Taylor Swift returned to the CMA Awards to present the Entertainer of the Year Award to Garth Brooks.
Stapleton repeats as Male Vocalist of the Year
Chris Stapleton won Male Vocalist of the Year for the second consecutive time. "These are the best people in the world, country music people," Stapleton said, before thanking everyone from his wife to his band to his in-laws.
Carrie Underwood named Female Vocalist of the Year
Carrie Underwood took home her fourth Female Vocalist of the Year Award. After tearfully thanking her husband and son and a handful of others, a flabbergasted Underwood admitted, "I've just become suddenly stupid...I just love you all. God bless you guys; thank you so much."
Kenny Chesney wins Pinnacle Award
Moments after Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks' performance of "Daddy Lessons" (which segued into a snippet of "Long Time Gone," a Darrell Scott song the Chicks recorded in 2002), Peyton Manning presented Kenny Chesney with the CMA Pinnacle Award for all he has done and "all he will continue to do" for country music. This is only the third time this award has been presented at the CMA Awards; the two previous recipients were Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.
"When I think about what this means to me...it means connections with a lot of people," Chesney said. He also expressed his appreciation for his devoted fan group No Shoes Nation, telling them, "Thanks for giving me an amazing life."
Little Big Town wins fifth Vocal Group of the Year Award
Little Big Town won the Vocal Group of the Year Award for the fifth consecutive year. The quartet's acceptance speech included shout outs to the stars they watched on the CMA Awards while growing up, including Barbara Mandrell.
Brothers Osborne celebrate 'unreal' Vocal Duo win
The Vocal Duo of the Year Award went to Brothers Osborne. They hadn't prepared a speech (they'd been expecting to congratulate Florida Georgia Line on their win), "I feel so grateful to be here tonight; this is unreal," said a gobsmacked T.J. Osborne, while next to him, John Osborne could barely contain his glee..
"Mr. Misunderstood" named Album of the Year
Eric Church's "Mr. Misunderstood" won Album of the Year. "I'm not sure what's better: winning the award or Faith Hill fixing my tie," he deadpanned. "It's because of the fans that this happened," he added.
Garth and Trisha pay tribute to country classics
Trisha Yearwood and Entertainer of the Year nominee Garth Brooks teamed up for the awards show's second medley of country classics. The married megastars performed snippets of the playful Johnny Cash and June Carter duet "Jackson," Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty's "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," George Jones and Tammy Wynette's "Golden Ring." In between the duets, Brooks sang Roger Miller's "Chug-a-Lug" and Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes" and Yearwood delivered strong versions of Lynn Anderson's hit "Rose Garden" and Crystal Gale's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue."
Maren Morris named New Artist of the Year
Shortly after she performed her song "My Church" with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the McCrary Sisters, Maren Morris was named New Artist of the Year. "I never thought as a songwriter I'd be standing here today," Morris said while fighting back tears during her acceptance speech.
Lori McKenna is first female to win Song of the Year' twice in a row
Song of the Year honors went to "Humble and Kind" by Lori McKenna. McKenna, one of the co-writers of "Girl Crush," is the first female songwriter to win this award in two consecutive years. Tim McGraw's recording of "Humble and Kind" topped the charts earlier this year, and it was McGraw's wife, Faith Hill, who helped McKenna get her start as a songwriter in this town by recording several of her songs for her 2005 album "Fireflies."
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