The country newcomer nabbed the new artist of the year award.
After opening the 2023 CMA Awards alongside Wynonna Judd, Jelly Roll closed out the awards show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 8) night with another duet. And while Judd wasn’t by his side this time, he was singing one of her group’s most covered songs – the Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge,” a top 5 Hot Country Songs hit — as a gospel-fied duet with K. Michelle.
Earlier in the night, Jelly Roll won the new artist of the year CMA award and gave a rousing acceptance speech that built and crested with preacher-styled energy. He brought that same gospel intensity to his duet on the Judds classic alongside K. Michelle, growling and belting out the song’s message of finding common ground by letting love, not hate, dictate your decisions. Michelle – a Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta alumni who recently released her sixth album I’m the Problem – met his energy by digging deep on limber, soulful notes while a gospel choir surrounded them.
After the duet wrapped, Jelly Roll placed his hand on his heart and gave a smile to Michelle, whom he hailed as “incredible.”
On the 2023 CMAs red carpet, Jelly Roll – a 2023 Billboard cover star – teased his Wynonna Judd duet in an interview with Billboard. “The person I called, nobody thought they were going to say yes,” he told Billboard with a grin. Last year, Naomi Judd — Wynonna’s mother and the other half of the Judds — died at age 76. The Judds scored 14 No. 1 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart.
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