Last night’s (Wednesday, November 8th) 51st annual Country Music Awards not only celebrated music, but displayed the true meaning of family and unity. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley hosted the event, held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, for the 10th year in a row. They kicked off the show paying respect to the many lives lost in the numerous tragedies that have taken place in the U.S. over the past few months. Paisley added in their touching introductory speech that those lives “will not be forgotten.”
Eric Church got the performances rolling by opening the show with “Amazing Grace,” followed by Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum performing Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand.”
The big winners of the evening included Garth Brooks with Entertainer of the Year, Keith Urban with Single of the Year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Chris Stapleton with Album of the Year From a Room: Volume 1 and Taylor Swift, who won Song of the Year for writing Little Big Town’s “Better Man.”
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Single of the Year: Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
Album of the Year: Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 1
Song of the Year: Taylor Swift, “Better Man”
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year: Brothers Osborne
Musical Event of the Year: Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson, “Funny How Time Slips Away”
Musician of the Year: Mac McAnally
Music Video of the Year: Brothers Osborne, “It Ain’t My Fault”
New Artist of the Year: Jon Pardi
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley stayed true to their comedic monologues and poked fun at President Donald Trump and his love for Twitter.
A memorable moment that touched the audience and viewers alike, was the tribute to Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry — who was killed in a helicopter accident in New Jersey back in September. Dierks Bentley and Rascal Flatts took the stage and sang Montgomery Gentry’s ’02 hit, “My Town,” and were later joined by the other half of the duo, Eddie Montgomery.
Little Big Town performed a moving tribute to Glen Campbell, with help from Jimmy Webb, during their performance of Campbell’s ’68 record, “Wichita Lineman.”
Maren Morris and Niall Horan hit the stage and kicked off their performance with Morris’ “I Could Use a Love Song,” then performed “Seeing Blind” together for the very first time.
Carrie Underwood performed a tribute to those who have passed in the Country music community, as well as those who lost their lives the recent Las Vegas shooting, with a performance of “Softly And Tenderly.”
The show kicked off with Eric Church singing “Amazing Grace,” followed by performance of Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand,” featuring the band’s lead Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum. They were joined by Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and a host of others, with help from a choir.
Thomas Rhett gave an electrifying performance of his record, “Unforgettable.”
Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts and Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry join forces and performed a tribute to Troy Gentry with a performance of the duo’s ’02 hit, “My Town.”
Kelsea Ballerini and Reba McEntire performed “Legends,” which ended with a standing ovation.
Luke Bryan performed “Light It Up.”
Garth Brooks performed “Ask Me How I Know,” alongside Mitch Rossell, who co-wrote the record.
With help from a five-piece band, Miranda Lambert performed her hit, “To Learn Her.”
Brothers Osborne performed “It Ain’t My Fault.”
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill shook up the stage during their performance of “The Rest of Our Life.”
Pink stepped away from the Pop stage and performed “Barbies.”
Old Dominion performed “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart.”
Little Big Town serenaded the crowd with a tribute to Glen Campbell, with help from Jimmy Webb, during their performance of “Wichita Lineman.”
Chris Stapleton performed “Broken Halo.”
Maren Morris and Niall Horan hit the stage and kicked off their performance with Morris’ “I Could Use a Love Song,” then performed “Seeing Blind” for the very first time.
Carrie Underwood left the audience speechless with her tribute to those who have passed in the Country music community, as well as the shooting victims of the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, with a tear-jerking performance of the Christian hymn, “Softly And Tenderly.”
Brad Paisley performed “Heaven South.”
Jon Pardi hit the stage to perform “Dirt On My Boots.”
Keith Urban performed his new record, “Female.”
Eric Church returned to the stage with a full band and backup singers to perform his ’15 record, “Chattanooga Lucy.”
Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Alan Jackson performed “Chasin' That Neon Rainbow.” Jackson closed out the show with “Don’t Rock The Jukebox.”
In clip one, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood make fun of President Donald Trump.
["Right now he's probably in his pjs watching cable news reaching for his cell phone . Really? Really he's probably asking Siri how in the hell to you spell Pocahontas. Here we go. In the middle of the night from the privacy of a god plated white house toilet seat he writes NFL and kofi Fefy. And it's fun to watch until little rocket man starts a nuclear war and maybe next time he's think before he tweets."] SOUNDCUE (1:00 OC: . . .think before he tweets.)
In clip two, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood opening monologue on new CMA hosting rules.
["Way down under on the scarmucci. No, can't. And… she's gone gone gone she wrote a memory, Hillary's back . No Not only stand by your manfore? Definitely not. What are we going to do then Clearly, we can't say or play anything."] SOUNDCUE (:40 OC: . . .can't say or play anything.)
In clip three, Brad Paisley continues the tribute.
["Look, the way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music loud and proud. Our music lifts people up, and that's what we're here to do tonight. So this year's show is dedicated to all those we've lost and all those who are still healing. We love you and we will never forget you."] SOUNDCUE (:28 OC: . . .never forget you.)
In clip four, Brothers Osbourne accepts Award for Vocal Duo of the Year.
["Yeah, this is incredible, y'all. I want to say, our oldest brother and sister are with us tonight. They are here. We have been asked a lot, and people ask us all the time, what it meant to win a cma award, which iu a hard question to answer and quantify what it means to you. And firstly, we have made a lot more money since winning a cma award. Secondly, after doing that, after having more notoriety, it opened my eyes to what mattered most. And it's what I had all along, my family and friends. I love you so much. Lose Lucy, I love you and miss you. Our family is over there. I love all of you."] SOUNDCUE (:42 OC: . . .love all of you.)
In clip five, Carrie Underwood opens the show paying tribute to the lives lost in recent tragedies.
["Las Vegas, Charlottesville, New York, Southerland springs, historic storms in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida. And the list goes on and on. This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives including so many in our country music family. So tonight we're going to do what families do. Come together, pray together, cry together and sing together too."] SOUNDCUE (:30 OC: . . .sing together too.)
In clip six, Chris Stapleton accepts Award for Album of the Year.
["Thank you so much. Those were so many great records that just got mentioned. I'm always humbled by getting these things. And I want to thank my wife so much. And I want to thank my kids and my kids that are on the way. And thank you, Nashville, and thank you, cmas and thank you, fans. Thank you everybody."] SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . .Thank you everybody.)
In clip seven, Chris Stapleton accepts Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
["Every one of the guys in that category had something to do with me being up here. And always these guys, and Dierks wrote a song with me. All these guys. And to be up here, every one of these guys deserves this thing. And I want to thank my wife, I always do. And I couldn't do anything I do without her. And thank you to the fans. Thank you to all the folks at universal who work so hard. Management. I really am,,, I love you too, honey. Thank you. And I mean that. Thank you, CMAs. Thank you, everybody, for this. It really means a lot. Thank you."] SOUNDCUE (:54 OC: . . .means a lot. Thank you.)
In clip eight, Garth Brooks accepts Award for Entertainer of the Year.
["To all of us, Miranda said it best, little big town said it best. We're a family. You guys down here in the front row, we can agree about one thing. Let's all raise a toast to everybody on the road, to the most important people on the road. That is the band and crew that take us on the road. Right there, those guys. And I was talking to Kelsey backstage about how we get to do this for a living. The most important thing other than god himself are you, the people who allow us to be in the greatest music ever. Country music, man. I love you guys, we're a family. Miss Yearwood, I am yours forever."] SOUNDCUE (:45 OC: . . .am yours forever.)
In clip nine, Jon Pardi accepts Award for New Artist of the Year.
["Wow. Thank you. All my friends… I mean, out here, all nominees, you guys are awesome. And stu to my managers and capital records. Kyle from cia. And all my friends and family back home who watched me play in backyards and dive bars and fairs. When I was still in high school and everything. So, thank you, everybody. And here's to a great night of country music. Thank you."] SOUNDCUE (:36 OC: . . .music. Thank you.)
In clip ten, Keith Urban accepts Award for Single of the Year.
["Thank you so much. Oh, my gosh. Thank you. I'm running out of time rapidly. I want to saying to to Hillary Lindsey, Clint and to Nicole, I will face time you in a second. And I want to thank Chris Alge and Dann huff. Thank you, Keith urban. Thank you, mom! We love you. Dann huff, come on. Just say this wasn't a pleasure to be an under statement of the year, to work with this guy is a dream come true. Thank you, Keith."] SOUNDCUE (:44 OC: . . .Thank you, Keith.)
In clip eleven, Little Big Town accepts Award for Song of the Year.
["Hey, we didn't write this. We're really grateful that Philip checked his e-mail one night and that song was in his e-mail. He doesn't always check his e-mail. We want to say thanks to Taylor swift. She couldn't be here tonight with us. But Taylor, wherever you are, thank you for this beautiful song and for loving songs and loving Nashville. To the fans, to country radio, thanks for being so good to us. And Jay Joyce.
Love you. Love you, love you."] SOUNDCUE (:40 OC: . . .Love you, love you.)
In clip twelve, Little Big Town accepts Award for Vocal Group of the Year.
["Thank you so much. We are so grateful to be a part of this amazing genre of country music and the talent we see in this group, in this category alone, just humbles us so much. We love making music. We love seeing your faces. And tonight should be about harmony. It should be about what we can do together to change things. Kindness is an attractive quality. We actually could change the way things are going. We just have to step out and bemusic. We're together. We can change things because of harmony. We take care of each other. I love you guys. I love country music with all my heart. Thank you, fans. We love you all. Thank you so much, dear Jesus in heaven. For the opportunity to make music. Maya Angelou people will forget what you said what you did. But they will never forget how they made you feel. And let's spread the love. That is why we were put on this Earth."] SOUNDCUE (1:21 OC: . . .put on this Earth.)
In clip thirteen, Miranda Lambert accepts Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
["Thank y'all so much. Carrie, you just destroyed me. And I just want to say that more than any other year I have ever been a part of the cmas, I feel truly like there's a family in the room tonight. I feel like we are bonded together and banded together more than we have ever been. And I feel like country music is winning right now. So thank you, cmas, and thank you, fans. And thanks everyone in this room. I love all of you so much. Thank you."] SOUNDCUE (:30 OC: . . .much. Thank you.)
Jon Pardi on the payoff of chasing dreams: [Yeah, I mean chase your dreams you never know where it's gonna go until you go and you're never gonna know if you don't go (laughs). I always said that and when I drove here from California I said, "man it's gonna be a crapy ride back you know that was a long ways. But, perseverance and believing in myself and constantly surrounding myself with people I believe in, you know just sticking with it. And I said this is the year that my family doesn't have to stop the recording to find me in the audience."] SOUNDCUE (:27 OC: . . . in the audience.)
Brothers Osborne's John Osborne on second consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year win: ["We appreciate this so much, you know? I mean, these are very iconic awards, you know, and so to be able to look at them and think of all the hard work that went into it and not only that but the support that we've gotten from the community and . . . We're the luckiest people in the world and if you look at that ballot and see the names on there we are totally the luckiest dudes on the planet cause I don't know how this keeps happening (laughter)."] SOUNDCUE (:24 OC: . . . this keeps happening (laughter).)
LBT picked up their sixth consecutive win for Vocal Group of the Year, tying with the Statler Brothers and Rascal Flatts: [(Karen) "I mean what an honor, gosh. (Jimi) That's unbelievable. (Karen) This category. (Jimi) I can't even believe that. (Phillip) I was looking out at Randy Owen from Alabama and I was thinking of all the groups that have come before us and for us to be standing up there we truly are humbled by it. It's just amazing to be in that category because there's so much talent in that category. We're just very thankful. (Karen) We love Lady A and Old Dominion and Zac Brown. It's just a great category."] SOUNDCUE (:32 OC: . . . a great category.)
Chris Stapleton on success over past year: ["It's an unimaginable fairytale thing really and we're so proud just to get to make music and go out and play for people and make records. That's the dream and then when you have all these other things that people are nice enough to give you that makes the dream an even larger dream."] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC: . . . even larger dream.)
Garth Brooks: ["Let me tell you who fought the good fight tonight in my opinion — Miranda Lambert. She's one of few females that we play so you'd think she'd want to play it safe. She came out and she stuck country music in all of our faces, traditional country music, so she's fighting the good fight."] SOUNDCUE (:16 OC: . . . the good fight.)