The 51st Annual CMA Awards saw the best in county music come together, but it was Garth Brooks that took home the top prize, being crowned entertainer of the year.
“The most important thing other than God Himself is you, the poeple who allow us to be in the greatest music ever. Country music man,” the star said while accepting his award. “I love you.”
The show started off on a somber note and quickly segued into political quips with hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley mocking the president.
The evening began with the first verse of “Amazing Grace” performed by Eric Church before Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and more teamed up to perform “Hold My Hand.”
Underwood and Paisley hosted the show for the 10th consecutive year, and Underwood opened the show by listing off recent tragedies, like the shooting in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of 58 country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last month.
She also mentioned the recent hurricanes and the Texas church shooting on Sunday.
“This has been a year marked by tragedy… including so many in our country music family,” she told the crowd. “So tonight, we’re going to do what families do come together, pray together. Cry together and sing together too.”
Paisley chimed in, “Look the way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music, loud and proud,” he said, dedicating the show to all we’ve lost this year. “We love you and we will never forget you.”
In the past, the show has opened with jokes and political banter, and following the serious opening, this year was no different.
The stars commented on the recent controversey surrounding the CMAs press guidelines, noting that the show is supposed to be free of politics. Paisley lamented not being able to sing topical songs such as, “Way Down Yonder on the Scaramucci,” “Hold Me Closer Bernie Sanders,” “Harper Valley DNC” and “Stand by Your Manafort.”
Paisley then strummed a guitar and sung a parody of Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” with lyrics aimed at President Trump.
“Right now he’s probably in his PJs, watching cable news, reaching for his cell phone,” Paisley sung.
Underwood joined in, “It’s fun to watch it that’s for sure, till little ‘Rocket Man’ starts a nuclear war. Maybe next time he’ll think before he tweets.”
The duo has hosted the show consecutively since 2008, and they returned Wednesday for the 2017 CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Keith Urban won the evening’s first award for best single for his song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Then, Taylor Swift, who wasn’t at the show, won the award for song of the year for Little Big Town’s hit “Better Man.”
Later, Chris Stapleton took home the award for Album of the Year with his “From a Room: Volume 1.”
Miranda Lambert, who was nominated for more awards than any other artist won the award for female vocalist of the year.
“I just want to say that more than any other year I’ve ever been a part of the CMAs, I feel truly like there is a family in this room tonight.,” she said while accepting her award. “I feel like country music is winning right now.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.