2017 CMT Music Awards Nominees Miranda Lambert
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Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and More to Perform at CMT Music Awards

The first batch of performing artists for the upcoming 2017 CMT Music Awards were just announced. And as you can probably guess, the usual suspects made the list.

Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton are all set to perform when the show airs June 7. Other performances so far include Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, with plenty more coming down the pipeline.

But perhaps some of the coolest news comes in the form of the new emcee. Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne on the network's hit show Nashville, takes on hosting duties for the first time.

In addition to playing Deacon, Esten has tons of stage experience. He played Buddy Holly in a London production of Buddy for years. He also starred as a recurring member on the hit comedy improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

But Esten also releases music as a solo artist, including several singes recently. The charismatic performer feels like a perfect fit for the CMT Awards, which bounces all over the place when it comes to hosts. For instance, last year sports analyst Erin Andrews hosted alongside NFL star J.J. Watt.

And then a few years back, actress Kristen Bell hosted. We won't dwell long on the Kid Rock years, or the awkward father/daughter tandem from Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus. Or should we just say, Cyrus and Cyrus.

The point is, CMT still doesn't really know the show's identity when it comes to hosts. Here's hoping Esten can help them find it.

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The fan-voted award show actually has roots all the way back in the 1960s. The show began as the Music City News Awards in 1967. It underwent quite a few name changes, but settled permanently on the CMT Music Awards in 2005.

CMT plans on announcing a whole bunch of additional performers and presenters in the days leading up to the telecast.

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