The 51st Country Music Association Awards was an emotional affair as stars paid tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas festival massacre on Wednesday night (08Nov17).
Co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley got the event at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee off to a somber start as they addressed a handful of tragedies that have marred 2017, including the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in October (17), which cost 58 country fans their lives.
“Las Vegas, Charlottesville, New York, Sutherland Springs, historic storms in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida, and the list goes on and on,” said Underwood. “This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family. So we’re going to do what families do: Come together, pray together, cry together and sing together, too.”
"This show is dedicated to all those we lost," Paisley added.
Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, and Keith Urban then took the stage to pay tribute to the victims of the Vegas shooting. Church began the somber number by singing the hymn Amazing Grace.
Meanwhile, Underwood was overcome with emotion as she performed during the In Memoriam segment of the night, which featured photos of the Route 91 victims.
Another touching moment during the ceremony came when the late Glen Campbell was remembered with a tribute performance of Wichita Lineman by Little Big Town and the song's composer Jimmy Webb. Little Big Town later took to the stage to accept the Song of the Year award for Better Man, thanking the track’s writer, Taylor Swift.
Campbell was also a winner - his Funny How Time Slips Away collaboration with Willie Nelson landed the Musical Event of the Year Award.
And there were yet more emotions tested when Rascal Flatts and Dierks Bentley came together for a rendition of My Town, which was dedicated to Troy Gentry, who lost his life in a helicopter accident in September (17). His Montgomery Gentry bandmate, Eddie Montgomery, joined in for the performance, which left many members of the crowd in tears.
CMA favorite Urban took home Single of the Year for Blue Ain’t Your Color and later debuted his song Female, inspired by the sexual harassment allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Miranda Lambert was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year while Male Vocalist of the Year went to Chris Stapleton. Newcomer Jon Pardi was named New Artist of the Year, and country legend Garth Brooks was honored with the Entertainer of the Year Award for a second successive year.
The full list of winners for the 2017 CMA awards is:
Entertainer of the Year - Garth Brooks
Female Vocalist of the Year - Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist of the Year - Chris Stapleton
New Artist of the Year - Jon Pardi
Single of the Year - Blue Ain't Your Color (Keith Urban, Chris Lord-Alge, & Dann Huff)
Vocal Group of the Year - Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year - Brothers Osborne
Music Video of the Year - It Ain't My Fault by Brothers Osborne
Musical Event of the Year - Funny How Time Slips Away by Glen Campbell & Willie Nelson
Album of the Year - From a Room - Volume 1 by Chris Stapleton
Song of the Year - Better Man by Little Big Town (written by Taylor Swift)
Musician of the Year - Mac McAnally