Unusual collaborations planned for CMT Awards

By Yvette C. Hammett   |   June 8, 2016 at 11:27 AM
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NASHVILLE, June 8 (UPI) -- Super Producer Pharrell Williams is slated to sing with Little Big Town at the CMT Music Awards.

He is lending his talents to Little Big Town on their upcoming album, WANDERLUST.

Pharrell is serving as the executive producer on Little Big Town's album and the 43-year-old Voice coach is also working with longtime collaborator Justin Timberlake on a secret project.

The pairing of artists who don't typically sing together is part of what makes the CMT Music Awards unique, the Tennessean reported. Blake Shelton will do that again this year, inviting the Oak Ridge Boys on stage to perform with him, a group that hasn't seen an awards program in years.

The Oak Ridge Boys are featured on Shelton's new album,If I'm Honest on the track "Doing It to Country Songs." They'll sing the song on the CMT Music Awards with Shelton and then Shelton will sing the Oak Ridge Boys' signature hit "Elvira" with them.

Other unusual pairings include Dierks Bentley with Elle King, Billy Ray Cyrus with Cheap Trick, Cam and Fifth Harmony, and Cassadee Pope with Pitbull and Leona Lewis.

Those unusual connections are the brainchild of CMT president Brian Philips and his staff. Philips said when the artists come together live, the performances are often much more than even they anticipated.

"You don't really know until you get in a room how it will prove itself out," Phillips said. "What I get excited about is untested great collaborations. Can you imagine playing together for the first time on national television live? It takes a fearless spirit. I think generally we deliver ... things that we didn't know would fit perfectly together, but when they got together and started jamming they found magic. I think that's the secret of the CMT Music Awards."

The 2016 CMT Music Awards, hosted this year by Erin Andrews and J.J. Watt, will broadcast live from Bridgestone Arena on CMT at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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