'Crossroads' Greatest Hits: The Best Pairings Are Also Its Most Unexpected

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

Feb. 11, 2008

"When I first arrived at CMT, Crossroads had just started and Alison was the channel darling," says CMT president Brian Philips. "We thought, 'Who would make a good partner for her?' The answer came back, 'Well, she really loves British hard rock.' We could have run through names for a day-and-a-half without daring suggest Robert Plant - yet he would be the one to hook up with her and make a great show."

Taylor Swift & Def Leppard

Nov. 7, 2008

The inspired matchup of a budding country star with classic rockers started when Crossroads executive producer John Hamlin saw a Def Leppard poster on Swift's wall and joked that they'd make a good pairing. "Taylor said, 'I'd love to do that,' " he recalls, so he got to work on it, then worried, " 'What have we gotten ourselves into here?' This was opposite ends of the spectrum on so many levels. But it was one of the highest-rated ones ever."

Carrie Underwood & Steven Tyler

Feb. 4, 2012

The highest-rated Crossroads since Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie took the stage in 2005, when the American Idol winner and Aerosmith frontman drew an audience of 1.9 million to a live Super Bowl edition of the show. "It was a completely different dynamic, with more mistakes but more adrenaline," says Philips. "That show revealed the fearless side of Carrie that would come to play out" when she did The Sound of Music Live!

Lady Antebellum & Stevie Nicks

Sept. 13, 2013

"Back in the first meeting we ever had in 2001 about this show, I think we said, 'Well, I suppose Stevie Nicks would be right at the top of the list,' " says Philips. "We locked her in in 2013." Adds Hamlin: "She had a dream that she was in Lady Antebellum." By the end of the taping, it had come true, and Lady Antebellum rerecorded "Golden" as a single with Nicks.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.