Tribute to Las Vegas victims marks CMA Awards as Brooks wins top award

51st Country Music Association Awards – Photo Room - Nashville
Chris Stapleton accompanied by his wife Morgane Stapleton holds his awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

November 9, 2017

(Reuters) – The Country Music Association’s (CMA) annual awards on Wednesday blended somber reflections on recent tragic events including the Las Vegas mass shooting, with show-stopping performances by top music stars and even a dose of political humor.

Eric Church opened the live three-hour broadcast from Nashville, which aired on ABC, with an a cappella rendition of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Church was joined by Keith Urban and Darius Rucker, who led a roster of A-list country music stars including Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Reba McEntire and Luke Bryan in a stirring group performance of “Hold My Hand.”

Veteran hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood took the reins, with Underwood declaring, “This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family.”

Underwood referenced mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, fatal car attacks in New York and Charlottesville, Virginia, and deadly storms that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“Tonight,” she proclaimed, “we’re going to do what families do, come together, pray together, cry together and sing together, too.”

Paisley then dedicated the 51st CMA Awards “to all those we’ve lost, and to all of those who are still healing. We love you, and we will never forget you.”

Two hours into the show, the CMAs acted on that vow, ending a segment memorializing country stars who died this year by showing pictures and names of the 58 people killed by a gunman in Las Vegas at a country music festival on Oct. 1.

Earlier the hosts lightened things up with banter about the CMA’s edicts on avoiding controversial subjects, before launching into jokes about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

President Trump was not immune, lampooned for his cable news watching and Twitter habits and his personal style as Paisley sang “Before He Tweets,” a take-off on Underwood’s hit “Before He Cheats.”

He sang about Trump tweeting “from a gold-plated White House toilet seat.”

“It’s fun to watch it that’s for sure, ’til little Rocket Man starts a nuclear war. Maybe next time he’ll think before he tweets,” which drew cheers and applause, but fans’ reaction on social media was divided.

Country music legend Garth Brooks was among the big winners, taking home the top award of Entertainer of the Year for a second straight year.

“We’re a family,” Brooks said, echoing a sentiment repeated often throughout the ceremony.

Female Vocalist of the Year went to Miranda Lambert while Chris Stapleton was again named Male Vocalist of the Year.

Other honorees included Single of the Year, won by Urban for “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and Taylor Swift’s “Better Man,” which won Song of the Year.

Jon Pardi won for New Artist, while Stapleton won Album of the Year for “From a Room: Volume 1.”

Little Big Town took Vocal Group of the Year and Brothers Osborne were named Vocal Duo of the Year, both for a second consecutive year.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

  • Mark Heinzen

    Many errors in the award category. Especially Lauren Alaina being overlooked. Garth Brooks? Entertainer of the year? I don’t think so. Well at least Carrie Underwood saved the day as always.

  • Roy Beane

    Nothing like milking a national tragedy for all the mileage and sick publicity they can get out of it. What a sick and twisted bunch of obscenely rich and vastly overrated spoiled brats.

  • intimeforthedime

    Is it just me or did the entire thing look “very” fabricated?

  • Brad

    Just a few more entertainers I get to scratch off my list to listen to, and of course I’ll boycott CMA like I Boycott NFL, SNL and the lefty snowflake shows.

    • Section Ate

      So, then, @Brad, now CMA show is “lefty snowflake shows.” Stop whining, will you?

  • Shirley

    America has lost it’s sense of humor…..Upfront: I love President Trump, I voted for him in 2016 and will vote for him in 2020!!! I just thought it was funny getting digs at everyone…..didn’t see it as political…..we know President Trump likes gold things….and he likes to tweet…I didn’t see anything wrong the skit..lighten up! Are we all going to turn into liberals who find no joy in living?

  • Liberius Lucanus

    We were in in such a hurry to throw someone out of our nation why don’t we invite him back in to help us turn it around?

  • steven john

    As usual a truly wonderful show. A little political humor never hurts. Carrie Underwood slayed it during her tribute to those lost. She lost it emotionally at the very end and I lost it way before then! One of the last truly American shows on TV, I can’t wait for the CMA Christmas special on the 28th.

  • Wheel of misfortune

    Yep. Jump on that anti -president bandwagon ya’ll. You had no material to work with while B.O. was president. No witty songs? No funny poems? This article doesn’t do the CMA “awards show” justice. What garbage.

  • Mia Mia

    Once again, politics enters our entertainment. So glad I didn’t watch it.