Diversity Rules at CMT Awards

Taylor Swift wins Video of the Year; Jason Aldean performs with Ludacris

Ludacris and Jason Aldean onstage at the
2011 CMT Music Awards show
photo by Paul Abell/Picture Group

Diversity was the name of the game—er, awards show—at Wednesday night's (June 8) CMT Music Awards, on which The Band Perry gave its take on the Eminem/Rihanna duet “I Like the Way You Lie,” before offering up their current hit, “You Lie.” Likewise, Lady Antebellum performed new single “Just a Kiss” before giving a sultry take on Prince’s “Kiss.” Jason Aldean dueted with rapper Ludacris on “Dirt Road Anthem," and Rascal Flatts even took home the Collaborative Video of the Year for their duet of “That Should Be Me” with Justin Bieber.

A traditionalist by comparison, Luke Bryan took another step in solidifying his rising-star status with an appropriately bum-shaking performance of “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” accompanied by half a dozen female dancers, all clad in black. “Would I have loved to sing better and have an oxygen take by the second chorus? Yes. That's the closest I've been to fainting,” Luke admitted backstage in the press room. “I know I wasn't supposed to turn my hat backwards. I wasn’t even supposed to wear that hat. The thing for me is to get up there and let the moment dictate what I do. I feed off what is happening. I’m sure I’ll look back at the monitor and think, ‘What the hell was that move [I did]?’”

Sibling trio The Band Perry won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year award for “If I Die Young,” but that wasn't the only highlight of the evening for lead singer Kimberly Perry. “I met Sheryl Crow. I'm a fan of her songwriting, singing and business sense. I told her, 'You basically taught me to sing.' I used to learn her vocal licks,” Kimberly said backstage. Brothers Neil and Reid had their own favorite star of the evening—Shania Twain, who presented the award for Male Video (but not before taking a nasty fall. Darn those heels). “I think both of my brothers have a crush,” said Kimberly. Neil agreed. “The security guards were watching me and Reid throughout the show,” he joked, “but I think we could take them.” Kimberly said of the trio's Eminem/Rihanna cover, "I'm obsessed with all things Eminem,” before commenting on the evening's diverse lineup of artists and presenters. “I love that about the CMT Awards. There is a lot of flavors circulating in the room.”

American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina were also on hand at the show and will also be participating in CMA Music Festival events all week. Scotty seemed particularly relieved to be in out of California. “Living in Los Angeles was cool, but it wasn't our scene,” he  said. "It's good to be home and drink some sweet tea.” This isn't the first time either of these American Idol alums have been in Music City. “The last time I came here was two years ago with my church and I was roofing houses,” said Scotty. For Lauren, her last visit was more musical. “I've been here a few times. I would go in bars before 6 p.m. because that's when kids could go in. No one knew who I was but I thought it was cool.”

When asked if the pair will be collaborating anytime soon, they didn't rule it out but agreed that they need to establish themselves separately first. Scotty added, “We'll be friends forever.”

Lady Antebellum picked up the Group Video of the Year for the dramatic video for “Hello World.” “We want to make people cry like Rascal Flatts' videos make people cry,” said the group's Dave Haywood.

Taylor Swift, who is in the middle of her Speak Now World Tour, accepted her award for Video of the Year (“Mine”) via a live satellite feed from a show in Milwaukee. Raising her arms high in the air, Taylor looked in awe as the Wisconsin crowd screamed their approval.

CMT Music Awards host Kid Rock seemed to sum up the evening best with his inclusive opinion of the Jason Aldean collaboration with Ludacris: “Rap and rock have always had the same spirit. They are both blues music. Country music is blazing the trail on being open-minded."

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