October 13th's 2021 CMT Artists of the Year event from Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center will honor Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, and Luke Combs. The festivities will emanate live from Music City at 9p/8c. Via a press release, it's noted that "these five “Artists of the Year” collectively dominated the last 12 months in country music, leading across all CMT platforms, scoring chart-topping albums and singles, while simultaneously finding creative ways to connect with fans and meet the personal and professional challenges posed by the pandemic."
CMT's 90-minute special will celebrate Stapleton, Brown, Ballerini, Barrett, and Combs with never-before-seen performances, collaborations, and congratulatory moments. Musical pairings, special guests, additional honorees, performers, and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks. In addition, the Artists of the Year ceremony returns to its original format after adapting last year to honor some of the most vital and inspirational Americans on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Regarding what makes "Artists of the Year" a standout event, CMT’s Senior Vice President of Music Strategy & Talent Leslie Fram noted in 2019 that the night marks “a pivotal time in [the artists’] careers, [and] promises to be a night of incredible performances and reflection.”
Margaret Comeaux, CMT's Vice President of Production, notes, “We are honored to recognize these five incredible artists who have entertained and inspired millions through their music this past year. We look forward to returning to the Schermerhorn with a live show as we celebrate the accomplishments of Chris, Kane, Kelsea, Gabby and Luke.”