Sarah Hyland Teases the 2020 CMT Music Awards: 'The Performances Are Going to Be the Highlight'
Ahead of Wednesday night's Nashville-based awards ceremony, the 29-year-old actress — who will serve as one of the show's three cohosts — says that fans of the long-running award spectacle can expect to have a great time watching from home and gave some hints at what to expect when the program airs.
"The performances are going to be the highlight of this show," Hyland tells PEOPLE exclusively. "There will be so many performers and fans can expect truly epic outdoor performances all over Tennessee."
Noting that there will be performances taking place in local scenic areas such as Ruskin Cave, Sycamore Farm and Cherokee Dock, Hyland also describes the lineup as "stacked."
"I feel like [we] haven't seen a lot of music recently, so it's nice to be able to have something like this," she says.
Hyland, who describes herself as a country music lover and someone who loves fan-voted award shows, will host the CMT Music Awards alongside Kane Brown and Ashley McBryde — two artists who are both performing and also up for awards during the night's celebrations.
Alongside Brown, 26, and McBryde, 37, other performers scheduled for the entirely fan-voted award show include but are not limited to Dan + Shay, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey. Shania Twain will also return for her first CMT Music Awards performance since 2011.
Hyland describes her two cohosts as "mega superstars" within the country music scene and adds that she is thrilled to be hosting alongside the two. "I'm really excited and extremely honored to be a part of the show," she says.
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Hyland is no stranger to hosting, as she has done so in years past with events such as the Teen Choice Awards back in 2014 and the Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade event later in 2018.
Aware that the event won't be like it has been in years past, Hyland notes that a lot of hard work has been put into the show. The Modern Family star will be filming her scenes separately amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as she is immunocompromised. (Hyland has kidney dysplasia and has previously undergone two transplants.)
"Yes, it will be a bit different, but everybody's been working really, really hard to make it the best show that it can see," she says. "Virtually, non-virtually and I think it's gonna be a really, really great and fun show."
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Hitmakers Ballerini, Luke Combs, Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett are up for the most accolades of the evening with three nominations each. Blanco Brown, Caylee Hammack, Gabby Barrett, Gwen Stefani, Halsey, Ingrid Andress, Marshmello, Riley Green, Tanya Tucker, The Highwomen and Travis Denning are all nominated for their first CMT Music award.
In the coveted video of the year category, there are six acts nominated, including Carrie Underwood, who reigns as the most awarded artist in CMT Music Awards history with 20 wins. Other nominees for the category include Keith Urban, Ballerini, Combs, Miranda Lambert and Tucker.
Though the show's other categories are no longer open, the video of the year award can be voted on throughout the show's airtime Wednesday night. "It's pretty steep competition," Hyland says.
The 2020 CMT Music Awards will air live from Nashville on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. EST on CMT and across MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, Pop TV and TV Land.
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