Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini announce 2023 CMT Music Awards move to Austin, Texas

Carrie Underwood stopped in Austin for the second time this year and is coming back again.

The country superstar returned to the Moody Center Wednesday night to perform in front of Texas fans. In May, Underwood joined other country artists including Thomas Rhett, Maren Morris and The Zac Brown Band to perform as part of the iHeartCountry Festival.

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During Underwood’s show Wednesday, fellow country singer Kelsea Ballerini surprised the crowd with a special announcement. Ballerini revealed the 2023 CMT Music Awards will be live from the Moody Center Sunday, April 2, 2023. Underwood was also announced as the show’s first performer.


“Our fans are in for an unforgettable night of music with plenty of surprises, as the Live Music Capital meets Music City for the first time ever on a national stage in what will be a true country music extravaganza,” executive producers for the award show shared in a media announcement.

“This event will have not only a huge financial impact on Austin and its tourism industry,” said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, “but it will also showcase two of the top music brands globally, Austin as The Live Music Capital of the World and Country Music Television.”
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Ballerini also presented Underwood with a championship belt, blinged out with denim and rhinestones. The belt was to celebrate 25 CMT Award wins, the most out of any other artist.
Underwood continued on with the show taking on hit after hit, as she flipped from country to rock. The production value of the set design included two stages, giving fans an up-close look at the action, no matter where they were seated.

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Other visuals that stood out included the pyro and two aerial performances. Underwood soared over fans on a swing as she made her way to a second stage on the other side of the arena. She later made her way back to the diamond-cut mainstage on a pair of neon wings, while singing “Crazy Angels.” She never missed a beat or sounded out of breath.
Underwood also found time to give fans several wardrobe changes inspired by her newly released album titled “Denim & Rhinestones.”

The show had something for everyone and showcased how far Underwood has come from her early days on “American Idol.” At one point during the show, Underwood took us to church singing classics like “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “How Great Thou Art.” She later pulls out the guitar and hits the drum kit to perform Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”

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