Jelly Roll Triumphs With Four Wins At People’s Choice Country Awards, Delivers Performance Of ‘Save Me’

“The underdogs are back on top, baby,” said from the stage.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 28, 2023


10:23 pm

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Jelly Roll; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC

In a triumphant moment at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards, Jelly Roll was crowned The Male Artist Of 2023, solidifying his position as one of the genre’s most prominent figures.

Jelly Roll was not in attendance at the show because he was on tour in Cincinnati, Ohio, so the People’s Choice Country Awards brought the show to him, with Elle King delivering the news directly to the genre-bending star on stage at Riverbend Music Center. 

“I’m very excited to tell you that you just won the Male Artist of 2023 at the People’s Choice Country Award,” King, who opened up for Jelly Roll on Thursday evening, said from the stage. 

Surprised On Stage

Jelly Roll; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC
Jelly Roll; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC
Jelly Roll; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC
Jelly Roll; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC

The Tennessee native appeared to be shocked upon hearing the news. 

“I thought when I was here that I didn’t have a chance to win it, but the losers won again, baby,” he shouted from the stage. “This speech has absolutely nothing to do with me and it has everything to do with y’all. This was fan-voted. This is for the fans. It’s always for the fans first, baby. The underdogs are back on top, baby. And I want to say thank you to the People’s Choice Country Awards for giving an opportunity for me and these 20,000 degenerates to celebrate this together. Right now, live on national television from Cincinnati, OH.”

Won Four Awards

Earlier in the night, he won awards for New Artist of 2023, Song of 2023, and Collaboration Song of 2023.


After a short break, Jelly Roll took to the stage with a captivating performance of his hit song “Save Me.” The crowd was enthralled as he poured his heart and soul into the powerful rendition, sans Lainey Wilson. 

“Somebody save me, me from myself/ I’ve spent so long living in Hell/ They say my lifestyle is bad for my health/ It’s the only thing that seems to help,” Jelly Roll sang on the track’s first verse.

Co-written by Jelly Roll, whose real name is Jason DeFord, alongside David Ray Stevens, “Save Me” finds the genre-bending star begging for help with addiction. 

A version of “Save Me” featuring Lainey Wilson is currently climbing up the charts at Country radio. Their collaboration version of the song officially impacted country radio on September 5 and earned a whopping 60 first-week adds on stations around the country.

The new reimagined version of “Save Me” featuring Lainey Wilson appears on Jelly Roll’s latest album, WHITSITT CHAPEL, which arrived on June 2, 2023. The tune was originally recorded as a solo song on Jelly Roll’s 2020 album, Self Medicated.

Jelly Roll was also one of the most-nominated artists at the event, earning 8 nods, including The Male Artist of 2023, The New Artist Of 2023, The Song Of 2023 (“Need A Favor”), The Collaboration Song of 2023 (“Save Me”), The Album of 2023 (“Whitsitt Chapel”), and The Music Video of 2023 (“Need A Favor”).

Additionally, “Save Me” is the title of Jelly Roll’s recently-released documentary. The clip gives fans an unfiltered and raw look into Jelly Roll’s inspiring story  transitioning from an incarcerated teen to an adult.

YouTube video

Jelly Roll is currently in the midst of his highly-successful Backroad Baptism Tour, which kicked off on Friday, July 28, and runs through Saturday, October 14, where the trek will wrap up in Tampa, Florida at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre.

2023 People’s Choice Country Awards

The first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards took place at the iconic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday (Sept. 28).

Throughout the show, awards for 12 categories were given out, including People’s Artist of 2023, Male Artist of 2023, Female Artist of 2023, Group/Duo of 2023, New Artist of 2023, Social Country Star of 2023, Song of 2023, Collaboration Song of 2023, Crossover Song of 2023, Album of 2023, Music Video of 2023 and Concert Tour of 2023.

Toby Keith was honored with the Country Icon Award, which was presented to him by Blake Shelton. Wynonna Judd was also celebrated with the Country Champion Award, given to her by Brothers Osborne.

Toby Keith accepts the Country Icon award from Blake Shelton; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC
Toby Keith accepts the Country Icon award from Blake Shelton; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC

The coveted awards show also featured performances from Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, HARDY, Jelly Roll, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Toby Keith, Wynonna Judd and more.

Adam Doleac, Blake Shelton, Brothers Osborne, Carly Pearce, Chris Young, Dustin Lynch, Gabby Barrett, Hunter Hayes, Jessie James Decker, Josh Ross, Kameron Marlowe, Kristin Cavallari, Lady A, Lauren Alaina, Leanne Morgan, Mickey Guyton, Nikki Garcia, Scotty McCreery and The War And Treaty were also on hand to present.

Little Big Town; Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC
Little Big Town; Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC

Little Big Town was the host of the show. “We are honored to host the inaugural ‘People’s Choice Country Awards,’ especially on one of our most beloved stages in the entire world,” the group previously shared in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming so many of our talented peers to take the Opry stage for this magical night of music.”

The 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards’ aired live on NBC and Peacock on September 28 at 8/7c simultaneously on NBC and Peacock.

The livestream also aired on Peacock, PCA Twitter, NBC Twitter/Facebook/YouTube, TODAY All Day/Twitter, E! News Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/E!Online, Access Twitter/YouTube, and Circle TV Network and Circle social platforms, featuring red carpet arrivals, backstage chats and more.

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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.