The 50th Annual Country Music Awards

Garth Brooks accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Charles Sykes/AP.
Garth Brooks accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Charles Sykes/AP.

By Julianna Mauriello

Arts & Entertainment Editor

On Nov. 2, Country Music stars from around the nation gathered in Nashville, Tenn. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Country Music Awards (CMA).

The ceremony opened with a montage of big name artists in the country music industry winning awards and giving speeches at the CMAs throughout the 50 years of its existence.

Co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley made it clear during their opening remarks that this anniversary ceremony would be dedicated to celebrating today’s top artists and a half a century of country music.

Throughout the award ceremony, hosts Underwood and Paisley both performed several costume changes in order to be dressed in clothes from each decade over the last 50 years of country music.

Not only was the audience packed with country music stars, but it was filled with other big name celebrities as well. The ceremony’s award announcers ranged from the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team to artists and actors such as Olivia Newton John, Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey.

There were countless performances throughout the night from huge, new and old names in country music. Some of the artists included were “New Artist of the Year” recipient Maren Morris, “Group of the Year” recipient Little Big Town, George Straight, Thomas Rhett, Underwood, Luke Bryan, a collaboration by Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line, Beyoncé and many more.

Throughout the night, many renowned awards were given out to the top artists in the industry and most of the award recipients were not newcomers to the stage.

For his second time winning in the “Album of the Year” category, Eric Church took home the award for “Mr. Misunderstood.”

While both male and female “Vocalist of the Year” awards are a huge honor of the CMAs, both recipients this year were not new to the title. Male vocalist went to Chris Stapleton, making this his second ever win in this category and his second award of the night after receiving one for “Music Video of the Year” for his single “Fire Away.” For her fourth win in the female vocalist category, host Underwood took home the CMA award.

While a lot of the night’s winners were being honored as veterans to their specific categories, these country stars also chose to honor our nation’s veterans in a tribute “God Bless America,” sung by co-hosts Underwood and Paisley.

Two of the music industry’s most prestigious awards were also given out throughout the ceremony in between performances, “The Pinnacle Award” and “The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.”

When the ceremony started, hosts Underwood and Paisley poked fun at audience member and SuperBowl champion, Peyton Manning, for attending in honor of his favorite artist Kenny Chesney.

Manning later honored Chesney by presenting him with one of the most prestigious awards in music, the “Pinnacle Award,” which has only ever been awarded to two other artists, Garth Brooks in 2005 and Taylor Swift in 2013.

“The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award” was granted to Dolly Parton for her being an icon in the world of Country Music. Stars such as Reba, Kacey Musgraves, Pentatonix, Martina McBride and Underwood got together to perform Parton’s hits from her country and Broadway musical careers, finishing off with a collaboration on “I Will Always Love You,” dedicated from these country women to Parton.

One of the final award presenters of the night was country and pop artist, Taylor Swift, who announced the most respected award of the night, “Entertainer of the Year,” to Garth Brooks.

The 50th anniversary Country Music Awards signed off with hosts Underwood and Paisley congratulating all the winners and saying “cheers” to another 50 years.


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