The 2020 CMA Awards Will Be a Tribute Heavy Affair

This story has been updated.

The 2020 CMA Awards will transpire on Wednesday, November 11th (make sure to follow along with Saving Country Music’s LIVE blog), and this year it will be a tribute heavy affair.

Tributes, remembrances, and the marking of anniversaries will be a big part of the presentation, including the event commencing with an extended tribute to Charlie Daniels involving Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBryde, Brothers Osborne, fiddle great Jenee Fleenor, and Jason Aldean.

Then interspersed throughout the program, Jon Pardi will pay tribute to Joe Diffie, Little Big Town will pay tribute to Kenny Rogers, and Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker will pay tribute to Mac Davis, all who passed away in 2020.

See the full performance lineup, as well as all the presenters and award nominees below.

Also, Charley Pride will be receiving the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 40th Anniversary of the iconic country music film Urban Cowboy will be paid tribute with a performance of Johnny Lee’s “Looking For Love.”

Other Things To Look For:

As always, Entertainer of the Year will be a hot topic. Many Eric Church fans will once again be hoping he finally walks away with it, while Luke Combs has to be considered the front runner with the numbers he’s been putting together. With two women up for the award for the first time in 20 years in the form of Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, they also have a better chance than ever to win. Will voters give it to Underwood, since many believed she deserved it last year? Or will putting two women in contention mean they take votes from each other, and Combs or Church, or God forbid Keith Urban become the victor?

Where last year the emphasis was on women, this year the unspoken emphasis is on African American performers. Not only is Charley Pride receiving the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, Darius Rucker is performing and hosting (with Reba McEntire), Jimmie Allen is performing and presenting, CeCe Winans will also be appearing. Those looking for more diversity will find it at the 2020 CMAs.

COVID-19 will be an even hotter topic than normal. Both Lee Brice and Florida Georgia Line had to back out of performances after Brice and Tyler Hubbard tested positive. It has already brought an extra level of scrutiny to an event that will have no audience, and social distance protocols will be in place for all performances. Earlier this week, many artists spoke out about the hypocrisy of mass gatherings while they’re still not allowed to perform. There also appears to be some friction brewing in Florida Georgia Line, with reports saying Tyler Hubbard and his wife have deleted fellow duo member Brian Kelley on social media after his politically-tinged posts.


Artist presenters include Dierks Bentley, Lauren Alaina, Sara Evans, Jake Owen, CeCe Winans, and Charles Esten (also an actor from Nashville).

Other presenters include radio personality Bobby Bones, Thomas Rhett’s wife Lauren Akins, model and actress Taylor Hill, and model and actor (and famous son) Patrick Schwarzenegger.


Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Jenee Fleenor, and Ashley McBryde will open the presentation with a tribute to Charlie Daniels.

Jon Pardi will pay tribute to Joe Diffie.

Eric Church performs his new single “Hell of a View.”

Miranda Lambert performs her new single “Settling Down.”

Chris Stapleton will perform.

Jimmie Allen will sing “Best Shot.”

Gabby Barrett will sing “I Hope” featuring Charlie Puth.

Luke Combs reportedly plays “Cold As You.”

Dan + Shay will perform with Justin Bieber on the song “10,000 Hours.”

Little Big Town will pay tribute to Kenny Rogers.

Ashley McBryde performs her recent highest-charting single to date (#11), “One Night Standards.”

Reba McEntire with Darius Rucker will perform “In The Ghetto” in tribute to Mac Davis.

Maren Morris performs “The Bones.”

Old Dominion will help mark the 40th Anniversary of the film Urban Cowboy by singing Johnny Lee’s “Lookin For Love.”

Carly Pearce will perform with Charles Kelley (subbing for Lee Brice) on the duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

Rascal Flatts will perform “God Bless The Broken Road.”

Darius Rucker and Lady A will collaborate on a performance.

Keith Urban will perform “God Whispered Your Name.”

Morgan Wallen will perform “More Than My Hometown.”

Kelsea Ballerini was added last minute to the performer list, and will play “Hole In The Bottle.”

Ingrid Andress will also perform.

And Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, and Chris Tomlin will collaborate on the song “Be A Light.”


Some awards have already been handed out, including Miranda Lambert winning for Video of the Year for “Bluebird,” Carly Pierce and Lee Brice won Musical Event of the Year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

Entertainer of the Year

Eric Church
Luke Combs
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood
Keith Urban

Album of the Year

Heartache Medication, Jon Pardi
Never Will, Ashley McBryde
Old Dominion, Old Dominion
What You See Is What You Get, Luke Combs
Wildcard, Miranda Lambert

New Artist of the Year

Jimmie Allen
Ingrid Andress
Gabby Barrett
Carly Pearce
Morgan Wallen

Male Vocalist of the Year

Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year

Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood

Vocal Duo of the Year

Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie and Tae

Vocal Group of the Year

Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts

Song of the Year

“Bluebird” (Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby)
“The Bones” (Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz)
“Even Though I’m Leaving” (Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, Ray Fulcher)
“I Hope You’re Happy Now” (Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton)
“More Hearts Than Mine” (Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland

Single of the Year

“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber
“Beer Never Broke My Heart,” Luke Combs
“Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert
“The Bones,” Maren Morris
“I Hope,” Gabby Barrett

Musical Event of the Year

“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber
“Be a Light,” Thomas Rhett feat. Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin and Keith Urban
“The Bones,” Maren Morris with Hozier
“Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” Miranda Lambert feat. Maren Morris, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes and Caylee Hammack
“I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice WINNER

Music Video of the Year

“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Director: Patrick Tracy)
“Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Director: Trey Fanjoy) — WINNER
“Homemade,” Jake Owen (Director: Justin Clough)
“I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Director: Sam Siske)
“Second One to Know,” Chris Stapleton (Director: David Coleman)

Musician of the Year

Jenee Fleenor
Paul Franklin
Rob McNelley
Derek Wells
Ilya Toshinskiy

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