-- Sara Evans presented the Artist of the Year award to Lady Antebellum. Earlier the trio performed an acoustic version of their new single ‘Dancin’ Away With My Heart.’
(Before Lady Antebellum took the stage for their performance at the 2011 CMT ‘Artists of the Year’ Awards, a video montage showed Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean offering up their congratulations to the trio.)
-- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton partnered up to present Kenny Chesney with his award for being a 2011 CMT Artist of the Year. Chesney is a huge sports fan.
~~ Lionel Richie presented Jason Aldean with his CMT Artist of the Year award, pointing out that selling two million records requires skill, talent and swagger.
When he accepted his award, Aldean said, “Lionel Richie giving me an award is pretty cool.”
~~Pop-rockers the All-American Rejects performed Taylor Swift’s single ‘Mean,’ tailoring it to their sound.
Swift sat at her table and sang along to every word, even when the group transitioned into their own hit ‘Gives You Hell.’
Faith Hill praised Taylor’s hopeless romanticism when she presented the singer with her CMT Artist of the Year Award. 22-year-old Taylor spoke about touring with Brad Paisley at age 17, and all the pranks that went down, and how Kenny Chesney always checks in with her via text and seems to intuit when she’s having a bad day.
~~ Brad Paisley gushed about Nashville and the music industry community that supports artists like him, after William Shatner gave a short introduction.
Shatner chose a page from Brad’s new book ‘Diary of a Player’ to narrate. It happened to be the page in which Paisley talked about being a big ‘Star Wars’ fan. That’s ‘Star Wars,’ not ‘Star Trek.’ Shatner called him a number of Trekkie names and then demanded he come get his trophy.
Also, Brad Paisley strapped on his guitar for a jam session with Eagles‘ guitarist Joe Walsh.
Walsh began their mash-up performance with his signature song, ‘Life’s Been Good.’ After performing the first few minutes of the song, he and Paisley switched over to Paisley’s ‘Camoflauge.'