Lainey Wilson received five awards, including entertainer of the year, at the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday night.
At Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the 31-year-old singer from Louisiana stole the show, earning herself the title of female vocalist of the year. She also took home the award for album of the year for “Bell Bottom Country.” During her performance of “Wildflowers and Wild Horses,” Wilson delivered a passionate rendition reminiscent of a classic Hollywood Western.
“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, it’s the only thing I know how to do.” Wilson said through tears as she accepted entertainer of the year. “It finally feels like country music is starting to love me back.”
Before the ABC telecast even began, Wilson was already a top nominee with nine nominations and had already won one award. She and HARDY were declared winners in the musical event of the year category for their song “Wait in the Truck.”
The rapper-turned-singer Jelly Roll had another successful night in Nashville, as he was a top winner at the CMT Music Awards earlier this year.
The show began with him singing his popular song “Need a Favor,” and he was joined by unexpected guest Wynonna Judd. He ended the show by performing a duet with K. Michelle on “Love Can Build A Bridge,” which is a classic song originally sung by Judd and her mother Naomi.
Jelly Roll was awarded best new artist during this time.
“It is quite poetic to see a 39-year-old male being awarded as the new artist of the year,” he stated while on stage. “What lies ahead of you holds greater significance than what is left behind.”
Luke Combs was awarded single of the year on Wednesday night for his rendition of “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman, who also won song of the year for her 1988 composition. This is Combs’ third consecutive win for entertainer of the year.
The 33-year-old singer from North Carolina expressed his gratitude to Tracy Chapman for creating one of the most iconic songs ever written as he accepted an award. He shared that her song has been his favorite since childhood.
Chapman, the recipient of two Grammys for her song “Fast Car” in 1989, was not present at the ceremony. In a statement, she expressed her gratitude for her song being acknowledged 35 years after its initial release.
The ceremony was hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, and included a musical tribute to the late singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. This tribute featured performances by Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, and Mac McAnally, a longtime member of Buffett’s band.
The group threw a beach bash featuring a mix of Buffett’s popular songs, starting with “A Pirate Looks at Forty” and concluding with “Margaritaville.” Chesney expressed his gratitude to Buffett, who was highly respected by country musicians.
During the CMA awards, Chris Stapleton was once again named male vocalist of the year, while Old Dominion and Brothers Osborne also took home top honors for vocal group and duo, respectively, continuing their streaks of success in these categories.
T.J. Osborne expressed surprise and disappointment, stating that this occurrence happens every year.