Ranking The Best & Worst Performances From The CMA Fest – Who Hit All The Right Notes?

CMA Country Music Association Facebook/flashofthestars.com

This year’s three-hour-long televised CMA Fest special was jam-packed with one performance after another. All of the performances were filmed during the CMA Fest that took place in Nashville in June. The footage was then put together to form the televised special, and featured commentary from hosts Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge.

Many artists that took to the stage made fans fall in love with them all over again. Their performances embodied the definition of show-stopping, and it comes as no surprise why they were chosen to be showcased in the special.

But other artists’ performances were less impressive, and to some fans, they were even disappointing. That’s unfortunately the case with any kind of program of this sort, you can’t always please everyone.

Now that people across the country have tuned in and gathered their opinions about the CMA Fest, we’ve put together our own list of the best and worst performances of the night. So who hit all of the right notes this year?

WORST: Little Big Town & Pharrell Williams


Photo Credit: CMA Country Music Association Facebook 

As much hype as Little Big Town‘s collaboration with The Voice judge and hip hop star Pharrell Williams got leading up to the CMA Fest, their performance wasn’t quite what fans were expecting. All five of them shared the stage to perform Little Big Town’s new song “Miracle,” which is included on their album Wanderlust, for which Williams served as co-producer.

Perhaps the reason fans were less than impressed with the collaboration is because “Miracle” took on much different vibe than most country music. With a full choir behind them, Little Big Town and Williams almost sounded like they were singing along to a Broadway show tune rather than a country song. Needless to say, fans were less than pleased.

BEST: Chris Stapleton


Photo Credit: CMA Country Music Association Facebook 

What came as absolutely no surprise to those who watched the CMA Fest is that Chris Stapleton killed his performance of “Might As Well Get Stoned.” Ever since his breakthrough moment during the CMA Awards in November 2015, Stapleton has been one of the standout stars on any televised country special.

The CMA Twitter summed Stapleton’s performance up perfectly, writing, “He came, he saw, he conquered.” It seems safe to say that viewers agreed with that statement. Now we can’t wait for the next country event to see what Stapleton has in store for us!

WORST: Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge


Photo Creidt: Nancy Kruh via People.com

The CMA Fest hosts opened the show with a performance of Rhett’s single “Vacation.” While there’s no denying that the two best buds put on an energetic performance, something seemed to be lacking.

For one, their band was a bit overpowering, which seemed to be a problem for other performers as well. Although Rhett and Eldredge have been able to make their voices mesh well in other collaborations, this one just didn’t seem to work. Eldredge’s voice seemed drowned out in comparison to Rhett’s, causing fans to strain to try and pick out his voice.

But these guys definitely get an “A” for setting off a fun vibe for the night!

BEST: Carrie Underwood (TWICE)


Photo Credit: Larry McCormack/The Tennessean 

Fans knew to count on the fact that Carrie Underwood would deliver one of the best performances of the night. But fans weren’t expecting that TWO of the night’s best performances would come from Underwood.

Underwood started off singing her mega-hit “Church Bells” in a powerful performance that reminded everyone why she is one of country music’s leading ladies. But it was her performance of “Choctaw County Affair” that had viewers saying “wow!” after they watched it.

Not only did Underwood showcase her stunning voice during her second performance, but her harmonica playing skills as well. You read right! It turns out that Underwood can play a mean harmonica solo, which she demonstrated during the CMA Fest. Just when we get to thinking that Underwood has reached the top of her game, she takes it up another level every time!

WORST: Rascal Flatts


Photo Credit: CMA Country Music Association Facebook 

As one of the most popular groups in country music, fans were expecting a lot from Rascal Flatts‘ performance during the CMA Fest. But their performance of “I Like the Sound of That” lacked the power and passion that many of the other artists managed to nail. In a sea of extraordinary music, it seems that Rascal Flatts’ performance was quickly forgotten by fans.

For some reason, and please excuse the pun, Rascal Flatt’s CMA Fest performance fell flat. Something was off, and the viewers could tell, because while people were buzzing about Stapleton and Underwood, no one was saying a word about Rascal Flatts.

BEST: Luke Bryan and Keith Urban


Photo Credit: CMA Country Music Association Facebook 

Luke Bryan already had fans hooked during the CMA Fest with his performance of “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.” But Bryan had a trick up his sleeve that sent his performance into overdrive, and earned it a spot as one of the top moments of the night.

In the middle of his song, Bryan made the claim that he is the best guitar player in country music. To prove his point, Bryan showed off some of his guitar skills, but he was soon upstaged by someone who came walking out from behind the scenes….Keith Urban.

Everyone knows that Urban is one of the best guitar players in country music, so the guitar battle that ensued between him and Bryan after he made his entrance was top-notch entertainment. Plus, it was a ton of fun to watch!

Did your favorite performance make the list? If not, which CMA Fest performance had you begging for more? We’d love to hear your thoughts!