Chris Young Emotionally Accepts CMT Performance of the Year Honor From Kane Brown

Chris Young’s moving performance of “Drowning” from the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year special resonated with fans everywhere and…


Lauren Jo Black

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October 21, 2020


8:03 pm

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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.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.