55th Annual CMA Awards “And the CMA Award Goes to …”

The 55th Annual CMA awards was broadcast live on ABC at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday, Nov 10th. “Country Music’s Biggest Night” was hosted by Luke Bryan. But the real man who swept the awards tonight was Chris Stapleton, with a total of four award wins, including Male Vocalist of the Year. Luke Combs won Entertainer of the Year and Carly Pearce won Female Vocalist of the Year.

“The CMA Awards is one of the biggest nights of the year for Country Music,” says Bryan. “Being asked to host the CMA Awards was definitely something I put a lot of thought into before answering. The pressure that comes along with that can be overwhelming, but knowing I get to help honor and celebrate so many of my friends, I knew it was something I couldn’t turn down. I mean, growing up in Georgia, I remember watching Vince Gill, Reba, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, to name a few. They were so good. And then becoming a part of this amazing Country Music family and sitting on the front row while Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Darius Rucker took the reins, all of these artists are heroes and friends, and I am honored to have my name included in this group. I’m looking forward to making it fun and memorable and using this platform to continue to make Country Music shine.” 

The show started out with Miranda Lambert performing a mashup of some of her greatest songs including “Kerosene”, “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “Bluebird,” “Little Red Wagon,” and “Gunpowder and Lead.” Did we also mention that it was her birthday!?

This was Luke’s first year hosting. And it marks his 20th year of moving to Nashville to make his music dreams come true. So this was a very special honor for him to be hosting tonight. Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, his American Idol co-judges, joined Luke and presented the first award of the night for “Song of the Year” award which went to Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson for “Starting Over.”

Darius Rucker and Luke Bryan introduced Dierks Bentley who was joined by collaborators; tour mate and Platinum artist/songwriter BRELAND and CMA New Artist of the Year nominee this year HARDY for their laidback single “Beers On Me.” 

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Reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and five-time nominee this year including Entertainer of the Year again, Church then took the stage to perform his song “Heart on Fire” from his CMA Album of the Year-nominated Heart. The stage was truly on fire.

Following Church, was a performance by two-time nominee this year Pearce and three-time nominee this year McBryde will perform their heart-wrenching duet “Never Wanted to Be That Girl.” There outfits were a classic yin and yang which is even more complimentary when you talk about their powerhouse duet performance.

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Ingrid Andress and Hayley Orrantia presented the award for “Vocal Duo of the Year” to Brothers Osborne. This was their fourth win in this category.

Elle King then joined Luke Bryan to introduce Zac Brown Band performing “Same Boat.”

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Four-time CMA Awards nominee this year, Gabby Barrett then performed her chart-topping hit “The Good Ones.” The acoustic version she performed was breathtaking with the strings playing in the background. Just WOW.

Saycon Sengbloh and Dulé Hill announced the winner for New Artist of the Year to Jimmie Allen.

Scottie McCreery then introduced Chris Young and Kane Brown performing “Famous Friends.” The background video was showing yearbook photos of other famous artists including Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Willie Nelson, Thomas Rhett, and so many more along with their superlatives. How unique and nostalgic, just like the song. Young and Brown were both three-time nominees this year.

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Two-time CMA Awards winner Jason Aldean shared the stage with CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee this year and seven-time CMA Awards winner Carrie Underwood for the world premiere television performance of their chart-topping hit collaboration “If I Didn’t Love You.”  

Following their performance, was 10-time CMA Awards winner Blake Shelton performing “Come Back as a Country Boy.” In true Okie country boy form there was a windmill on the stage.

Twelve-time CMA Awards winner Keith Urban then took the stage to perform his new single “Wild Hearts.” Man, can he rip it on a guitar! We can totally get on with the Wild Heart message here in Nashville. And we love that he was rocking an Opry shirt.

Deana Carter and Lainey Wilson presented the award for Single of the Year to Chris Stapleton for “Starting Over.” This is his second CMA win for Single of the Year. Deana won this award 25 years ago for her single “Strawberry Wine.”

Faith Fennidy then introduced Mickey Guyton feat. Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards performing “Love My Hair.” And what an inspirational message! The song is from her debut album Remember Her Name.  

Reigning and now four-time consecutive CMA Vocal Group of the Year Old Dominion, brought their hit “I Was on a Boat That Day” to the CMA Awards stage. I am not sure what kind of boat they were on, but we were down to join the fun.  

Next to take the stage was Chris Stapleton. Ten-time CMA Awards winner, Stapleton performed his stirring song “Cold” from his CMA Album of the Year-nominated Starting Over. There is just nothing like Stapleton soul, it’s bone-chilling good.

Russell Dickerson brought his fan Sarah on stage to honor Music Teachers of Excellence Program honorees that were invited to be a part of this year’s CMA awards. Thanking them for their commitment for shaping young minds.

Luke Combs then debuted his song “Doin’ This” on the CMA Stage. I think he’s gotta another No. 1 on his hands.

Zacahary Levi and Kurt Warner presented the award for Vocal Group of the Year to Old Dominion. This is their fourth win in this category.

Lady A then joined Luke Bryan to introduced two-time CMA Awards winner and nominee this year in the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year category, Thomas Rhett performing his chart-topping single “Country Again.”

Susan Sarandon and Tracy Adkins presented the award for Album of the Year to Chris Stapleton for “Starting Over.” This is his third win for album of the year.

Reigning and two-time consecutive CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Dan + Shay, then performed their hit “I Should Probably Go To Bed.”  

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Chris Young and Crown Royal put on an event to give back to veterans and military and gave them a shout out with Veterans Day happening this week. Then they introduced Trisha Yearwood who then introduced Jennifer Hudson with Chris Stapleton. They performed “Night Life” and “You Are My Sunshine” together on stage to honor Aretha Franklin. Hudson is starring in the acclaimed Aretha Franklin biographical musical drama “Respect.”

Following their performance, Marty Stuart was recognized for being an inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Then 2021 CMA New Artist of the Year and current “Dancing With The Stars” contestant Jimmie Allen performed his hit “Freedom Was A Highway.”  

CMA Female Vocalist of the Year was presented by Amy Grant and Lauren Daigle to Carly Pearce. This was her first win in this category. This year also marks Amy Grants’s 30th anniversary of her album Heart in Motion. And we love that Ashley McBryde came to her rescue. Talk about woman empowerment.

Now four-time CMA Award group of the year winners this year, Brothers Osborne delivered a deeply personal performance from their album Skeletons.  

Florida Georgia Line then introduced Luke Bryan performing “Up.” We couldn’t end the night without a song from our awesome host for this year’s award show.

Kelsea Ballerina and Atlanta Brave’s Freddie Freeman announced Chris Stapleton as the winner for Male Vocalist of the Year. This is his fifth win in this category.

Alan Jackson presented the Entertainer of the Year award to Luke Combs!!

Award Winners

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

  • Eric Church  
  • WINNER Luke Combs   
  • Miranda Lambert    
  • Chris Stapleton  
  • Carrie Underwood   

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)  

  • “Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown  
    Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young  
    Mix Engineer: Sean Moffitt 
  • “The Good Ones” – Gabby Barrett  
    Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale  
    Mix Engineers: Chris Galland, Manny Marroquin 
  • “Hell Of A View” – Eric Church  
    Producer: Jay Joyce  
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce   
  • “One Night Standards” – Ashley McBryde  
    Producer: Jay Joyce  
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce   
  • WINNER “Starting Over” – Chris Stapleton 
    Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton  
    Mix Engineer: Vance Powell 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR  
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s) 

  • 29 – Carly Pearce 
    Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Jimmy Robbins  
    Mix Engineer: Ryan Gore  
  • Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen  
    Producers: Dave Cohen, Matt Dragstrem, Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome and Joey Moi  
    Mix Engineer: Joey Moi  
  • Heart – Eric Church  
    Producer: Jay Joyce 
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce 
  • Skeletons – Brothers Osborne  
    Producer: Jay Joyce  
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce 
  • WINNER Starting Over – Chris Stapleton  
    Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton  
    Mix Engineer: Vance Powell 

SONG OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Songwriter(s)  

  • “Forever After All”   
    Songwriters: Luke Combs, Drew Parker, Robert Williford  
  • “The Good Ones”   
    Songwriters: Gabby Barrett, Zach Kale, Emily Landis, Jim McCormick 
  • “Hell Of A View”   
    Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Eric Church, Monty Criswell  
  • “One Night Standards”   
    Songwriters: Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde 
  • WINNER “Starting Over”   
    Songwriters: Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton  

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR   

  • Gabby Barrett 
  • Miranda Lambert    
  • Ashley McBryde   
  • Maren Morris   
  • WINNER Carly Pearce  

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Dierks Bentley 
  • Eric Church    
  • Luke Combs   
  • Thomas Rhett   
  • WINNER Chris Stapleton   

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • Lady A  
  • Little Big Town   
  • Midland   
  • WINNER Old Dominion    
  • Zac Brown Band 

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

  • Brooks & Dunn   
  • WINNER Brothers Osborne   
  • Dan + Shay    
  • Florida Georgia Line   
  • Maddie & Tae 

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

  • WINNER Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle  
  • Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar  
  • Aaron Sterling, Drums  
  • Ilya Toshinskiy, Banjo  
  • Derek Wells, Guitar  

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR  

  • WINNER Jimmie Allen  
  • Ingrid Andress   
  • Gabby Barrett   
  • Mickey Guyton 
  • HARDY 

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR   
Award goes to Artist(s) and Director(s)  

  • “Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris 
    Director: TK McKamy  
  • “Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown  
    Director: Peter Zavadil  
  • “Gone” – Dierks Bentley 
    Directors: Wes Edwards, Travis Nicholson, Ed Pryor, Running Bear, Sam Siske 
  • WINNER “half of my hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)  
    Director: Patrick Tracy  
  • “Younger Me” – Brothers Osborne  
    Director: Reid Long  

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s) and Producer(s)  

  • “Buy Dirt” – Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan  
    Producer: Paul DiGiovanni  
  • “Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris  
    Producers: Aaron Eshuis, Teddy Reimer 
  • “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” – Elle King & Miranda Lambert  
    Producer: Martin Johnson  
  • “Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown  
    Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young 
  • WINNER “half of my hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)  
    Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins 

Along the special guests attending the awards this year was a group of 30 inspiring and dedicated music educators from across the U.S. that were invited to attend and take part in a pre-show reception as part of the Country Music Association, and its philanthropic arm, the CMA Foundation‘s 2020 Music Teachers of Excellence program. Like all CMA Awards nominees, the the teachers will also receive similarly designed medallions to honor the accomplishment of being selected as a Music Teacher of Excellence. Each teacher’s principal has also been gifted a ticket to the CMA Awards and invites to the ancillary festivities celebrating the Music Teachers of Excellence.  Watch the Music Teachers of Excellence announcement video  target=”_blank”>here. 

“Day-in and day-out these incredible educators play an integral role in achieving and furthering the CMA Foundation’s mission of creating equitable access to music education programs across the United States,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director. “They dedicate their time, energy and resources to serving and enriching our next generation, ensuring that each student is encouraged and celebrated. We are thrilled to be able to put the spotlight on these 30 Music Teachers of Excellence who so often shine the light on others. We cannot wait to welcome our special guests to this year’s CMA Awards for a night full of celebration and Country Music!” 

Artists that took the awards stage included performances by Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Brothers Osborne, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton feat. Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, and Chris Young and Kane Brown, Gabby Barrett, Dierks Bentley feat. BRELAND and HARDY, Luke Bryan, Jennifer Hudson, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band.. 

Presenters included Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, Deana Carter, Lauren Daigle, Russell Dickerson, Faith Fennidy, Florida Georgia Line, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Alan Jackson, Elle King, Lady A, Zachary Levi, Scotty McCreery, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Darius Rucker, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh, Kurt Warner, Lainey Wilson, and Trisha Yearwood.

Prior to the live show, several award categories were also announced.

Early winners were revealed this morning in two categories. First-time CMA Awards winner Kelsea Ballerini and nine-time CMA Awards winner, Kenny Chesney take home trophies in two categories for “half of my hometown.” Produced by Ballerini, Ross Copperman and Jimmy Robbins the collaboration wins in both the CMA Musical Event of the Year and CMA Music Video of the Year categories. The video was directed by Patrick Tracy.  

The announcement took place live on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” as the show took over Bridgestone Plaza in downtown Nashville where reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year and nominees in the category again this year, 
Old Dominion took to the Bridgestone Plaza stage to perform their songs “Hotel Key” and “All I Know About Girls.”  Watch the performances HERE and HERE.

The Country Music Association announced the recipients of the 2021 CMA Broadcast Awards. Country Music star and two-time CMA Awards nominee this year, Carly Pearce surprised radio stations and broadcast personalities with individual calls to reveal the news. The CMA Broadcast Personality of the Year category was split into two new categories this year, Weekly National and Daily National. 

See below for the full list of 2021 CMA Broadcast Awards winners. 

  

CMA BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR: 

WEEKLY NATIONAL  

  • “Country Countdown USA” (Lon Helton) – Westwood One 

DAILY NATIONAL  

  • “CMT After Midnite” (Cody Alan) – Premiere Networks 

MAJOR MARKET 

  • “Double-L” (Lois Lewis) – KNIX, Phoenix, Ariz.  

LARGE MARKET 

  • “Ridder, Scott and Shannen” (“Ridder” Shaun Ridderbush, Scott Dolphin, and Shannen Oesterreich) – WMIL, Milwaukee-Racine, Wis. 

MEDIUM MARKET 

  • “Mo & StyckMan” (“Mo” Melissa Wagner and “StyckMan” Greg Owens) – WUSY, Chattanooga, Tenn. 

SMALL MARKET 

  • “Steve, Ben and Nikki” (Steve Stroud, Ben Walker, and Nikki Thomas) – WXBQ, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va. 

CMA RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR 

MAJOR MARKET 

  • KYGO – Denver-Boulder, Colo.  

LARGE MARKET 

  • WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio 

MEDIUM MARKET 

  • KUZZ – Bakersfield, Calif. 

SMALL MARKET 

  • KCLR – Columbia, Mo. 

The categories are established by market size based on population as ranked by Nielsen. Entries for Broadcast Personality of the Year are judged on aircheck, ratings, community involvement and biographical information. Candidates for Radio Station of the Year are judged on aircheck, ratings, community involvement and format leadership. 

CMA members who are full-time, on-air personalities and CMA member radio stations in the United States and Canada were eligible to submit entries. The entries are judged by a panel of distinguished broadcast professionals, representing all market sizes and regions. 

CMA Broadcast Awards winners are not eligible to enter the same award category in consecutive years; therefore, those who received trophies in 2020 were not eligible in 2021. 

“The 55th Annual CMA Awards” is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer, Alan Carter is the Director and David Wild is the Head Writer.  

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