You watched the performances, saw who won which buckles and what the stars wore to the 2012 CMT Music Awards, but Taste of Country had your exclusive red carpet pass! We caught up with some of your favorite stars as they made their way into Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night (June 6), and here is what they had to say about the highly-anticipated and fan-voted awards!

Brantley Gilbert: "I'm excited to see how funny Toby [Keith] is. We're going on the road with him starting next week, so I've heard he has some pretty good jokes."

Colt Ford: "This [awards show] is like a party, and that is what it's supposed to be. It's about celebrating country music and having a good time."

Thompson Square's Keifer Thompson: "This awards show is fan-based. It's fan voted, and the fans are our drug. That's why we do what we do. It makes it even more special to get a nomination and hopefully bring something home tonight. It's always fun to come to Nashville and do an award show, but when it's fan-based, it's even more special to us."

Hunter Hayes: "There's something about this awards show that's like no rules. There's almost no boundaries. I love the collaborations. I just ran into everybody on the red carpet. It's so cool to see country music keep up with all the people who influenced our music and have influenced my music. It's definitely a fun party with no rules."

Eric Church: (who performed his hit 'Drink in My Hand' in front of the Bridgestone Arena for hundreds of fans on the outdoor stage): "[The song was] really was born on the road, it was born live. I mean, the inspiration for the song came from songwriters that were out one night seeing our show and saw the people putting their drinks up in the air. It’s actually quite coordinated for a bunch of drunk people, and that’s where ‘Drink in My Hand’ came from. So, it’s really cool now to see the inspiration for that song and where it came from and how it’s kind of come full circle with what we wrote about that the people were the inspiration. Now we have this song that they can sing back to us every night. We were certainly in our element to be out there, outside with the fans, live, in the middle of ‘em. It’s what we’re used to, it’s what we do. I think it makes it better for the live show, and it makes it better certainly for us, you know, ‘cause we feel comfortable being able to go out there and give it to ‘em and throw our fist in the air and throw our beer in the air and give ‘em ‘Drink in My Hand’ the way that they get it every night."

Laura Bell Bundy: "The CMT Awards is always the award show where I wear a short dress. It's a little bit more of country music rocks, where as it's a little more elegant at the ACM's or the CMA's. So it's a little bit more casual. I think anything goes here."

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