WATCH: Walker Hayes Gets Kane Brown, Gabby Barrett and More Dancing Along to ‘Fancy Like’ on CMT Artists of the Year

Walker Hayes closed out the star-studded CMT Artists Of The Year ceremony with an unforgettable performance of his sensational hit,…


Lauren Jo Black

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October 13, 2021


11:23 pm

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Kane Brown, Walker Hayes, Gabby Barrett; Photos by Getty Images for CMT

Walker Hayes closed out the star-studded CMT Artists Of The Year ceremony with an unforgettable performance of his sensational hit, “Fancy Like.” 

Live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Alabama native got the audience dancing along to his anthemic hit during his debut awards show performance. Kane Brown, Chapel Hart Band and Gabby Barrett were among the star-studded list of audience members dancing along.

“I’m gonna be singing the world-famous ‘Fancy Like.’ You know, that’s all anybody wants to hear these days,” Hayes shared ahead of the performance. “I feel like I could just sing that 12 times in my live shows these days, but ya I’ll be closing out the show, what an honor you know to have a song that they selected for that. I’m excited to be with my band tonight. Sometimes I just sing it to a track, you know at shows like this, so it’s an honor to have my band with me and ya, hopefully we close the show with a bang. What an honor you know to celebrate so many fine, outstanding artists, legendary artists, and then to just be a part of the celebration and to be the end, that’s awesome.”

Featured on Hayes’ Country Stuff EP and Co-Written by Hayes alongside Cameron Bartolini, Josh Jenkins, and Shane Stevens, “Fancy Like” has reached the top of every country streaming and sales chart since its June release and spent 12 weeks (and counting) atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart. It’s also ranked among the Top 5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs.

Since its release, “Fancy Like” has gone on to become a true viral sensation, with millions dancing to the track on TikTok and other social media platforms.

The song has been so successful that it caught the attention of Applebee’s, who recently teamed up with Hayes to star in a new television advertisement for the brand. Additionally, the restaurant chain has brought back the beloved Oreo Shake in honor of the song.

“For years, my wife Laney and I have been regulars at Applebee’s for date night, and I’ve always wanted to write a song about it,” Hayes recently shared. “The response to ‘Fancy Like,’ the dance and the fan love has been a dream come true – plus, Applebee’s even brought back their Oreo Cookie Shake! What’s better than that?”

Walker Hayes; Photo by Getty Images for CMT
Walker Hayes; Photo by Getty Images for CMT

The “Fancy Like” success began when Hayes’ daughter, Lila, suggested that they create a TikTok dance for the song one Sunday afternoon. They did the dance on their front porch and within hours, the TikTok had over a million views.

For Hayes, the numbers were mind-blowing, but that was only just the beginning. The song has gone on to chart on multiple charts and crush his previous streaming records.

“It’s really just what you dream of as an artist,” Hayes shared in a recent interview with Country Now. “The beautiful thing about being a creative person is you literally wake up every day, and you’re like, ‘Maybe this is the day.’ It just so happens this was it.”

2021 CMT Artists of the Year special aired live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

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The show honored Randy Travis with the highly-coveted Artist of a Lifetime title, Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, 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, Barrett 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.

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. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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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.