Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Okahoma country music superstars Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood were revealed as the 2012 CMT Artists of the Year during Saturday night’s premiere of a star-studded CMT special.
Hosted by Rascal Flatts (which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney) and Hayden Panettiere, star of ABC’s “Nashville,” the 90-minute special was taped earlier in the week at an invitation-only event near Nashville, but the identities of the honorees remained a closely-guarded secret until Saturday, according to CMT.com.
Throughout the show, verbal interplay between Panettiere and band members Gary LeVox, Rooney and Jay DeMarcus punctuated evening. Rascal Flatts launched the music with “Hot in Here.”
Baseball great Roger Clemens presented Keith’s trophy during a segment that included the Norman resident’s performance of “Beers Ago” and humorous messages from Tulsa comedian Rodney Carrington and “Late Late Show” host Craig Ferguson.
Sheryl Crow presented Lambert’s award, and Chris Young introduced the Tishomingo resident’s acoustic performance of “Over You.” Country Music Hall of Fame member Merle Haggard offered his congratulations in a pre-recorded segment.
Hunter Hayes, who is opening shows during Underwood’s “Blown Away” tour, introduced the Checotah native’s performance of “Two Black Cadillacs.” Her husband, Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators, presented the trophy, and “Today” host Hoda Kotb offered her congratulations via video.
To read more about the 2012 CMT Artists of the Year special, click here.