CMT shakes things up with all woman CMT Artist of the Year special

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Don’t look now but the CMT Artists of the Year is now an all-girls club.

For the first time in the show’s 10-year history, the CMT Artists of the Year show will focus on the women of country, in “recognition of the undeniable influence and impact of female artists in country music.”

This year’s all-female “Artists of the Year” celebration will honor Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. This marks Underwood’s fourth CMT Artists of the Year honor and Lambert’s third. Ballerini was an honoree in 2016, while Fairchild and Schlapman were lauded the previous year with Little Big Town. Morris is a first-time honoree.

“This year, we’re evolving the special to reflect what’s happening right now in culture and in the lives of our fans,” said Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President of Music & Talent, CMT, in a press release. “In this monumental year for women, dedicating one of the biggest nights in the genre to applaud female country artists not only solidifies our commitment, but we hope will spark a much-needed change in the industry.”

This is pretty cool, but it seems odd to honor women who are part of a group like Little Big Town and Lady A. Not to take anything away from anyone, but their greatness is due in large  part to the fact that they’re in groups involving men. Shouldn’t CMT have stuck with honoring women who are blazing trails all on their own? Who would you have chosen for an all-women’s Artists of the Year show? Kacey Musgraves? Ashley McBryde? Carly Pearce?

This is definitely a step in the right direction anyway.

The 90-minute special will premiere on Wednesday, October 17 at 8:00 PM, ET/PT only on CMT.