Last night’s “51st Annual CMA Awards” did as promised and paid tribute to those affected by the recent tragedies. They opened with ERIC CHURCH singing an a cappella verse of “Amazing Grace”.
He was followed by DARIUS RUCKER and KEITH URBAN doing the Hootie and the Blowfish classic “Hold My Hand”. Joining them was an all-star cast that included pretty much every country star in the building.
That set the stage for BRAD PAISLEY and CARRIE UNDERWOOD to rip on the CMAs for their weak attempt to censor the media. They did just the opposite and crammed a year’s worth of political jokes into their monologue that finished with a President Trumpparody called “Before He Tweets“.
TAYLOR SWIFT wasn’t there but she won Song of the Year for writing LITTLE BIG TOWN’s “Better Man”. She was surprised.
Speaking of surprised. Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” was the Single of the Year, which was kind of a shocker when you consider SAM HUNT’s record-breaking run with “Body Like A Back Road”.
BROTHERS OSBORNE had a good night. They won Vocal Duo of the Year, and Music Video of the Year for “It Ain’t My Fault”. They also performed “It Ain’t My Fault”, and mashed it up with “Tulsa Time” as a tribute to the late Don Williams.
JON PARDI won New Artist of the Year and kissed a hot blonde sitting next to him, which is good.
MIRANDA LAMBERT brought country back, and brought the crowd to their feet with her twangy, throwback-sounding “To Learn Her”. She also won her seventh Female Vocalist of the Year award.
Other highlights included Little Big Town honoring Glen Campbell with a stripped-down version of “Wichita Lineman”. It featured Jimmy Webb on piano. He wrote that song plus several of Glen’s other hits.
The kids screamed when former New Direction member NIALL HORAN and MAREN MORRIS took the stage together. They opened with a little of her hit “I Could Use A Love Song” and finished with their duet of his song, “Seeing Blind”.
PINK was there to sing her new song “Barbies” . . . and “Billboard“ rated it the second best performance of the night.
Carrie Underwood did an amazing version of “Softly and Tenderly” for the In Memoriam segment. It ended with photos and clips of the Route 91 victims and she was in tears by then.
And then Garth kind of brought it home during his Entertainer of the Year acceptance speech by echoing Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town who said that despite everything, “we’re all family.”
Here’s your complete list of winners . . .
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Male Vocalist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Vocal Duo of the Year: Brothers Osborne
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
New Artist of the Year: Jon Pardi
Album of the Year: “From A Room: Volume 1”, Chris Stapleton
Song of the Year: “Better Man”, Little Big Town. It’s a songwriter’s award so they share it with Taylor Swift.
Single of the Year: “Blue Ain’t Your Color”, Keith Urban
Musical Event of the Year: “Funny How Time Slips Away”, Willie Nelson and Glen Campbell
Music Video of the Year: “It Ain’t My Fault”, Brothers Osborne