This year's CMT Performance of the Year category was stacked with ten of 2023's most popular performances across CMT shows, series or variety specials. Ultimately, Cody Johnson took the cake with his rendition of ''Til You Can't' from the 2022 CMT Music Awards.
While accepting the prestigious honour, Johnson said, "Before I thank Warner Music Nashville, [I need to thank] my band and my crew”. He shouted out his road team for working their tails off and for propelling him to win the award.
He continued, "Before I do the same old speech that most people do, I want to ask everyone in here - are you having fun at the CMT Awards?" Earning a thunderous roar of applause, Johnson finished by sharing, "That's what a performance is about and that's what my performance will stay about: your pleasure. Thank you guys so much!"
Johnson's breakout tune earned the top spot at country radio last year and gives an energising take on the concept of carpe diem. His standout track can be found on his 2021 record, Human: The Double Album.
Other performances that were vying for the honour included Black Pumas & Mickey Guyton's 'Colors,' Cole Swindell & Lainey Wilson's 'Never Say Never,' Keith Urban's 'Wild Hearts' and The Judds' 'Love Can Build a Bridge,' all from the 2022 CMT Music Awards.
Additional nominees in the category were Chris Stapleton's 'Whenever You Come Around' (from CMT Giants: Vince Gill), Darius Rucker's 'Let Her Cry' (from CMT Storytellers), Emmy Russell & Lukas Nelson's 'Lay Me Down' (from Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Loretta Lynn), LeAnn Rimes with Ashley McBryde & Carly Pearce's 'One Way Ticket' (from CMT Crossroads: LeAnn Rimes & Friends), and Wynonna Judd & Brandi Carlile's 'The Rose' (from Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration).
The 2022 trophy was awarded to George Strait for his performance of 'Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone (from CMT Giants: Charley Pride).' The country music legend notched his first-ever CMT award with the performance, beating out fellow nominees Chris Stapleton, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, LANY, Mickey Guyton, Gladys Knight, Breland and Blanco Brown.
For more on the 2023 CMT Awards, see below: