Yesterday night country music took center stage as the CMAs, or Country Music Awards, got underway at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, the cradle of country. Country music’s biggest stars came together at the in the gigantic hall to pat the year’s best performers and recording artists on the back while sitting at the feet of some of the genre’s leading entertainers. And indeed some of the night’s most memorable moments came through the onstage performances. One of those performers happened to be R&B/pop star Beyoncé.
She might be a mainstream pop deity but as a native Texan, the former Destiny Child has her roots deep in country land. Roots she proudly showcased in the song ‘Daddy Lessons’ from her latest album ‘Lemonade’. This folksy ode to fathers she happily shared with the CMA audience, backed by all-girl trio Dixie Chicks. Despite her countless performances at other awards shows, this was the first time Bey had ever performed at the CMAs. It was also the first time the Dixie Chicks were gracing the ceremony in ten years, so the unannounced appearance of the four ladies onstage was truly a historic moment. There was to be no wild twerking, tightly choreographed, forceful dance steps or a few of the other quintessential ingredients of any Beyoncé live set. But she still managed to move the audience with her passionate vocals and warm smile, and glittering, figure-hugging designer robe.
Clearly it was a night to celebrate girl power as one of country music’s longest-serving stalwarts, Dolly Parton, was recognized with a Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. Before she stepped up to receive the prestigious accolade, the 70 year-old singer was serenaded by some of her protégés including Kacey Musgraves who did ‘Here You Come Again’ justice and Jennifer Nettles, who teamed up with Pentatonix for an acapella version of the timeless ‘Jolene’. Commenting on the tribute Dolly, true to her charming self said, “This was so touching. I would have cried but I didn’t want to mess up my eyelashes.”
The other big winner of the night was the returning Garth Brooks, who recently came back from retirement. He beat out Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and Chris Stapleton to clinch the Entertainer of the Year crown for a fifth time. There, in an elegant patterned outfit, to hand him the trophy was Taylor Swift who hadn’t been seen at the awards ceremony for three years. And the country star gave a winning performance, accompanied by his wife Trisha Yearwood.
The full list of winners at this year’s CMAs is below.
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Male Vocalist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Musician of the Year: Dann Huff
Female Vocalist of the Year: Carrie Underwood
Pinnacle Award: Kenny Chesney
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year: Brothers Osbourne
Album of the Year: Eric Church – “Mr. Misunderstood”
New Artist of the Year: Maren Morris
Song of the Year: Lori McKenna -“Humble and Kind”
Single of the Year: Thomas Rhett – “Die a Happy Man”
Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award: Dolly Parton
Music Video of the Year: Chris Stapleton and Tim Mattia – “Fire Away”
Musical Event of the Year: Dierks Bentley and Elle King – “Different for Girls”
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