Country Music Lets Its Hair Down At 45th Annual CMA Awards

Videos by American Songwriter

Last night’s CMA Awards show was an entertaining affair, from Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s opening, jokey monologue to Taylor Swift’s show-closing Entertainer of the Year win — her second. Highlights included a stirring tribute to Glen Campbell, who recently announced his retirement due to the onset of Alzheimer’s — deftly handled by Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Vince Gill — and Martina McBride’s powerful performance of “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”

The evening’s surprise guest was Lionel Richie, who dueted with both Darius Rucker and Gary Levox of Rascal Flatts (Richie has a country album due soon). Grand Ole Opry mainstay Little Jimmy Dickens, now 90, took the stage dressed as Justin Bieber. And actor Eric Stonestreet, who portrays a gay father on Modern Family, showed up to harmonize with Paisley and Underwood, showing just how progressive a Country Music Awards show could be.

The big winners were sibling act The Band Perry, who won in the top Song, Single, and New Artist categories.

The Band Perry: Playin’ In The Band – Read The American Songwriter Feature Story

Here’s the full list of winners:

Entertainer of the Year: Taylor Swift

Single: “If I Die Young,” The Band Perry

Album: “My Kinda Party,” Jason Aldean

Song: “If I Die Young,” Kimberly Perry

Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist: Blake Shelton

Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum

Vocal Duo: Sugarland

Musical Event: “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson

Musician: Mac McAnally

Music Video: “You and Tequila,” Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter directed by Shaun Silva

New Artist: The Band Perry

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