When the decision was made that the Nashville based CMT Music Awards would be moving to Austin in 2023 the team set out to break the news in a Texas-sized way -- our not-yet-announced show host would surprise Carrie Underwood during her sold-out concert to share the news -- and also invite Carrie to perform at the April awards!The triple announcement of new city (Austin, TX), our co-host (Kelsea Ballerini) and our first performer (Carrie Underwood) was sure to be epic for the fans in the arena, but knowing that the CMT Music Awards is the only fan voted awards show in Country Music it was critical that the announcement was equally epic for those not in attendance. To do this we set out to create a mini-documentary capturing the planning, energy and real-time nature of the moment.
We knew that our surprise would be captured and immediately posted to social media by thousands of fans in the crowd, so instead of doing what we knew they would already do we partnered with our awards show co-host Kelsea Ballerini to document every step of the day. This docu-follow piece would give fans insider access to the iconic country star and CMT’s biggest night of the year.
We met up with Ballerini on the tarmac in Nashville to board her private jet, but before takeoff it was time to drop a tease for the fans via Instagram & TikTok. While fans turned into detectives and took to social to search to share their theories, we were en route to Austin getting the scoop of how the surprise was going to play out -- including sneaking into Carrie Underwood’s backstage area without Underwood knowing. Once on the ground the small film crew captured every behind-the-scenes moment as well as Ballerini’s thoughts and feelings on the day, the show and what else was in store in the lead up to the CMT Music Awards. As the team followed Ballerini to stage, cameras then captured the long-awaited moment. A surprised Carrie Underwood and a roaring crowd realizing in real-time what was happening was all caught on film for fans to experience.
Leveraging social accounts of CMT, CBS, Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie Underwood the content captured as part of the Road To CMT Music Awards saw views topping 2.8M.