Chris Young’s moving performance of “Drowning” from the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year special resonated with fans everywhere and on Wednesday (Oct. 21), it was honored with the CMT Music Award for CMT Performance of the Year.
Young graciously accepted the award from CMT Music Awards co-host, Kane Brown, which made the moment even more special as Young’s “Drowning” performance was dedicated to Brown’s drummer, Kenny Dixon, who tragically passed away just days before the event. With Brown reeling from the unthinkable loss, Young stepped in to perform in his place.
“This means so much to me,” Young professed. “Thank you to anybody that voted for this. The reason that I am standing here is because of you guys.”
He went on to explain that the emotional performance was very “difficult” for him as he knew Brown and Dixon’s friends and family would be watching.
“I can’t imagine, even still, what his passing does to you,” Young told Brown during his acceptance speech.
Brown showed his gratitude for Young, telling him, “Thank you so much for the bottom of my heart.”
Also nominated for CMT Performance of the Year were Ashley McBryde’s “One Night Standards” from CMT Artists of the Year, Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs’ “Brand New Man” from CMT Crossroads, Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini’s “Graveyard” from CMT Crossroads, Sam Hunt’s “Fancy” from CMT Artists of the Year and Sheryl Crow and Chris Stapleton’s “Tell Me When It’s Over” from CMT Crossroads.
The winner was determined via fan votes placed on CMT’s official website.
The 2020 CMT Music Awards aired Wednesday night (Oct. 21) on CMT and featured performances from Ashley McBryde, Dan + Shay, Jimmie Allen, Noah Cyrus, Kelsea Ballerini, Halsey, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Brooks & Dunn, Maren Morris, Kane Brown, Morgan Wallen, Sam Hunt and Shania Twain as well as debut performances by Caylee Hammack, HARDY, Ingrid Andress, Mickey Guyton, Riley Green and Travis Denning.
Kane Brown, Ashley McBryde and Sarah Hyland served as co-hosts.