Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett hosted the special once again (and this year they had Mickey Mouse as a special guest!). They announced artists, took time to interview a few and even performed themselves. They were truly triple threats!
We got to reminisce over performances by Keith Urban, Old Dominion, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell and Blake Shelton during the event. Urban started things off before Owen took the stage in the middle of the crowd for “I Was Jack (You Were Diane).” His high-energy performance got fans singing along and really started the party right.
Pardi was another standout of the evening, doing a medley of his own songs. He sang “Head Over Boots,” “Heartache on the Dance Floor” and “Dirt On My Boots.” He reminded us why he won Best New Artist at the 2017 CMA Awards.
Although the majority of the evening was upbeat party songs, there were a few memorable ballad performances. Brett Young performed his current No. 1, “Mercy,” and got Nissan Stadium silent with his incredible vocals. Carrie Underwood sang “Cry Pretty” in sequins from head to toe and Dan + Shay made their CMA Fest stadium debut with “Tequila.” Cole Swindell sang “Break Up In The End” after thanking fans for allowing him to do what he loves every day.
Some artists performed a couple of songs on the big stage. Kane Brown performed “Lose It” as well as “What Ifs,” where he surprised the crowd with Lauren Alaina. Luke Bryan chatted with the evening’s hosts about American Idol before singing “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” and “Most People Are Good.”
The CMA Fest special showcased the talents of so many more artists including Chris Stapleton, Carly Pearce, Sam Hunt, Brothers Osborne and so many more. Although we loved the entire three-hour special, our favorite part was an epic collaboration between Dwight Yoakam and Dierks Bentley. They came together for Yoakam’s “Fast As You” and it was incredible. They looked like they were having a blast, too.
Did you watch the ABC special? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments below.