Blake Shelton delivered the opening performance at the 2023 CMT Music Awards on Sunday (April 2) with a jaunty rendition of his 2022 single “No Body.”


Shelton began the performance shrouded in darkness, with only his boots visible in the spotlight. “Well, I can’t see anything in here — but if this is Austin, I still love you!” he shouted to a roaring crowd — referencing the chorus to his 2001 breakthrough hit “Austin,” and the fact the awards are taking place in Austin for the first time this year. He then launched into the strutting “No Body,” with a cadre of honkytonk-ready backing dancers living up to the song’s boot-scootin’ lyrics in the background.

While Shelton’s performance was the first of the awards, it was preceded by a powerful message from country star (and CMT Music Awards co-host) Kelsea Ballerini, who choked back tears while addressing the audience about the recent tragic school shooting in Nashville. “I pray deeply that the closeness and the community that we feel through the next few horus of music can soon into action — like, real action — that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones,” Ballerini offered.

“No Body” is the advance single from Shelton’s upcoming 13th album. The song peaked at No. 18 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart in February, and its visual is nominated for video of the year at this year’s awards. Shelton is a nine-time winner at the CMT Music Awards, having most recently won collaborative video of the year at the 2020 ceremonies for “Nobody But You” (along with his now-wife, pop star Gwen Stefani).

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