BY ARIANA COLASUONNO
The 51st Annual Country Music Association Awards, also known as the CMA Awards, aired on the ABC Network on Wednesday, Nov. 8.
The event took place at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. and was hosted by country music stars, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, who have hosted the ceremony for ten consecutive years.
The ceremony included 12 award categories and featured 28 different performers.
The star-studded night started with Eric Church singing “Amazing Grace” a capella and was followed by Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum singing Hootie & the Blowfish’s single, “Hold My Hand.”
Toward the end of the song, the performers were joined by Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill to finish the song together.
Throughout the ceremony, many different country and pop stars performed: Rhett; a tribute to Troy Gentry by Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts and Eddie Montgomery; Ballerini and McEntire; Bryan; Miranda Lambert; Brooks; Brothers Osborne; McGraw and Hill; P!nk; Old Dominion; Little Big Town and Jimmy Webb; Chris Stapleton; Maren Morris and Niall Horan; an “In Memoriam” tribute by Underwood; Paisley and Kane Brown; Jon Pardi; Dan + Shay and Lauren Alaina; Urban; Church, Joanna Cotten and The McCrary Sisters; and Alan Jackson.
After the opening performance, Underwood and Paisley gave a speech of love in honor of the victims and families affected by the recent mass shootings and hurricane devastations.
“This has been a year marked by tragedy,” said Underwood. “Tonight we’re going to do what families do: come together, pray together, cry together and sing together, too,”
The first award of the night was awarded to Brooks for “Entertainer of the Year;” beating Bryan, Church, Stapleton and Urban.
“Single of the Year” was then awarded to Urban for his song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
“I was happy that Keith Urban won ‘Single of the Year,’” said sophomore Gregory Blohm. “‘Blue Ain’t Your Color’ is an overall likeable song.”
The next award on the table was “Album of the Year.” Stapleton took home the award for his album, “From A Room: Volume 1.”
“Song of the Year” was then awarded to Taylor Swift for Little Big Town’s song, “Better Man.” This award came as a shock to some because not many people knew she wrote it for the country music group.
“The most shocking part was when ‘Song of the Year’ went to Taylor Swift for ‘Better Man,’” said junior Helena Kizildag. “I don’t think many people realized she wrote this amazing song, because most people don’t associate her with country music anymore.”
The next two awards were “Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year.” The female category was awarded to Lambert, who received the most CMA nominations this year, and the male category was awarded to Stapleton.
Little Big Town then won “Vocal Group of the Year;” beating Lady Antebellum, Old Dominion, Rascal Flatts and Zac Brown Band.
“Tonight should be about harmony,” said Little Big Town bandmate, Karen Fairchild. “About what we can do together to change things.”
“Vocal Duo of the Year” was awarded to Brothers Osborne and “Musical Event of the Year” was awarded to Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson for their duet of “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
Next, “Musician of the Year” was awarded to Mac McAnally for his guitar skills and was followed by the second-to-last award of the night, “Music Video of the Year.” Brothers Osborne received the award for the music video of their song, “It Ain’t My Fault;” directed by Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver.
The final award of the night went home to Pardi for “New Artist of the Year;” beating Brett Young, Old Dominion, Laura Alaina and Luke Combs.
According to the Country Music Association’s website, the nominees and winners are determined by more than 6,300 industry professional CMA members, and the CMA Awards are the longest running, annual music awards program on network television.
“The CMA’s are different from other award shows in a good way,” said Kizildag. “The artists in country music bring a different vibe, which makes the show more relatable to watch; and country music makes the show more unique.”