CMA Awards: 11 moments, from Loretta Lynn’s tribute to Luke Combs’ win

CMA Awards: 11 moments, from Loretta Lynn’s tribute to Luke Combs’ win


NASHVILLE — Country music superstar Luke Combs has broken many records over his own an astonishingly rapid ascent in Nashville, but he proved this summer that he can sell out stadiums — and the voters rewarded him accordingly. For the second year in a row, Combs won Entertainer of the Year at Wednesday night’s Country Music Association Awards on ABC, the most prestigious award at the genre’s biggest awards show.

“I never know what to say,” said Combs, who also took home the album of the year trophy for his latest record, “Growin’ Up.” “I want to thank country music for making my dreams come true. … There’s no one in this category who doesn’t deserve to be standing here.”

Luke Combs won Entertainer of the Year and Lainey Wilson took home the New Artist of the Year trophy at the Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 9. (Video: Courtesy of CMA/ABC)

Combs triumphed over Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Morgan Wallen — sparing the industry headlines as Wallen, known to mainstream audiences as the singer caught on TMZ video saying the n-word in February 2021, was honored again on his redemption tour.

Any other potential controversies are also avoided; not a word was said about it a recent, widely covered incident on social media involving Jason Aldean and Maren Morris, after Aldean’s wife, influencer Brittany, posted a video on Instagram that Morris criticized as transphobic. Although Morris said earlier she could skip the show, everyone was present. (Both Aldean and Morris were nominated for one award and did not win in their respective categories.)

And even though co-host Luke Bryan was let go defense statement last week after he drew criticism for inviting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) onstage at a concert, no one touched on politics or current events — except Bryan and his co-host, Peyton Manning, joking that if Bryan ran for president Slogan could be “The candidate who will never declare a high five, but will drink a high five.”

Rookies Cody Johnson and Lainey Wilson tied Combs with two wins; Johnson triumphed with his incredibly catchy hit “’Til You Can’t” in the singles and music video categories, while Wilson won new artist and female vocalist. Old Dominion and Brothers Osborne continued their march as industry darlings as a group and a duo, with Jordan Davis’ recent hit “Buy Dirt” (featuring his labelmate Bryan) winning Song of the Year.

The full list of winners and nominees is below – here are some of the highlights from the night.

Tribute to Loretta Lynn

The death of 90-year-old Loretta Lynn last month shook many members of country music, because they mourned the revolutionary legend who broke down the doors of countless women. The show opened with footage of Lynn accepting CMA’s Entertainer of the Year in 1972, the first time a woman had won the award, followed by tributes from Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Reba McEntire.

The trio sang a sparkling medley of some of Lynn’s biggest hits, including “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” by Underwood, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” by Lambert , “You’re Looking at Country” by McEntire and, of course, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” sung by all three. While it would be fitting for a woman to finally win Entertainer of the Year for the first time since Taylor Swift won the trophy in 2011, alas, Underwood and Lambert went home empty-handed.

Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina and ’90s country

It was the moment ’90s country obsessives have been waiting for: The crowd started screaming as Jo Dee Messina joined Cole Swindell onstage for a rousing version of Swindell’s “She Had Me At Heads Carolina,” a reimagining of Messina’s 1996 smash. , “Heads Carolina, Tails California.”

It’s hard to overstate how huge this hit was for Swindell, who has had few big singles in his career, but saw this song explode over the summer and fall, sitting at No. 1 on the radio charts for five weeks — as Nashville knows , 90s nostalgia is real and overwhelming. Swindell and Messina finally released a remix of the song together this week, perfectly timed for their CMA performance.

Chris Stapleton and Patty Loveless, back together

Two Kentucky natives performed together at a recent benefit concert in Kentucky for flood relief and wowed the CMA crowd when they rejoined Loveless’ “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” Chris Stapleton’s clear voice — there’s a reason he won Male Vocalist of the Year — always sends country fans into a frenzy, and with the help of stellar vocalist Patty Loveless, the crowd was practically on its feet before the song was over.

There’s nothing country awards show love more than showing how much contemporary stars adore hits from legendary artists, and the camera captured Kelsea Ballerini, Breland, Ashley McBryde, Combs and more singing along to Alan Jackson’s classics during his tribute.

Jackson, winner of this year’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, took the stage for “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” but a host of others performed their own versions of Jackson’s hits, including Underwood (“Remember When”) and Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi and Wilson together for “Chattahoochee,” “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.”

Osborne Brothers and War and Treaty

Brothers Osborne continued their tradition of electrifying awards shows with a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)” — a track on their upcoming country album, Stoned Cold Country — along with The War and Treaty , husband and wife duo Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, whose powerful vocals added to the stunning spectacle. The Trotters moved around the stage while the brothers stayed anchored on guitars, the camera panning to crowd members dancing as if having fun, from boyfriend TJ Osborne to Morgan Stapleton.

Hardy and Wilson’s Ballad of Murder

Country music awards shows these days are known more for glitz than chilling murder ballads, but Hardy and Wilson were determined to change that during a stunning performance of a song that makes you say, “Wait, did he just say what I think he said?” said? ” In this case, yes, Hardy is singing from the perspective of a man who kills Wilson’s abuser and then goes to prison. And to make sure no one missed the point, Hardy — standing in front of the truck — ran a finger across his throat after singing a line about prison: “It ain’t heaven, it’s true / But it’s a hell of a lot better than the place I’ve been I sent it myself.”

“I want people who have been abused to hear the song,” Wilson he told the Associated Press. “I want them to feel like they’re not alone. But I want bullies to hear it. I want them to be haunted.”

Kelsea Ballerina’s drinking anthem with a twist

Dancers has spent reviews throughout her career she says it’s “too pop,” but her latest album has some of the year’s most classic country songs—including the upbeat anthem “You’re Drunk, Go Home,” her collaborations with Carly Pearce and Kelly “always seem like they’re on on the brink of transitioning to country music” Clarkson. All three singers scornfully informed the drunken man in the song that they were no interested in his lines, and as they spoke the lines, for some reason, a short shower of fire rained down behind them.

Thomas Rhett and Katy Perry’s surprise chemistry

The duet between Thomas Rhett and pop star Katy Perry—dressed in a fringed dress and cowboy hat for ultimate country authenticity—seems like it shouldn’t work… at all. And more? Both were on their A-game for the collaboration on the tongue-in-cheek “Where We Began,” about a couple’s younger days. Rhett has admitted he was very doubtful that Perry would ever agree to be on the song, and Perry did admitted she had no idea who he was and had to ask Brian, her fellow “American Idol” judge. But this time, their vocals sounded even stronger than when they sang the song together in the “Idol” finale in the spring.

Once again, the CMAs continue to struggle to find a host combination that can match the presence of Brad Paisley and Underwood, who have honed their comedic skills over a decade-plus of hosting the show. Bryan was a solo host last year, and this time he’s joined by former NFL superstar Manning, who not only hangs out with country stars thanks to his days at the University of Tennessee, but also hosts his own show with his brother Eli on ESPN, in owned by ABC’s parent company, Disney.

The monologue jokes mostly consisted of the two making fun of each other (Bryan: “I was walking around Nashville trying to find a cowboy hat to fit your head”; Manning: “I thought you really needed a co-host”). But for those who like to pull Eli, there were plenty of digs throughout the night: Manning said he keeps telling Bryan he’s like a brother to him, but he “doesn’t realize it’s not a compliment” and later asked the Osborne brothers if they, like and he, they only work together because mom makes them.

Naomi Judd’s lack of recognition

There have been so many country legends who have died in the past year that it would be difficult to fit in all the tributes, but the lack of attention paid to the iconic Naomi Judd, who died in August, it was puzzling. The Osborne brothers took it upon themselves when Wynonna, Naomi’s daughter and duo partner, arrived to announce duo of the year. The brothers insisted that she stay with them on stage during their speech. “We have learned so much from you and your family,” said TJ Osborne.

Jeff Cook, co-founder of the band Alabama who died this week, received praise from Bryan, and Old Dominion briefly elaborated on Alabama’s impact during their sweep of the year. “There’s nothing like being in a band,” said lead singer Matthew Ramsey. “I can’t imagine losing one of you guys.”

Again, an uneven balance of television winners

Village industry has publicly fought with correcting the gender imbalance, and, once again, it took nearly two hours into the three-hour show before the singer gave her acceptance speech. Eight of the 11 awards went to male acts — Wilson won Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year, while Pearce and McBryde won Music Event (for their duet “I never wanted to be that girl”) has previously been honored off-camera.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Chris Stapleton — winner

Female Vocalist of the Year

“Growin’ Up” by Luke Combs — winner

“Humble Quest” by Maren Morris

“Palomino” by Miranda Lambert

“I speak my mind” Lainey Wilson

“Time, Tequila and Therapy” Old Dominion

“Buy Dirt” Jordan Davis feat. Luke Bryan

“I Never Wanted to Be That Girl” by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde

“You Should Go” Chris Stapleton

“Half of My Hometown” Kelsea Ballerini feat. Kenny Chesney

“Til You Can’t” Cody Johnson — winner

“Buy Dirt” Jordan Davis feat. Luke Bryan (Written by Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins) — Winner

“I Never Wanted to Be That Girl” by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde (Written by Pearce, McBryde, Shane McAnally)

“You Should Probably Leave” Chris Stapleton (Written by Stapleton, Chris DuBois, Ashley Gorley)

Sand in My Boots by Morgan Wallen (Written by Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Josh Osborne)

“Things A Man Should Know” (Written by Lainey Wilson, Jason Nix, Jonathan Singleton)

Brothers Osborne — Winner

Music event of the year

“Longneck Way to Go” Midland feat. Jon Pardy

“Never Say Never” by Cole Swindell with Lainey Wilson

“I never wanted to be that girl” Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde — the winners

“Beers On Me” by Dierks Bentley with Breland and Michael Hardy

“If I Didn’t Love You” by Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood

“Longneck Way to Go” Midland feat. Jon Pardy

“Never Say Never” by Cole Swindell with Lainey Wilson

“I Never Wanted to Be That Girl” by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde

“I Bet You Think About Me” Taylor Swift feat. Chris Stapleton

Til You Can’t” Cody Johnson — winner

#CMA #Awards #moments #Loretta #Lynns #tribute #Luke #Combs #win

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