Justin Timberlake Brasil / YouTube
Whether you watched at home or in the audience, everyone can agree that the “the best performance ever” was given by Memphis-born Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton. At the time of his performance, Stapleton had already won the CMA Award for Best New Artist. He would also go on to win Album of the Year for Traveller, as well as Male Vocalist of the Year.
Host Brad Paisley introduced the two, and said, “Tonight, for one night only, the Nashville sound meets the soul of Memphis. The CMA New Artist of the Year shares a drink with his superstar buddy from the home of the blues.”
And just like that, on a smokey stage, Timberlake joined Stapleton in a rowdy and radiant performance that would forever go down in CMA Awards history. The duo opened with Stapleton’s soulful version of the iconic song “Tennessee Whiskey,” followed with Timberlake’s “Drink You Away,” which was included on his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2. People loved the performance so much that Timberlake released “Drink You Away” to country radio shortly after the award show!
While this performance put Chris Stapleton “on the map,” he was already an industry veteran, having been part of the bluegrass band, the SteelDrivers, and a songwriter for many, many years.
The crowd was immediately brought to their feet as they sang and danced along to the duo’s rockin’ performance.
Even celebrities in the audience were blown away by the show, and many took out their phones to Tweet about it or take a photo. Let’s be honest, how often have you seen Keith Urban or Trisha Yearwood messing with their phones during an award show?
If that’s not saying something… we don’t know what is.
This performance will never be forgotten! Check out the video below, and relive the night that changed the CMAs forever!