Carrie Underwood book-ended the CMT Music Awards on Wednesday night, capturing the first and last trophies of the evening.
Underwood accepted female video of the year for her “Love Wins” and the night’s top honor of video of the year for “Cry Pretty.” The wins and performances in the middle were sprinkled with fireworks, legends, superstars — and a stray expletive courtesy of Zac Brown.
If you didn’t tune in to the show, here are seven moments you missed:
And the winners are …
- Duo video of the year – Dan + Shay, “Speechless”
- Collaborative video of the year – Keith Urban and Julia Michaels, “Coming Home”
- Female video of the year – Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins”
- Breakthrough video of the year – Ashley McBryde, “Girl Going Nowhere”
- Group video of the year – Zac Brown Band, “Someone I Used to Know”
- CMT performance of the year – Luke Combs and Leon Bridges, “Beautiful Crazy” from “CMT Crossroads”
- Male video of the year – Kane Brown, “Lose It”
- Video of the year – Carrie Underwood, “Cry Pretty”
Carrie Underwood remains most awarded artist in CMT Music Awards history
With her wins for female video and video of the year, Underwood has extended her lead as the winner of the most awards in the show’s history.
According to the Associated Press, “Love Wins” and “Cry Pretty” earned Underwood her 19th and 20th wins.
“Ultimately they are the reason we do what we do, the fans,” Underwood said after the show. “They put me here in the first place. When I was on ‘Idol,’ they voted then to get me here and they’re still voting. It means a lot. I come from such a special platform that I’ve always kind of felt like an elected official, a little bit. I always want to do right by them.”
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Underwood took the stage at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night, lauding the first award of the night — female video — as a birthday gift for her husband, former Nashville Predator Mike Fisher.
After giving a free performance of “Southbound” from the steps of the Parthenon, Underwood took the stage in Centennial Park once again to accept the last award of the night, claiming the video of the year for “Cry Pretty.”
Tanya Tucker revives ‘Delta Dawn’ with Brandi Carlile, Trisha Yearwood
Legendary and leading women in country music teamed for a performance of beloved Tucker song “Delta Dawn.”
Brandi Carlile, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Carly Pearce, Deana Carter and Rae Lynn joined Tucker for a rousing performance of her 1972 breakout hit.
The appearance by Tucker coincides with Wednesday’s release of her new single, “The Wheels of Laredo.” The track comes off an upcoming album, “While I’m Livin’,” produced by Carlile and Shooter Jennings — Tucker’s first record in 17 years.
On producing the album and singing “Delta Dawn” with Tucker, Carlile told the Nashville Tennessean: “I think we take our legends in music for granted and wait, basically, until they’re too old to tell them (how much) we appreciate them.”
Asked on the red carpet about how the project came to be, Tucker said, “Well, that’s a big long answer.
“What’s the short story? We had fun. A lot of fun.”
CMT Music Awards 2019: Complete list of winners and nominees
Dan + Shay score repeat — and fireworks
Dan + Shay picked up their first industry award at the CMT Music Awards in 2018 with “Tequila,” and Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney continued the trend Wednesday when they won duo video of the year again, this time with “Speechless.”
“It’s crazy to look back on the last year,” Mooney said. “A lot of things have happened in the last year and it’s just amazing. This being a fan-voted award makes it that much more special. We’ve been on the road and we’ve seen their faces and we’ve heard their stories and that just makes it that much more incredible.”
Following their win, Dan + Shay performed their current single, “All to Myself,” during the awards. With a stage set up in the shape of a plus sign and their performance punctuated by fireworks, the moment was one of the most explosive of the night. Beforehand, the men were a bit nervous because they weren’t able to practice with the fireworks during rehearsal.
“It’s always crazy when you do something like that,” Smyers said. “Actually, when we did rehearsal there was someone emulating with their hands.”
The duo’s performance also included a helicopter and they joked that next year maybe they would have a rope drop down from the sky and they’d fly away at the end.
“We’ll just lift up and say bye to the fans,” Smyers quipped.
Little Big Town celebrates ‘The Daughters’
Little Big Town brought its tour de force single “The Daughters” center stage.
A stirring ballad that underscores unbalanced expectations put on women, the group sings: “And pose like a trophy on a shelf/ Dream for everyone, but not yourself/ I’ve heard of God the son and God the father/ I’m still looking for a God for the daughters.”
The Grammy Award-winning country quartet released “The Daughters” earlier this year, debuting the song live at the ACM Awards in April.
Little Big Town member Karen Fairchild co-wrote the track with Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray. As highlighted in an in-depth Tennessean story last week, “The Daughters” brings lyrical attention to religion — one of a number of country songs to do so this year.
“I believe that God’s love is for everyone, and I don’t think He has an equality problem,” Fairchild told the Tennessean. “So much of our lives are still framed in a masculine way for men, and this was just saying, ‘Where’s the God for the daughters and why are we still fighting these battles?’ “
Cheers to Ashley McBryde
McBryde was so shocked when she won her trophy for breakthrough video of the year for “A Girl Going Nowhere,” she didn’t know which way to walk and politely swiped Luke Combs’ blue Solo cup on the way to the stage.
“I ran up and took his drink,” McBryde said. “I didn’t have one. It helps me to have something in my hands. When I said, ‘Can I have your drink?’ he said, ‘Yeah of course.’”
The Arkansas native admitted that not only did she take a sip, she accidentally spilled it on her clothes. Thankfully, she said, Hunter Hayes immediately reassured her.
Gratitude was McBryde’s theme of the night.
“That’s full circle for that song,” she explained of “A Girl Going Nowhere.” “It didn’t get a lot of attention on radio, but the fans voted on this and that’s really important to us, especially for ‘A Girl Going Nowhere.’”
McBryde was inspired to write her autobiographical ballad by a high school algebra teacher who told her she couldn’t and shouldn’t follow her dreams to be a singer/songwriter in Nashville.
“Here I am at the CMT Awards and I just won an award that I wrote in spite of that bitter old bat,” she said. “I hope her TV was on. She’s a gem. She’s still inspiring people, still. She lit a fire under me. She was the first ‘no’ I ever received.”
Zac Brown Band wins, drops F-bomb
Brown of the Zac Brown Band let loose a dramatic expletive after winning the group video of the year award for “Someone I Used To Know.”
Brown, the lead singer of the group, took the stage with the rest of the band and reflected on how long it took the musicians to make it in their careers. Brown finished his speech with a surprise message to all those who doubted him, saying, at a certain point, you have to “tell all the haters to (expletive) off.”