From Fill-In Singer to Honoree, Thomas Rhett Reflects on Being One of CMT’s Artists of the Year

ABC/Image Group LA

Thomas Rhett performed a mashup of his smash “Die a Happy Man” Wednesday night at CMT’s Artists of the Year taping in Nashville, with Swedish pop sensation Zara Larsson joining in with her hit, “Never Forget You.”

While this is TR’s first time as one of the night’s main honorees, he’s actually sung on the show before.

“I was here last year, actually,” he recalls, “because Tyler [Hubbard] from Florida Georgia Line got really sick, and I came and got to sing ‘Dirt’ in honor of Florida Georgia Line. And I remember being like, ‘Dang, I’d love to be here as an Artist of the Year.’ And here we are one year later as one of those people, so I’m just floored that I was picked to be one of the five, and just very honored to be a part of tonight’s festivities.”

The “Star of the Show” singer says the CMT honor is just the icing on the cake after an incredible year.

“I don’t even know what to think!” Thomas Rhett confesses. “I just hope I’m prepared for all these adventures that we’re about to set out on. This year’s been amazing. It’s one for the books. You know, when I look back in 20 or 30 years, I know that this year will be very memorable to me. So to be here tonight, man, is crazy!”

You can experience the Artists of the Year special yourself, when it airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.