new ways. Both of Underwood’s sisters and her mother have spent years in the classroom, so she admits she has a special place in her heart for teachers. “There was no playbook for this,” Underwood says. “There was no lesson plan.”
2. Darius Rucker Thanks Americans for Their Ingenuity
With so many stories of companies that chose to stop their business-as-usual routines so they could come up with inventive ways to help — whiskey distilleries that started making hand sanitizer, costumers that started making protective face masks, and sheet metal fabricators that started making ventilator components — Rucker says thank you to all of them and their ingenuity with the 1987 Randy Travis hit, “Forever and Ever, Amen.”
3. When It Matters Most, Blake Shelton Can Get Very Serious
“One of the cruelest things about the pandemic is how it has hit some people harder than others,” Shelton says about some of the more remote parts of the world that were blindsided by COVID-19. Places like Kodiak, Alaska, where neighbors became heroes by turning schools no longer in session into make-shift food pantries to feed the community. That’s when you see everyday heroes rise to the occasion.
4. Ain’t It Good to Know We’ve Got Kelsea Ballerini?
In order to honor all of the school children, adolescents, teenagers and even college students who have had to adapt to all of the new academic normals, Ballerini dedicates her cover of the 1971 Carole King and James Taylor classic “You’ve Got a Friend” to all of them.
5. Sam Hunt Digs Deep for the Perfect Cover Song
From his home just south of Nashville, Hunt thanks all of the hard-working frontliners among us with a spiritual cover of “Jack of All Trades,” a deep cut from Bruce Springsteen’s 2012 Wrecking Ball album. “It makes me think about American resolve,” Hunt says of the song.
6. Miranda Lambert Goes Live from Her Magic Porch
As she introduces her acoustic take on her “Bluebird,” Lambert talks about why this pandemic situation has hit so close to home for her. “I’m still praying so hard for all the first responders. I come from a family of police officers and firemen and cops, and you mean the world to us,” she says from the porch on her farm in Tennessee.
7. Watch How Songs Come to Life When Artists Get Truly Creative
Ever since the touring season of 2020 came to an abrupt halt in March, country stars have been spontaneously connecting with fans by playing live music anyway. Just by finding ways to play, sing and even take requests from their homes, their garages, their basements and their studios. But for Wednesday’s CMT special, artists like Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line and more have taken the at-home performance to the next level with the kind of creative vision that seems to know no bounds.
Throughout the show, you will have the chance to shout out to any heroes in your life by posting on social media and using the #CMTCelebratesOurHeroes hashtag.
In addition to appearances from Underwood, Rucker, Shelton, Ballerini, Hunt, Lambert, McGraw, Rhett, Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line, the two-hour virtual tribute to the COVID-19 heroes will feature country stars Luke Combs, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Lee Brice, Reba McEntire, Zac Brown, Brandi Carlile, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, and Lady Antebellum. The all-star event will be airing on CMT at 8 p.m. ET/PT with a three-network simulcast on Paramount Network, Pop TV and TV Land.