In a night filled with surprises, Trace Adkins (“I’ve Got My Game On”), Taylor Swift (“Our Song”) and Kellie Pickler (“I Wonder”) emerged as the evening’s biggest winners at the “2008 CMT Music Awards,” which was broadcast live for the third straight year from the Curb Event Center at Belmont University.
More than 9.1 million viewers tuned in for the premiere and repeat telecasts of the show, and traffic on CMT.com hit record highs the day following the telecast, breaking all previous records for page views, uniques and streams. According to Nielsen Media Research, the two-and-a-half hour “2008 CMT Music Awards” scored a 1.27 rating among people age 18-49 up more than 35 percent from last year. In addition, more than 11.1 million viewers cumulative tuned in Monday for related programming, including the live CMT Music Awards Red Carpet show, which was filmed on the Belmont University sidewalk on Belmont Boulevard.
Adkins took home top honors for Male Video of the Year (“I’ve Got My Game On”); Taylor Swift won Female Video of the Year (“Our Song”); Rascal Flatts won Group Video of the Year (“Take Me There”); Sugarland won Duo Video of the Year (“Stay”); and Taylor Swift won Video of the Year (“Our Song”). Pickler won the first awards of her professional career with three CMT buckles for USA Weekend Breakthrough, Performance and Tearjerker Video of the Year for the video “I Wonder.” She accepted the accolades via satellite from Scottsdale, Ariz., where she had a concert.
Hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus, the “2008 CMT Music Awards” kicked off with a special “red-carpet” broadcast of the various artists arriving at the venue on Belmont Boulevard. Fans lined the streets and the steps leading to the Maddox Grand Atrium to get a first-hand glimpse of their favorite performers.
Keith Urban, joined by Brooks & Dunn, ignited the live show with Urban’s “Raise the Barn,” followed by a fantastic musical number by LeAnn Rimes in which she re-created the video for her nominated song “Nothin’ Better to Do.” Rascal Flatts performed latest single, “Bob That Head,” which featured user-generated clips from fans who “sang along” during the chorus.
In addition, a number of powerful performances marked the evening, as Sugarland was joined by tour mates Little Big Town and Jake Owen for their cover of “Life in a Northern Town”; Tim McGraw with wife Faith Hill sang their duet “I Need You”; Alan Jackson performed his newest single “Good Time”; hosts Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus performed the duet “Ready, Set, Don’t Go”; special guest Hank Williams Jr. joined Brad Paisley on Paisley’s song “I’m Still a Guy”; Taylor Swift rocked her single “Picture to Burn”; Toby Keith performed his newest hit, “She’s a Hottie”; Kenny Chesney sang “Never Wanted Nothing More”; and Carrie Underwood closed the show with her hit, “All-American Girl.”
For the first time, the show also featured a side stage that included such up-and-coming artists as Bucky Covington, James Otto, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Ashton Shepherd and Chuck Wicks. Visit CMT.com for a complete list of winners as well as exclusive content from the evening and a listing of encore airings of the show and the red carpet special.
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Belmont alumnus Brad Paisley performs with Hank Williams, Jr.
Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attract attention on the purple carpet.
Sugarland performs a classic song with tour mates Little Big Town.
Alumni Josh Turner and his wife Jennifer appear on the purple carpet before the show.
Hundreds of fans lined the street to see the artists on the “red carpet.”
CMT transformed the Belmont Boulevard-side of campus to create an elaborate setting for the pre-show “red carpet” special.