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Hunter Hayes Commands the Crowd With Intense ‘Wanted’ Delivery at 2012 CMAs

Hunter Hayes Wanted CMAs
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

This year’s CMA performances were largely dominated by big acts on the main stage, but sometimes a solo performance is just as commanding as a full band. When Hunter Hayes took the seat at his piano in the middle of a crowd at the CMA Awards, he had the attention of the entire audience as he played ‘Wanted.’

Hayes typically plays with a band behind him, but tonight it was just the 21-year-old rising country music star and his signature black piano in front of the crowd. The young star sat at his piano pounding the keys and unleashing his powerful voice for the first verse and chorus of the song. But before he closed out the tune, he stood up to shake the hands of his anxious fans while he belted out the song.

Hayes admitted to Taste of Country Nights host Jeremy Robinson that he was nervous about performing at the CMA Awards. But if the country crooner was shaking in his cowboy boots before he took the stage tonight, his performance certainly didn’t show it.

Thanks to a great first year in the country music industry, Hayes was nominated for a 2012 CMA award for Best New Artist. After his spot-on ‘Wanted’ performance tonight, there’s no doubt that he deserved the nomination — and the win, which he got.

See a Full List of 2012 CMA Awards Winners

Watch Hunter Hayes Perform ‘Wanted’ at the 2012 CMA Awards

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