The Country Music Awards begins their 54th annual awards ceremony with a tribute to Charlie Daniels who died earlier this year.  Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, and Jason Aldean took on the iconic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” all gave performances for the tribute.

While they were scheduled to appear at the live awards show, Lee Brice and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line had to miss the show due to a positive Covid-19 diagnosis.

Award winning Country music legend Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker served as hosts for the biggest night in Country music.  Rucker noted how good it felt to hear applause once again.  McEntire noted that there is nothing like being on the stage again.

Radio personality Bobby Bones presented the first award of the night for Single of the Year to Maren Morris for “The Bones”.  This is Morris’ first Single of the Year award win.

New Artist of the Year nominee Morgan Wallen gives a performance.

The award for “Song of the Year” went to Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, and Laura Veltz.  This is a songwriter award.

“American Idol” alum Gabby Barrett is joined by Charlie Puth for a performance.

Entertainer and Male Vocalist nominee Eric Church gives a performance.

Co-host Darius Rucker performs his new single “Beers and Sunshine”.

Four time CMA Award nominee, Ashely McBryde gives a performance.

The award for New Artist of the Year went to Morgan Wallen. 

In a performance from the stage of an empty Hollywood Bowl in California Dan + Shay join up with Justin Bieber for a performance of their smash hit “10,000 Hours”.  The performance featured only the voices the guys and the piano.

Six time CMA award nominee Luke Combs performs his single “Cold as You”.

Jon Pardi performs “Pickup Man”.

Carly Pearce is joined by Charles Kelly of Lady A for a performance of her chart topping single “I Hope You’re Happy Now”.  Pearce recorded the song with Lee Brice who was not able to perform the song live.

Dierks Bentley presented the award for Vocal Duo of the Year award to Dan + Shay who accepted their award form the Hollywood Bowl.

CeeCee Wynans introduced CMA Award hosts Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker who performed the Mac Davis song “In the Ghetto”.

Entertainer of the Year award nominee Miranda Lambert performs.

An award not presented every year, Jimmie Allen performs and presents the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award to Charlie Pride – the first man of colour to make it big in Country music.  The Country Music Hall of Fame artist performed “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” with Jimmie Allen.  Pride said that he was as nervous as he could be.  The former baseball player noted that Jack Johnson, Jack Clement, Jerry Bradley, and John Dane have influenced him throughout his career.  Pride thanked his fans.

Ten time CMA award winner Chris Stapleton takes the stage with his wife Morgan for a performance of “Starting Over”.

The award for Vocal Group of the Year went to Old Dominion.

CMA Award nominee Indrid Andress performs her hit song “More Hearts than Mine”.

Thomas Rhett, Chris Tomlin, and Reba McEntire take the stage for a performance of “Be a Light”.

The award for Album of the Year went to Luke Combs for “What You See is What You Get”.  This is Combs first Album of the Year award win.

Little Big Town pays tribute to Kenny Rogers with a performance.

The Brothers Osborne give a performance.

It has been 40 years since “Urban Cowboy” debuted in theatres.  The film starring John Travolta and Debra Winger made it cool to wear a cowboy hat and hang out in the country music bar learning how to line dance.  Old Dominion pays tribute to the film with their performance of “Looking for Love”.

Maren Morris performs her award winning song “The Bones”.

Entertainer of the Year award nominee Keith Urban performs “God Whispered Your Name” from his homeland of Australia.  He dedicated the song to all of the health workers.

The award for Female Vocalist of the Year went to Maren Morris for her first Female Vocalist award…and her third of the night.

The award for Male Vocalist of the Year award went to Luke Combs.  Thanking his fans, Combs said that he is a lucky guy.

Kelsea Ballarini performs the “drinking song” of the night with “Hole in the Bottle”.

Presenting the biggest award of the night, Reba McEntire presented the Entertainer of the Year award to Eric Church!  Church noted that the win was that they were all there together; adding that it was music that brings us out of this, the one thing that brings us all together.  He said that music is about unity.

Awards not presented during the live television broadcast:
Music Event of the Year: “I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Carly Pearce and Charlie Puth
Music Video of the Year: “Bluebird” by Miranda Lambert
Musician of the Year: fiddle player Jenee Fleenor

feature photo credit: CMA Facebook page