From Miranda Lambert to Little Big Town, this year's telecast was packed with standout moments.
Last night's (June 7) CMT Music Awards were star-studded, joke-packed and exploded with music. From the debut of Kelsea Ballerini's sweeping new single "Legends" (listen here) to the fiery closing number between Lady Antebellum and Earth, Wind & Fire, the evening zipped by at a break-neck pace. Keith Urban leads the pack with most winners, snagging an impressive four buckles--including Video of the Year for "Blue Ain't Your Color" and Social Superstar. Carrie Underwood follows with two trophies, one for her "Church Bells" concert clip and the other for her collaborative effort with Urban on "The Fighter." The awards were just minor compared to the lineup, which featured Little Big Town, Brett Eldredge, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, sultry R&B star Jason Derulo (teaming up with Luke Bryan) and many others.
But there were, really, only a handful of performances which earned water-cooler-level buzz. Check out our picks of five best performances of the night. In no particular order:
"It Ain't My Fault," Brothers Osborne
Taking to the streets right outside the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville, the performance was fed right into the fans' mouths. It was expectedly rowdy, clutching onto the duo's signature rock-soul-country hybrid. This is one of many reasons the pair are blowing down the country doors right now.
"The Fighter," Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood
The studio recording is a straight-up dance record, but Urban's reimagining as a sensitive singer-songwriter track was lovely. Underwood was then given license to show off her pipes, like she often does. Despite the return to the bubbly production in the latter half of the song--tearing away the more organic approach in the first half--the performance was enthralling.
"When Someone Stops Loving You," Little Big Town
You often forget what a powerful voice band member Jimi Westbrook has. But when you let him loose, he rips the roof off. This slow-burning ode to heartbreak is one of many standouts on the four-piece's latest album, The Breaker. It was, perhaps, the night's most gut-wrenching performance.
"Pink Sunglasses," Miranda Lambert
Taking a cut from her 2016 double-album, The Weight of These Wings, Lambert was sexy, flirty and fun. "I'm a firm believer in the power of the plastic," she cooed. She's often known for her brazen, sassy numbers, and this one particularly captured all the magic and charm of her personality. Many in the crowd donned pink sunglasses, too, for the song, a signal of camaraderie.
"Midnight Rider," Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley
In one of the night's surprisingly good performances, the tribute to the late, great Gregg Allman (of the Allman Brothers) kicked off the show on a throwback note. It was soulful, particularly for Kelley's and Rucker's contributions, and the a cappella intro was a lovely, poignant touch. Even when the blustering guitars and high-fire drums echoed across the space, the performance never lost its way, as can often happen with such thick production.
Check out the winners below:
Video of the Year: Keith Urban, "Blue Ain't Your Color"
Female Video of the Year: Carrie Underwood, "Church Bells"
Male Video of the Year: Keith Urban, "Blue Ain't Your Color"
Duo Video of the Year: Florida Georgia Line, "H.O.L.Y."
Group Video of the Year: Little Big Town, "Better Man"
Breakthrough Video of the Year: Lauren Alaina, "Road Less Traveled"
Collaborative Video of the Year: Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, "The Fighter"
CMT Performance of the Year: Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo from CMT Crossroads
Social Superstar: Keith Urban
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