The 57th annual awards show is being broadcast from Austin, Texas, after years of calling Nashville, Tennessee, home. Ballerini and Brown, both 29, previously teamed up for the 2021 and 2022 ceremonies.
“Our fans are in for an unforgettable night of music with plenty of surprises, as the Live Music Capital meets Music City for the first time ever on a national stage in what will be a true country music extravaganza,” read a statement from executive producers Margaret Comeaux, John Hamlin, Leslie Fram and Jason Owen in November 2022, hailing Austin and Nashville as “two of the world’s greatest music cities.”
Along with his cohosting duties, Brown will perform “Thank God,” a romantic duet with his wife, Katelyn Brown, for the first time on live television. Ballerini is also set to take the stage following the February release of her EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat — which featured six songs inspired by her divorce from Morgan Evans. She previously debuted “Blindsided” and “Penthouse” on the March 4 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Nominations for the 2023 categories were officially announced on March 8, including nods for Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Cole Swindell, Lady A and more. The winners are decided entirely by country music fans, who were able to submit votes online before the big night.
Last year, Ballerini participated virtually after testing positive for COVID-19. The April 2022 awards ceremony featured a performance from Wynonna and Naomi Judd ahead of their Country Music Hall of Fame induction. The Judds gave a rousing rendition of their song “Love Can Build a Bridge” in what would be their final performance together before Naomi’s death that same month.
Ballerini was one of many musicians to mourn the superstar’s death at the time, sharing an emotional cover of the same song the mother-daughter duo sang at the 2022 CMT Music Awards. “A big loss for country music,” she captioned her Instagram post. “Thinking of the Judd family and honoring Naomi by listening to and continuing to be influenced by the monumental music she made. 💔.”
This year, the late songwriter and her daughter, 58, are nominated for CMT Performance of the Year for their 2022 CMTs reunion. Wynonna has two chances to win in the category, earning a nod for her duet with Brandi Carlile from Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, which aired in May 2022 from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
Scroll down to learn more about the 2023 CMT Music Awards, from who’s performing to who has the most nominations: