In the wake of national tragedies including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, CMT is transforming its annual Artists of the Year event into a night of hope through music in light of recent events.
This year's nominees include Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan, who will send messages to their fans rather than the traditional schedule of award presentations and acceptance speeches.
"Given the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the mass shootings in Las Vegas, we feel a commitment to our fans to address all of the tragedies not in one somber and solemn moment or segment, but rather devote the entire evening to uplifting the fans through high-spirited music," Frank Tanki, General Manager of CMT and TV Land, told PEOPLE.
"Both 'Rise Up' and 'Stand Up for Something' are inspirational anthems that perfectly sum the message for the evening. The special has always been a place where artists from different genres can stand side-by-side, and now more than ever, we want to showcase the power of unity and resilience through music."
To open the show, Little Big Town and Andra Day will perform Day's hit "Rise Up." The country group will also be joined by Lee Ann Womack to perform Day's new collaboration "Stand Up For Something" with Common.
The special will air live from Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. EST.
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