Keith Urban and Thomas Rhett are among the latest artists announced as performers at the upcoming 2021 CMA Awards, along with Gabby Barrett, Dierks Bentley featuring BRELAND and HARDY, CMA Awards host Luke Bryan, Jennifer Hudson, and the Zac Brown Band.
— Thomas Rhett (@ThomasRhett) November 4, 2021
Urban will perform his new single, “Wild Hearts,” while Rhett will sing his recent No. 1 hit, “Country Again.” Barrett will perform her chart-topping single, “The Good Ones,” while Bentley will perform his just-released collaboration, “Beers On Me.” Bryan will take a break from his hosting duties to perform his emotional new song, “Up,” and the Zac Brown Band will sing “Same Boat.” Hudson will make her debut on the CMA Awards stage, although her song choice has not yet been announced.
The new artists join a previously-announced list that includes Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Old Dominion, and Chris Young with Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Brothers Osborne, Eric Church, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton featuring Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, and Blake Shelton.
One artist who won’t be performing — or attending — is Morgan Wallen. Although nominated for one trophy, for Album of the Year (for Dangerous: The Double Album), he will be unable to attend the ceremony in person, after uttering a racial slur earlier this year.
“This was something we looked at from so many angles,” Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, told the LA Times. “The decision, ultimately, was the man would not be allowed, but the music and the people who were part of it [songwriters and producers] could be eligible. That made his music eligible in five categories, and ultimately, he was nominated in one.
“This is the first time in the history of the CMA, to my knowledge, anyone has ever been disqualified for conduct,” she continued. “Honoring him as an individual this year is not right, and he will not be allowed on the red carpet, on our stage, or be celebrated in any way.”
Church and Stapleton lead the list of nominees with five nods each, with each of them nominated for Entertainer of the Year. Barrett follows with four nods, including for Female Vocalist of the Year.
The 2021 CMA Awards will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, November 10, at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.