Jelly Roll rules the CMT Music Awards 2024! Tearful star wins THREE trophies and thanks wife Bunnie Xo for ‘finding beauty in broken things’ – while Lainey Wilson also triumphs and country stars pay tribute to late Toby Keith

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Jelly Roll won for Video of the Year, plus Male Video and Performance of the Year
  • Lainey Wilson scored Female Video of the Year 
  • Kelsea Ballerini hosted this year for the fourth time in a row

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The rapper-turned-country sensation Jelly Roll had a career-best performance — so far— at the 2024 CMT Music Awards on Sunday when he took home three major honors, including the most prestigious award of the night, Video Of The Year.

Jelly Roll (real name: Jason DeFord) was bowled over as he accepted the final award of the night before delivering a barn-burning performance that put the audience members on their feet.

Lainey Wilson also won one of the prime awards of the evening when she won Female Video of the Year Award for Watermelon Moonshine, and the country legend Trisha Yearwood was honored with the inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award.

Another highlight of the night was a moving tribute with multiple musical performances to the late country star Toby Keith, who died in February at 62 after a valiant battle with cancer. 

Jelly Roll was as gracious as he was exuberant, and he took time to praise his fellow nominees Cody Johnson and Kelsea Ballerini, who hosted the show for the fourth time in a row.

The rapper-turned-country sensation Jelly Roll had a career-best performance — so far— at the 2024 CMT Music Awards on Sunday when he took home three major honors, including the most prestigious award of the night, Video Of The Year

He also won Male Video of the Year and CMT Performance of the Year

He also won Male Video of the Year and CMT Performance of the Year 

Lainey Wilson also won one of the prime awards of the evening when she won Female Video of the Year Award for Watermelon Moonshine

Lainey Wilson also won one of the prime awards of the evening when she won Female Video of the Year Award for Watermelon Moonshine

He called Johnson his ‘favorite cowboy forever, ever and ever,’ and he gushed that he ‘love[d]’ Kelsea.

Jelly Roll included a special shoutout for his ‘beautiful wife, Ms. Bunnie DeFord.’

‘I am blessed to have you as a best friend. I am blessed to have you as a partner,’ he said sweetly as she watched from the audience.

Then the singer vowed to ‘set the stage on fire’ with his concluding performance, and he joked that he was going to be ‘a little late in the morning’ for his already-scheduled interview with Gayle King. 

Jelly Roll also had a fun moment when he marveled that the writer, director and actor Billy Bob Thornton had been the one to present him with the final award of the night. 

He got another blast of star power when Minnie Driver presented him with his second award of the evening. 

Jelly Roll referenced his past run-ins with the law while offering hope to incarcerated teens as he delivered his acceptance speech after winning Male Video of the Year. 

He was previously charged with aggravated robbery at 18, and he faced a potential 20-year prison sentence, though he ended up serving around a year in prison and over seven years of probation afterward.

Then the singer vowed to 'set the stage on fire' with his concluding performance, and he joked that he was going to be 'a little late in the morning' for his already-scheduled interview with Gayle King

Then the singer vowed to ‘set the stage on fire’ with his concluding performance, and he joked that he was going to be ‘a little late in the morning’ for his already-scheduled interview with Gayle King

For his second win, for Male Video of the Year, Jelly Roll referenced his past incarceration and told teens at juvenile detention centers that they could still turn their lives around and succeed like he had

For his second win, for Male Video of the Year, Jelly Roll referenced his past incarceration and told teens at juvenile detention centers that they could still turn their lives around and succeed like he had

During his first win for Performance of the Year, he fought back tears. 'What I am emotional about is, in the last year, you have changed my life in every way I would have never thought my life could be changed,' he said, growing hoarse with emotion

During his first win for Performance of the Year, he fought back tears. ‘What I am emotional about is, in the last year, you have changed my life in every way I would have never thought my life could be changed,’ he said, growing hoarse with emotion

Jelly Roll also had a fun moment when he marveled that the writer, director and actor Billy Bob Thornton had been the one to present him with the final award of the night

Jelly Roll also had a fun moment when he marveled that the writer, director and actor Billy Bob Thornton had been the one to present him with the final award of the night

He got another blast of star power when Minnie Driver presented him with his second award of the evening

He got another blast of star power when Minnie Driver presented him with his second award of the evening

‘Speaking of chances, it’s important that I stand up here tonight and represent those who are looking for second chances,’ he declared. 

‘The kids back in the Metro Davidson Juvenile Detention Facility, the kids down here in the Austin Juvenile Detention Facility are watching this tonight,’ he said. ‘I’m cheering y’all boys on! You can be this guy! You can change! You can turn it around! I promise you can, baby!’ he shouted triumphantly. 

‘I once heard a man say that you don’t change until the pain to remain the same is greater than the pain it takes to change, and that’s what it takes. I love you, Texas!’ he added.

The tattooed hitmaker’s voice began to crack when he accepted his first award for CMT Performance of the year, which was for his performance at the 2023 CMT Awards. He praised his fans for how they had cemented his success. 

‘What I am emotional about is, in the last year, you have changed my life in every way I would have never thought my life could be changed,’ he said, growing hoarse with emotion. 

Jelly Roll also noted during his Performance of the Year Award acceptance speech that the CMT performance that earned him the award marked the first time he had ever been invited to perform at an awards show. 

He also gave a shout out to his ‘beautiful wife’ Bunnie XO, who stood in the audience proudly beaming at him, as well as his daughter back at home.

Jelly Roll proved himself to be a good sport earlier in the show when host Kelsea Ballerini jokingly called him ‘Weird Barbie,’ referencing Kate McKinnon’s hilarious character in Greta Gerwig’s Margot Robbie–starring blockbuster Barbie.

Lainey Wilson’s big moment of the night was when she won Female Video of the Year for her popular tune Watermelon Moonshine.

‘My heart is beating out of my chest, I’m not even gonna lie,’ she said as she took to the stage. 

She praised her fellow nominees, calling them ‘dear friends,’ and she said she was ‘honored’ to be nominated alongside them.

Lainey said that Watermelon Moonshine was ‘about that young, wild, crazy love, a time in your life when nothing else mattered. If it takes you back to that certain time, that place, that smell, that sound, that’s what country music is right there. It’s just about telling a story.’ 

Jelly Roll proved himself to be a good sport earlier in the show when host Kelsea Ballerini jokingly called him 'Weird Barbie,' referencing Kate McKinnon's hilarious character in Greta Gerwig's Margot Robbie–starring blockbuster Barbie

Jelly Roll proved himself to be a good sport earlier in the show when host Kelsea Ballerini jokingly called him ‘Weird Barbie,’ referencing Kate McKinnon’s hilarious character in Greta Gerwig’s Margot Robbie–starring blockbuster Barbie

'My heart is beating out of my chest, I'm not even gonna lie,' she said as she took to the stage before praising her fellow Female Video of the Year nominees

‘My heart is beating out of my chest, I’m not even gonna lie,’ she said as she took to the stage before praising her fellow Female Video of the Year nominees

This year's edition is hosted again from Austin, Texas, by country star Kelsea Ballerini, who served as host for the past three ceremonies. This year, however, marks the first time she will be doing the honors without a co-host

This year’s edition is hosted again from Austin, Texas, by country star Kelsea Ballerini, who served as host for the past three ceremonies. This year, however, marks the first time she will be doing the honors without a co-host

Carly Pearce (pictured) and featured singer and musician Chris Stapleton were the first winners of the evening at the 2024 CMT Music Awards

Carly Pearce (pictured) and featured singer and musician Chris Stapleton were the first winners of the evening at the 2024 CMT Music Awards

She accepted solo as Stapleton did not attend

She accepted solo as Stapleton did not attend

Pearce thanked Stapleton for making all of her 'dreams come true' by joining her on the song

Pearce thanked Stapleton for making all of her ‘dreams come true’ by joining her on the song

After the break, rising star Ashley Cooke was over the moon after being declared the winner of Breakthrough Female Video of the Year for her song Your Place

After the break, rising star Ashley Cooke was over the moon after being declared the winner of Breakthrough Female Video of the Year for her song Your Place

'I'm just taking a minute to soak this in, because I have dreamed of winning an award like a CMT award for so long,' Ashley gushed

‘I’m just taking a minute to soak this in, because I have dreamed of winning an award like a CMT award for so long,’ Ashley gushed

Following fiery opening performances from three-time CMT winner Cody Johnson, three-time nominee Jason Aldean, and one-time winner Megan Maroney, the actor Paul Walter Hauser unveiled Carly Pearce and featured singer and musician Chris Stapleton as the first winners of the evening.

The two stars were honored with the award for Collaborative Video of the Year for their single We Don’t Fight Anymore.

Despite winning in a collaborative category, Pearce accepted the award solo, as Stapleton didn’t attend the show.

She thanked Stapleton for making all of her ‘dreams come true’ by joining her on the song. 

After Carly’s opening win, rising star Ashley Cooke was over the moon after being declared the winner of Breakthrough Female Video of the Year for her song Your Place. 

‘I’m just taking a minute to soak this in, because I have dreamed of winning an award like a CMT award for so long,’ Ashley gushed. ‘This is my first CMT award and award in general, so thank you so much!’

Warren Zeiders declared that ‘God is good all the time’ when he was next called to the stage after winning the award for Breakthrough Male Video of the Year.

He also declared his father to be his ‘best friend’ and called him his ‘ride or die’ his entire life after noting that they were sitting together at the show. 

One of the big honorary awards of the evening was the inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award, which was previously announced to honor Trisha Yearwood.

The songstress, who is also the wife of country legend Garth Brooks, joked that it’s ‘nice to know you won before you got here’ after the actress Jane Seymour presented the honor to her.

She also thanked the CMTs for naming the award after Cash, whom she called ‘one of the most fierce and coolest, most passionate women I was very luck to also known.’

Trisha praised the living members of the Carter–Cash family for allowing her ‘name to be said in the same sentence as June’s.’ She was seen at the show posing with John Carter Cash, the only child June shared with her third and final husband, Johnny Cash.

Trisha praised June for ‘walking the walk’ and living by her principles. 

The Duo/Group Video of the Year Award went to Dan + Shay for Save Me The Trouble, but the country performers weren’t able to attend the CMTs, as they were just ‘about to go on stage in Kansas City’ as their award was announced.

They appeared via video feed showing them crouched down in a crawl space under the stage with just the camera’s light illuminating them.

‘We are about to go on. We just got the good news that we won Duo/Group Video of the Year,’ said Dan Smyers while crouched next to his collaborator Shay Mooney.

Warren Zeiders declared that 'God is good all the time' when he was next called to the stage after winning the award for Breakthrough Male Video of the Year

Warren Zeiders declared that ‘God is good all the time’ when he was next called to the stage after winning the award for Breakthrough Male Video of the Year

One of the big honorary awards of the evening was the inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award, which was previously announced to honor Trisha Yearwood

One of the big honorary awards of the evening was the inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award, which was previously announced to honor Trisha Yearwood

The actress Jane Seymour presented the honor to Yearwood and posed with her

The actress Jane Seymour presented the honor to Yearwood and posed with her

‘Go for Dan + Shay. Lower the stairs,’ he added as an entrance behind them opened up.

They crawled through a tiny hole leading to a set of stairs taking them up to their fans. 

The fan-voted award show is airing live on CBS from Austin’s Moody Center, and fans can also stream the show live or on-demand on Paramount+ with the add-on Showtime subscription.

This year’s edition is hosted once again by country star Kelsea Ballerini, who served as host for the past three ceremonies. This year, however, marks the first time she will be doing the honors without a co-host.

She opened the show with a hilarious self-deprecating segment highlighting her loss to fellow country star Lainey Wilson at the Grammys, before launching into a segment revealing the inner thoughts of other musicians at the CMT awards. 

Ballerini, who previously hosted with Kane Brown, told People: ‘It’s definitely new grounds for me.

‘But it’s my fourth year hosting, so I feel like I’ve learned a lot. And the good thing about CMT is there’s such a light energy, so there’s not a pressure that I feel to be perfect.

‘I just want to be fun, honor the night and help people have a good time.’

On top of hosting, Kelsea has been named as one of the night’s performers. Jason Aldean, Dasha, Trisha Yearwood, Sam Hunt and more will also be hitting the stage.

The 73-year-old English actress seemed to have a blast showing off her intricate black, white and red cowboy boots to Trisha

The 73-year-old English actress seemed to have a blast showing off her intricate black, white and red cowboy boots to Trisha

Trisha praised the living members of the Carter–Cash family for allowing her 'name to be said in the same sentence as June's.' She was also joined by John Carter Cash, the only child of Cash and her third and final husband Johnny Cash

Trisha praised the living members of the Carter–Cash family for allowing her ‘name to be said in the same sentence as June’s.’ She was also joined by John Carter Cash, the only child of Cash and her third and final husband Johnny Cash

There will also be a performance paying tribute to the late Toby Keith featuring Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar, Lainey Wilson and more, with Toby’s band will be backing the performance.

Billy Bob Thornton, Emma Roberts, James Van Der Beek, Jane Seymour, Mickey Guyton, and Jelly Roll are among the all-star presenters hitting the stage.   

Nominees for this year’s awards show were announced last month.  

In the female video of the year category, Ashley McBryde, Gabby Barrett, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Lainey Wilson, Megan Moroney and Reba McEntire square off.

In the breakthrough female video of the year, Anne Wilson, Ashley Cooke, Brittney Spencer and Tigirlily Gold are competing.

Morgan Wallen, one of the genre’s top stars — and also one of country music’s most controversial — received only one nomination: for male video of the year for ‘Last Night (One Record at a Time Sessions).’ 

He will be competing against Bailey Zimmerman’s ‘Religiously,’ Cody Johnson’s ‘The Painter,’ HARDY’s ‘Truck Bed,’ Jelly Roll’s ‘Need A Favor,’ Jordan Davis’ ‘Next Thing You Know’ and Luke Combs’ ‘Fast Car (Official Live Video).’

Wallen’s 2023 album, ‘One Thing at a Time,’ spent 19 weeks at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, making it the most popular album of any style last year. Its run broke a record previously held by Garth Brooks´s 1991 LP ‘Ropin´ the Wind’ by becoming the longest reigning No. 1 country album, ever.

At the start of the show — which airs at 8 p.m. on CBS and streams live and on-demand on Paramount+ with Showtime — Kelsea poked fun at herself for losing a Grammy to Lainey Wilson

At the start of the show — which airs at 8 p.m. on CBS and streams live and on-demand on Paramount+ with Showtime — Kelsea poked fun at herself for losing a Grammy to Lainey Wilson

She launched a hilarious segment in which she read the minds of stars in the audience — including Lainey

She launched a hilarious segment in which she read the minds of stars in the audience — including Lainey

Kelsea's boyfriend Chase Stokes also got wrapped up in the humorous segment

Kelsea’s boyfriend Chase Stokes also got wrapped up in the humorous segment

In the breakthrough male video of the year category, Chayce Beckham, Tyler Childers, Warren Zeiders and Zach Bryan go head-to-head.

Other categories include Duo/Group Video of the Year, Collaborative Video of the Year, and CMT Performance of the Year. 

There are also 14 first-time nominees this year, a list that includes some acts that go beyond country music – a direct reflection of CMT’s spotlight on genre-blending collaborations.

Those new names include Amber Riley, Ashley Cooke, Anne Wilson, Ella Langley, The Castellows, Tigirlily Gold, Bret Michaels, Chayce Beckham, Hozier, Koe Wetzel, Stephen Wilson Jr., Tyler Childers, Warren Zeiders, and Zach Bryan.

The Country Music Television Awards 2024 WINNERS

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Ashley McBryde — Light On In The Kitchen

Brandy Clark feat. Brandi Carlile — Dear Insecurity

Brothers Osborne — Nobody’s Nobody

Cody Johnson — The Painter

Darius Rucker — Fires Don’t Start Themselves

HARDY — Truck Bed

Jason Aldean — Let Your Boys Be Country

Jelly Roll — Need A Favor — WINNER

Jordan Davis — Next Thing You Know

Kacey Musgraves — Deeper Well

Kelsea Ballerini — IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN’ DOWN TOO)

Lainey Wilson — Watermelon Moonshine

Mickey Guyton feat. Kane Brown — Nothing Compares To You

Parmalee — Gonna Love You

Tyler Childers — In Your Love

Zach Bryan — Nine Ball

 

FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Ashley McBryde — Light On In The Kitchen

Gabby Barrett — Glory Days

Kacey Musgraves — Deeper Well

Kelsea Ballerini — Penthouse

Lainey Wilson — Watermelon Moonshine — WINNER

Megan Moroney — I’m Not Pretty

Reba McEntire — Seven Minutes In Heaven

 

MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Bailey Zimmerman — Religiously

Cody Johnson — The Painter

HARDY — Truck Bed

Jelly Roll — Need A Favor — WINNER

Jordan Davis — Next Thing You Know

Luke Combs — Fast Car (Official Live Video)

Morgan Wallen — Last Night (One Record At A Time Sessions)

 

DUO/GROUP VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Brothers Osborne — Nobody’s Nobody

Dan + Shay — Save Me The Trouble — WINNER

Old Dominion — Memory Lane

Parmalee — Girl In Mine

The War And Treaty — Have You A Heart

Tigirlily Gold — Shoot Tequila

 

COLLABORATIVE VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Carly Pearce feat. Chris Stapleton — We Don’t Fight Anymore — WINNER

Ella Langley feat. Koe Wetzel — That’s Why We Fight

Jon Pardi, Luke Bryan — Cowboys And Plowboys

Justin Moore & Priscilla Block — You, Me And Whiskey

Lukas Nelson + Promise of The Real feat. Lainey Wilson — More Than Friends

Mickey Guyton feat. Kane Brown — Nothing Compares To You

Old Dominion & Megan Moroney — Can’t Break Up Now

 

BREAKTHROUGH FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR, presented by Walt Disney World®

Anne Wilson — Rain In The Rearview

Ashley Cooke — your place — WINNER

Brittney Spencer — Bigger Than The Song

Tigirlily Gold — Shoot Tequila

 

BREAKTHROUGH MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR, presented by Walt Disney World®

Chayce Beckham — ’23’

Tyler Childers — ‘In Your Love’

Warren Zeiders — ‘Pretty Little Poison’ — WINNER

Zach Bryan — ‘Oklahoma Smokeshow’

 

CMT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

Amber Riley – ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T.’ (from CMT Smashing Glass)

Bret Michaels & Chris Janson – ‘Nothing But a Good Time’ (from CMT Crossroads)

Carrie Underwood – ‘Hate My Heart’ (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)

Cody Johnson – ‘Human’ (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)

Dierks Bentley – ‘Drunk On A Plane’ (from CMT Storytellers)

Dustin Lynch feat. MacKenzie Porter – ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’ (from CMT Campfire Sessions)

Hozier & Maren Morris – ‘Take Me To Church’ (from CMT Crossroads)

Jelly Roll — ‘Need a Favor’ (from 2023 CMT Music Awards) — WINNER

Kelsea Ballerini – ‘IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN’ DOWN TOO)’ (from 2023 CMT Music Awards)

The War And Treaty – ‘On My Own’ (from CMT Smashing Glass)

 

CMT DIGITAL-FIRST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR 

Chase Rice – ‘Goodnight Nancy’ (from CMT Studio Sessions)

Dylan Scott – ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes (Keith Whitley Cover)’ (from CMT Digital Campfire Sessions)

Megan Moroney – ‘I’m Not Pretty’ (from CMT Digital Campfire Sessions)

Nate Smith – ‘Whiskey on You’ (from CMT Studio Sessions)

Scotty McCreery — ‘It Matters to Her’ (from CMT Stages) — WINNER

Stephen Wilson Jr. – ‘Year to Be Young 1994’ (from CMT Studio Sessions)

The Castellows – ‘I Know It Will Never End’ (from CMT Studio Sessions)

 

June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award 

Trisha Yearwood — Inaugural Winner

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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