Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood & More to Honor Coronavirus 'Heroes' on 'CMT Artists of the Year Special'

Kelsea Ballerini
Meredith Jenks

Kelsea Ballerini photographed on Feb. 13, 2020 at Mister Paradise in New York.

This isn't the first time real life has intruded on this special. In 2017, it dealt with Hurricane Harvey and the Route 91 Harvest music festival.

Update (May 12): Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, Kristen Bell, Lauren Daigle, Luke Combs, Sam Hunt and Tim McGraw have joined the lineup.

The annual "CMT Artists of the Year" special, now in its 11th year, will turn its focus outward this year to honor heroes who have done so much to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brothers Osborne, Florida Georgia Line, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett and more artists to be announced will appear on "CMT Celebrates Our Heroes: An Artists of the Year Special," which is set for June 3 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

The artists will contribute tributes, callouts and performances. All artists will be filmed from their own homes.

"The ‘CMT Artists of the Year’ franchise has always been reflective of the important issues of our time, and this year, we all felt it necessary to shift our focus to honoring the real heroes during these unprecedented times," said Leslie Fram, CMT's senior vice president of music & talent.

"From the first responders and healthcare workers to members of the military, our educators, food industry workers and so many more, the country music community will come together to honor these heroic men and women. The evening of unity will feature incredible performances, uplifting tributes and a salute to those risking their lives on the frontlines of this crisis."

This isn't the first time real life has intruded on this special. In 2017, for example, the special raised both awareness and contributions for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and the tragic events at Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas.

But the show is usually a celebration of artists. Last year's show honored Carrie Underwood, Dan + Shay, Luke Combs, Kane Brown and Rhett as the top artists of the year. Reba McEntire was named the artist of a lifetime. Ashley McBryde took breakout artist of the year.

CMT’s Margaret Comeaux and Switched On Entertainment’s John Hamlin will executive produce this year's show. Jackie Barba and Heather D. Graffagnino are executives in charge of production.

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