2024 CMT Music Awards: Jelly Roll dominates with three awards

Equipo
By Equipo
8 Min Read

Jelly Roll won big at the 2024 CMT Music Awards Sunday night, taking home three awards at the annual event celebrating the best in country music videos.

His accolades began with the CMT performance of the year award for his gospel-assisted rendition of “Need a Favor” at the 2023 CMT Music Awards nearly a year ago to the day. It also was his first-ever awards show performance.

“In that last year you changed my life in every way I never thought my life could be changed,” the tattooed rapper-turned-country breakout star said in an emotional acceptance speech live from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The show was broadcast live on CBS and Paramount+.

The music video for “Need A Favor” earned him male video of the year and the biggest award of the night, video of the year.

“I’m having one of the best nights of my life,” he said, before focusing his speech on people who are looking for “second chances,” specifically those in juvenile detention facilities. “I once heard a man say that ‘you don’t change until the pain to remain the same is greater than the pain it takes to change,’ and that’s what it takes. I love you, Texas.”

In some ways, it was déjà vu from the 2023 awards show, where Jelly Roll also took home three awards, winning over audiences for his larger-than-life personality and outsider songs.

Kelsea Ballerini hosted the awards for fourth time in a row, opening with a comedic sketch about reading the minds of country music’s biggest names that ended with Keith Urban hugging the beaver mascot of beloved Texas gas station chain Buc-ee’s.

Her many outfit changes were only the first of a few surprises, which also included Melissa Etheridge appearing on a duet of “Come to My Window” with Ballerini.

Early on, Carly Pearce and Chris Stapleton won collaborative video of the year for their song, “We Don’t Fight Anymore.” She thanked Stapleton, who wasn’t in attendance, and “Fans, fans, fans, fans, fans!”

Ashley Cooke won breakthrough female video of the year for “Your Place,” her first-ever award. “I just won a CMT award, oh my god, good night!” she cheered as she headed off stage. Warren Zeiders took home the male equivalent for “Pretty Little Poison,” thanking God and his best friend: his dad.

Live performances were fast and furious. Three-time CMT award winner and Texas native Cody Johnson opened the 2024 show with his ode to the lone star state, “That’s Texas.” Jason Aldean performed “Let Your Boys Be Country” in front of the University of Texas at Austin, a less controversial choice than his radio hit “Try That in a Small Town.” Its music video was removed from CMT last year.

Megan Moroney brought her breakup anthem, “No Caller ID,” to the CMT stage and Parker McCollum teamed with Brittney Spencer for “Burn It Down.” NEEDTOBREATHE and Jordan Davis teased “CMT Crossroads” by tackling each other’s “Brother” and “Next Thing You Know,” respectively.

Lainey Wilson reminded the audience that “Country’s Cool Again,” leading into an outdoor performance of “Where It Ends” by Bailey Zimmerman. Veteran Keith Urban brought the first single of his forthcoming album, “Straight Line.”

Wilson spent a lot time on stage, taking home female video of the year for “Watermelon Moonshine.” “Thank you for supporting women in country,” she told the audience.

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland reunited on the CMT stage for the first time since 2011 in a collaborative performance with Little Big Town. The six voices teamed up for a cover of Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home.”

Trisha Yearwood was awarded the inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award, which honors musicians or industry veterans who demonstrate “an exceptional dedication to community and their fellow artists, embodying June’s spirit as a fierce advocate and initiator in paying it forward,” a statement said.

The country star was honored for her charitable contributions, including longstanding work with Habitat for Humanity and the annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Week Project.

“I don’t think anyone who’s ever gotten a humanitarian award has thought they deserve it,” she began, agreeing with the sentiment before turning her attention to the woman the award is named after.

“June Carter Cash was a force, and she was married to a force. I know a little bit about that,” she said, in reference to her husband Garth Brooks, before applauding Carter Cash’s ability to keep shining a light on her own successes. “She was strong in a very human way,” Yearwood said.

Later in the night, she debuted a new song from her forthcoming album, the acoustic ballad, “Put It in a Song.”

The emotional center of the award show no doubt came later, in an all-star tribute to the late Toby Keith, with Brooks & Dunn tackling Keith’s 1993 breakout hit, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” Sammy Hagar doing “I Love This Bar” and Lainey Wilson covering “How Do You Like Me Now.” They all were backed by Keith’s longtime band.

Keith, a hit country crafter of pro-American anthems who riled up critics and was loved by millions of fans, died in February at 62 after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.

In the crowd, artists including Ashley McBryde and Jelly Roll raised their red solo cups in a cheerful tribute to the singer, who immortalized the humble plastic cups in his 2011 hit, “Red Solo Cup.”

After the musical tributes on stage, Keith’s longtime friend and baseball star Roger Clemens, his eyes watering, thanked Keith’s wife and children in the audience for sharing their husband and father with the world.

Clemens led a toast to those on stage, in the crowd, and at home: “Repeat after me. ‘Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses,’” a reference to a comedic song by Keith featuring Willie Nelson.

It was a fitting homage: a little funny, with a whole lot of country heart.

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