2012 CMT’s Artists of the Year Are….

Jason Aldean,Luke Bryan,Kenny Chesney,Eric Church,Toby Keith,Miranda LambertandCarrie Underwoodare the2012 CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR, it was announced earlier this evening during the premiere of the 90-minute special hosted by country super groupRascal Flattsand Nashville actressHayden Panettiere. These seven country music superstars were honored by some of the biggest names in entertainment during an exclusive night of wall-to-wall performances and special appearances. 2012 CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR is now available onCMT.comand will re-air onSunday, December 9at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., andTuesday, December 11at 12:00 a.m. All times are ET/PT.

The evening began with host Hayden Panettiere, joined by her Nashville co-starsConnie BrittonandCharles Esten,for a special show open straight from their set where she was whisked away by Rascal Flatts to host the show. Rascal Flatts then kicked off the evenings performances with Hot in Here, from their albumChanged. The first honoree of the evening was Toby Keith who was presented his trophy by baseball greatRoger Clemensand received congratulations from country comedianRodney Carringtonand Late Late Show hostCraig Ferguson. Keith then performed his hit Beers Ago. Honoree Miranda Lambert was up next, being presented her trophy bySheryl Crowwith congratulations fromChris Youngand country music iconMerle Haggard. Lambert performed her hit Over You.

Eric Church received his trophy from friendKid Rock, along with a video greeting from MetallicasJames Hetfield, before performing Homeboy. Honoree Kenny Chesney received his second CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR trophy from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame memberSammy Hagarand a special video message from Academy Award winning actorMorgan Freeman.Eli Young Bandand newcomerKacey Musgraves, who will both tour with Chesney in 2013, performed his hit Come Over. Carrie Underwood, who performed her latest single Two Black Cadillacs, received her second CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR trophy from husband, Nashville PredatorsMike Fisher, and congratulations fromHunter Hayesand Today show co-hostHoda Kotb.

Kenny Rogerspresented honoree Luke Bryan with his trophy while friendsLady AntebellumandThompson Squarecongratulated him for the honor. Bryan performed a mash-up of his hit Drunk on You and OneRepublics Feel Again with the bands frontman,Ryan Tedder. Jason Aldean received his third CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR trophy from Atlanta Braves greatChipper Jonesand was honored by rapperLudacrisand Duck Dynasty starWillie Robertson. Aldean closed the evening with a dynamic performance of his hit, Take a Little Ride.

CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR is executive produced by John Hamlin, R.A. Clark and Margaret Comeaux.

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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