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The Best Dressed of the 2021 CMT Music Awards

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After a year of pandemic lockdown and virtual awards shows, Wednesday night's CMT Music Awards offered the exciting chance for country's biggest stars to reunite -- in real life -- and celebrate in Nashville, Tennessee. The show itself, led by co-hosts Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini, notably centered on more diverse artists with one performance by Mickey Guyton, BRELAND, and Gladys Knight emerging as a particular stand-out. But before songs were sung and trophies were taken, of course, the highly anticipated red carpet showcased a few daring looks from country music darlings.

Fashion on the CMT Music Awards Red Carpet

Mickey Guyton

Neon yellow is always a fantastic red carpet statement, and Mickey Guyton did it right and did it big. In this unmistakable floor-length, asymmetrical gown, there was no overlooking Guyton's presence at the awards show. This was her year. Though she didn't win for either of her two nominations, Guyton brought the house down performing twice alongside BRELAND and once with the legend Gladys Knight.

Read More: The 5 Best Mickey Guyton Songs, So Far

Carrie Underwood

At this point, Carrie Underwood can wear just about anything to an awards show. She's a fierce competitor on the red carpet -- and throughout the entire awards circuit. This year, she won for CMT Award for Video of the Year (along with collaborator John Legend) and, frankly, her simple yellow minidress got the job done. Like Mickey Guyton, Underwood went for the trendy shade guaranteed to make a girl stand out. And styled with shiny stilettos and youthful blonde beach waves, that's exactly what she did.

Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce looked, simply put, freaking adorable in this floral three-piece set by Ines Di Santo. The on-trend look was relatable, balancing skin and sweetness in equal measure, but heightened dramatically -- no pun intended -- with tall, pointy pumps from Casadei. Oh, and accessorizing with a dog? Genius move.

Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman

Though their looks were tonally different, together, these Little Big Town bandmates stunned at the CMT Music Awards. Kimberly Schlapman looked elegant in a two-toned gown by Greta Constantine. Karen Fairchild, meanwhile. makes this list for her boots alone! The hot pink piece of red carpet fashion reminds us what country style can look like in 2021.

Lainey Wilson

First-time nominee Lainey Wilson certainly made a statement in cheeky gold bellbottoms. Paired with a sequined top, the busy look had a poppy throwback feel.

Ingrid Andress

Ingrid Andress looked simply fantastical in a mermaid-inspired pantsuit by Georges Chakra Couture pantsuit. The sequins seemed to ripple, swimmingly, as Andress made her way down the red carpet. The deeply plunging neckline was another slinky touch.

H.E.R.

Though not typically considered a country star, the R&B singer stunned during her CMT Music Awards duet with Chris Stapleton. And before she took to the stage, she casually nailed the red carpet in a rocker-chic Valentino ensemble paired with rhinestone booties. That's just so H.E.R.

Iliza Shlesinger

Continuing in this year's theme of fuchsia, the stand-up comedian Iliza Schlesinger wore a bold gown by Maria Lucia Hohan to this year's CMT Music Awards. Though she was appearing strictly as a celebrity presenter, Schlesinger's baring black bustier certainly caught our attention.

And my personal favorite: Kelsea Ballerini

As a co-host, Kelsea Ballerini was always going to stand out. But her skin-tight, hot pink leather jumpsuit by LaQuan Smith was a mic drop in itself. Opting out of her usual acoustic charm, Ballerini's look could be summarized as cyborg-country-couture. And those little braids? So Britney Spears! It's not the first time Ballerini has channeled the early-aughts pop goddess, who was no doubt an influence on the 27-year-old singer. And for fashion's sake, we hope it won't be the last.

Now Watch: Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini Cover Trisha Yearwood at the Opry

 

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The Best Dressed of the 2021 CMT Music Awards