CMT had previously announced that all the official honorees on this year’s “Artists of the Year” program would be women. If anyone thought they were holding back all the dudes of country for duet slots, the country network just put the kibosh on that thought. The additional performers for the Oct. 17 show have been announced, and they’re well in keeping with the theme of the show, down to a woman.
One of the currently hottest of this year’s honorees, Maren Morris, who recently had a pop smash with “The Middle,” will be joined by the Americana-leaning singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile for a tribute to Aretha Franklin. A living soul legend, Gladys Knight, will team up with the co-frontwomen of Little Big Town, Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott will be teamed with pop star Tori Kelly — and a gospel tune may be likely, since Kelly just released an album of spirituals and Scott had one a couple of years ago as a solo side project.
Ballerini’s duet will stay in-genre, as she meets up with country legend Alison Krauss. The other two artists being honored didn’t have to look beyond their bandmates or tourmates for partners. Carrie Underwood is joining forces with the opening acts on her 2019 tour, Maddie & Tae and Runaway June, for a full house of a number. And Miranda Lambert will appear with her female-trio side project, Pistol Annies, featuring Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, who have their third group album due in November.
This year’s all-femme “CMT Artists of the Year” premieres live Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.