Serving up a new take of her chart-topping single, Barrett, donning a gorgeous white pants suit, was joined by her husband, Cade Foehner, and musicians as well as vocalists from Nashville-area universities. The moody rendition of “The Good Ones” gave new life to the beloved track, which Barrett co-wrote alongside Emily Landis, Jim McCormick and Zach Kale.
“It’s very heartwarming to be acknowledged by the country music community,” she gushed. “I wasn’t expecting so quickly to get so much love, which I appreciate so much from everybody just welcoming me with open arms, and it’s really exciting to be acknowledged with all of these humongous names in the category as well, so I’m just really excited.”
The show honored Randy Travis with the highly-coveted Artist of a Lifetime title, Barrett, Chris Stapleton, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs as the 2021 Artists of the Year and Mickey Guyton with the Breakout Artist of the Year honor.
The 90-minute special, which aired on Wednesday, October 13 at 9/8c, also featured performances by Combs and more.
Additionally, the ceremony included several star-studded collaborations and tributes, including Boyz II Men with Kevin Olusola of Pentatonix honoring Stapleton, Brown paying homage to Travis, and Mickey Guyton performing “Remember Her Name” with Yola. Ballerini joined forces with the Jonas Brothers for a cover of a Joe Cocker hit.
Making his award show debut, Walker Hayes closed out the show with a performance of “Fancy Like.”
Eric Church, Lady A, Nelly, Connie Britton, Michael W. Smith, Copeland, Morgan Evans and CMT’s Cody Alan made special appearances as presenters throughout the evening as well.