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Luke Bryan, “Girl Crush”, Chris Stapleton Big Winners at the 49th Annual CMA Awards

Luke Bryan, “Girl Crush”, Chris Stapleton Big Winners at the 49th Annual CMA Awards

After a “cancelled” Star Wars intro - complete with a story of Princess Carrie - Hank Williams Jr. and Eric Church opened the gala night with the Waylon Jennings hit “Are You Ready For The Country”, which set the tone, energy and the bar high for the rest of the well produced evening held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on November 4.

Collaborations were more standard than not during this spectacular awards show, but there was absolutely nothing standard about them.  Keith Urban was the second act to perform and he started that appropriately with Rock Legend  John Mellencamp referencing Urban’s second song “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”.  Urban had his upcoming album title “Ripcord” painted on the bass he was laying down groovy riffs on, showcasing his excellence as a musician and at the same time not missing a note singing.  The hostess Carrie Underwood with the mostest and prettiest dresses and the host Brad Paisley with the coolest, most well played innocence came back with entertaining jokes and eventually a pair of dropped pants.  The Single of the Year was then awarded to Country Music Hall of Fame members Little Big Town and their “Girl Crush”. It is a song that first was misunderstood, but later completely redeemed and what can better confirm that than receiving a CMA Single of the Year Award plus a CMA Song of the Year Award.  Zac Brown Band came on stage with their unmistakable sound and style and then followed natural beacher Kenny Chesney.  Other super- and megastars singing this evening were Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett with Fall Out Boy, Kelsea Ballerini, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Maddie & Tae, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and  stylish Reba with solid honky tonk duo Brooks & Dunn.  A much talked about collaboration prior to the ABC network broadcasted event was Justin Timberlake honoring Chris Stapleton with his support singing two songs.  One was “Tennessee Whiskey”, a song previously recorded and made a hit by David Allan Coe and George Jones, but Stapleton has made it his very own.  When Miranda Lambert held her thank-you speech for receiving her Female Vocalist of the Year Award, she was wearing a grey t-shirt with a glittery Chris Stapleton decoration on it.  Chris won three big awards: New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year.  The highest ranked award, Entertainer of the Year, was awarded to the reigning award holder, Luke Bryan.

CMNI’s own list of miscellaneous outstanding moments at this year’s CMA:

Best Mic Stand of the Night – Jason Aldean’s
Best Sounding Guitar of the Night – Miranda Lambert’s
Best Scene Decor of the Night – Kenny Chesney’s
Best Smile of the Night – Sam Hunt’s
Best Joke of the Night – William Shatner in a Stormtrooper costume
Best Sport  Blake Shelton
Best Dancers of the Night – Thomas Rhett’s and Fall Out Boy’s
Best Presenters of the Night – Pentatonix
Best Heartfelt Performance of the Night – Eric Church
Best Show Performance of the Night – Reba with Brooks & Dunn

For a complete list of official nominees and winners at the 2015 CMA Awards, visit http://www.cmaworld.com/cma-awards/nominees/  

Shelley Ridge for Country Music News International Magazine

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