The 2018 Country Music Awards were for the taking on Wednesday night at Nashville, Tennessee’s Bridgestone Arena.
Hosted by Blair Underwood and Brad Paisley, one of the CMA’s shocking moments arose when Keith Urban received the Entertainer of the Year Award. Urban last won the award in 2005 and beat out Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney for this year’s award.
Urban’s accolade wasn’t outdone by Chris Stapleton won the most awards at the 2018 CMA’s.
Stapleton also won the performance of the night: His supergroup featuring Mavis Staples, Maren Morris, Marty Stuart and his wife gave a soulful and powerful performance of “Friendship,” a song made famous by Pop Staples, the iconic singer’s late father. They then performed “I’ll Take You There,” jamming onstage along with a choir. They earned a standing ovation from the audience.
When Stapleton won single of the year — where he won as both a performer and producer — earlier in the show, he said he was “thinking about the people in California right now” and he wants to “dedicate this award to them.”
He was referring to the 12 people who were killed at a Southern California country music bar last week, who were also honored at the top of the show when Garth Brooks held a moment of silence as the names of the victims were displayed on the screen.
“Tonight let’s celebrate their lives. Let the music unite us with love,” Brooks said.
Also worth noting, Dan + Shay lost in all four categories they were nominated in but gave an impressive performance of their hit “Tequila.”
In addition to co-hosting duties, Carrie Underwood also performed, “Love Wins.”