The CMA Awards began with a special tribute from Eric Church performing “Amazing Grace” then with Darius Rucker joining Church and Keith Urban transitioning to the Hootie and Blowfish song “Hold My Hand.” The group grew with Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Brooks and Dunn. Rucker closed the chorus to a standing ovation.
Everyone’s attention then went to hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley for their monologue. Both wore red in honor of the world’s disaster. “This year has been a year marked with tragedy,” Underwood stated. Paisley retorted, “The best way to honor our fans is to play our music, loud and proud.”
The conversation was quickly changed to the CMA’s controversial media guidelines which blocked interviewers from discussing politics and recent events. Paisley then started to perform a parody song about Trump, changing Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” song to the title “Before He Tweets,” with Underwood stopping him saying, “We can’t do that one.”
The topics then went into a lighter tone by joking about Nashville’s total eclipse, with both adding eclipse glasses singing the Bonnie Tyler tune and changing the lyrics to joke on the Entertainer of the Year nominees, such as Eric Church’s need to wear sunglasses and closed with “Total eclipse of the Garth.” Joining the fun was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill who was famously in the past CMA’s bantered with their likeness in doll figurines by the hosts. The country couple jokingly congratulated them on ’10 years with barbies’.
The first award of the night was given to Keith Urban for the category of Single of the Year with “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
The other touching tribute given was for the late Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry. Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts then Eddie Montgomery joined in on their song “My Town” to a tearful audience which included Gentry’s wife Angie.
Miranda Lambert performed one of her songs from “The Weight of These Wings” album entitled “To Learn Her,” which has a throwback traditional country feel. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill performed their new country single “The Rest of Our Life” from their upcoming album together.
Brothers Osborne performed their song “It Ain’t My Fault” and proved that they deserve the Duo of the Year win which they received shortly after, presented by Sugarland duo, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles, who came together again after years of creating solo music.
TJ of Brothers Osborne said what it meant to them to win a CMA award and he stated, “It really opened my eyes to what mattered most and it was what I had all along and that was my family and my friends.”
Little Big Town accompanied by singer/songwriter Jimmy on Webb performed Glen Campbell’s song “Wichita Lineman” to tribute the late country icon.
Carrie Underwood also gave a striking performance of “Softly and Tenderly” to give a memorial to all those lost in the Entertainment and Country music industry.
Garth Brooks took home the Entertainer of the Year, which marks a total of 6 wins in the category overall.
Full list of winners are down below.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me. See, on the portals, He’s waiting and watching; Watching for you and for me.” Thank you, @CarrieUnderwood, for this moving tribute to the beautiful souls we’ve lost this year, including the 58 victims of the Las Vegas shooting on October 1st. #CMAawards
Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks – Winner
Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert – Winner
Male Vocalist of the Year
Chris Stapleton – Winner
New Artist of the Year
Jon Pardi – Winner
Music Video of the Year
“Better Man,” Little Big Town
“Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Keith Urban
“Craving You,” Thomas Rhett ft. Maren Morris
“Vice,” Miranda Lambert
“It Ain’t My Fault,” Brothers Osborne – Winner
Vocal Duo of the Year
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Brothers Osborne – Winner
Single of the Year (Award goes to the artist, producer(s), and mix engineer(s))
“Better Man” – Little Big Town; Producer(s): Jay Joyce; Mix Engineer(s): Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban; Producer(s): Dann Huff, Keith Urban; Mix Engineer(s): Chris Lord-Alge – Winner
“Body Like A Back Road” – Sam Hunt; Producer(s): Zach Crowell; Mix Engineer(s): Zach Crowell
“Dirt On My Boots” – Jon Pardi; Producer(s): Bart Butler, Jon Pardi; Mix Engineer(s): Ryan Gore
“Tin Man” – Miranda Lambert; Producer(s): Frank Liddell, Eric Masse, Glenn Worf; Mix Engineer(s): Eric Masse
Album of the Year (Award goes to the artist and producer(s))
The Breaker – Little Big Town; Producer(s): Jay Joyce
From A Room: Volume 1 – Chris Stapleton; Producer(s): Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton – Winner
Heart Break-Lady Antebellum; Producer(s): busbee
The Nashville Sound – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit; Producer(s): Dave Cobb
The Weight of These Wings – Miranda Lambert; Producer(s): Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf, Eric Masse
Song of the Year (Award goes to the songwriter(s))
“Better Man” — Songwriter(s): Taylor Swift – Winner
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Songwriter(s): Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Olsen
“Body Like A Back Road” — Songwriter(s): Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
“Dirt On My Boots” — Songwriter(s): Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley
“Tin Man” — Songwriter(s): Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall
Vocal Group of the Year (Award goes to the group)
Little Big Town – Winner
Zac Brown Band
Musical Event of the Year (Award goes to each artist)
Craving You – Thomas Rhett (feat. Maren Morris)
Funny How Time Slips Away – Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson – Winner
Kill A Word – Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens)
Setting the World on Fire – Kenny Chesney (with P!nk)
Speak to a Girl-Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Musician Of The Year (Award goes to the musician)
Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
Dann Huff (Guitar)
Mac McAnally (Guitar) – Winner
Derek Wells (Guitar)