NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Winning the Country Music Association Awards’ entertainer of the year is a top honor and always counted as a career high point. But for Blake Shelton it wasn’t even the most memorable moment of an amazing Thursday night.
“The Voice” star took home three trophies, including his third straight male vocalist victory, but nothing compared to sharing song of the year with wife Miranda Lambert — who also won her third straight female vocalist of the year award. The pair wrote “Over You,” about the death of Shelton’s brother Richie in a car wreck 15 years ago. Shelton’s entertainer win was the biggest surprise of a night full of them. Even he couldn’t believe he’d won the award in a field that included Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley.
WQuartet Little Big Town joined Lambert with two wins apiece, taking home vocal group and single of the year for “Pontoon.” And Thompson Square’s Shawna and Keifer Thompson won vocal duo of the year, ending Sugarland’s five-year run in that category.
Like fellow outsiders LBT, Eric Church felt the love from the CMA’s voters for the first time, winning the album of the year for his breakthrough “Chief.”Hunter Hayes won new artist of the year, while Chesney and Tim McGraw won musical event of the year for “Party Like a Rock Star” and Toby Keith won video of the year for “Red Solo Cup.”
Shelton, McGraw and wife Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban joined together to salute lifetime achievement winner Willie Nelson, ending with a group sing-along of his iconic “On the Road Again.”