The 50th Annual CMA Awards were chock-full of performances of current hits, and tributes to classic country artists and songs. Here’s a rundown of the jam-packed broadcast.
–Vince Gill opened the show with the late Merle Haggard‘s “Mama Tried,” joined by Merle’s son Ben on guitar. Then, in quick succession, we got brief bits of the following songs:
Brad Paisley & Roy Clark — The late Buck Owens’ “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail”
Carrie Underwood — The late Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man”
Charley Pride — “Kiss an Angel Good Morning”
Alabama — “Mountain Music”
Brad Paisley & Charlie Daniels — “Devil Went Down to Georgia”
Reba McEntire — “Fancy”
Dwight Yoakam — “Guitars, Cadillacs”
Clint Black — “Killin’ Time”
Ricky Skaggs — “Country Boy”
Alan Jackson — “Don’t Rock the Jukebox”
Everyone — “Forever and Ever, Amen,” joined by Randy Travis at the end.
–Kelsea Ballerini sang “Peter Pan” while a couple danced behind her, and eventually took off and “flew,” attached to wires.
–Brooks & Dunn marked the 25th anniversary of their debut single “Brand New Man” by performing it with Jason Aldean.
–Dierks Bentley & Elle King sang their winning duet, “Different for Girls.”
–Maren Morris performed “My Church” with gospel singers and a New Orleans brass band.
–Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood sang, together and separately, snippets of the following songs, and Garth planted a huge smooch on Trisha when they were done:
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash’s “Jackson”
Roger Miller’s “Chug-a-Lug”
Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”
Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn’s “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”
Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden”
Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
George Jones & Tammy Wynette’s “Golden Ring”
–Co-host and Female Vocalist winner Carrie Underwood sang a ferocious “Dirty Laundry” on a cityscape set. Pyro went off at the end.
–Little Big Town sang their new single “Better Man,” written by Taylor Swift, while standing in front of a projection of a field.
–Miranda Lambert sang “Vice.”
–Tim McGraw sang the Song of the Year, “Humble and Kind,” with a video projection of people from all walks of life flashing behind him.
–Alan Jackson and George Strait performed a mash-up of “Remember When” and “Troubadour” while images of late country legends were projected behind them.
–Keith Urban sang “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
–Beyoncé, wearing a long, white lacy see-through dress, teamed up with the Dixie Chicks to sing “Daddy Lessons,” a country-flavored song from her album Lemonade. The four women were joined by an enormous group of musicians for the lengthy rendition of the song.
–Thomas Rhett sang his award-winning song “Die a Happy Man.”
–Male Vocalist winner Chris Stapleton and Dwight Yoakam duetted on “Seven Spanish Angels,” originally recorded by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.
–Luke Bryan sang a rocking version of his hit “Move.”
–Florida Georgia Line teamed up with Tim McGraw for “May We All.”
–Eric Church sang “Kill a Word” while some of the words he mentioned in the lyrics were projected, first across his face, and then behind him. He was joined on the song by Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
–For a Dolly Parton tribute, Jennifer Nettles teamed with a cappella group Pentatonix to sing “Jolene.” Kacey Musgraves sang “Here You Come Again” and Reba McEntire sang “9 to 5,” but completely botched the lyrics. Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride sang “I Will Always Love You,” and were joined by Kacey and Reba for the ending.
–Brad Paisley, who called country music “one big crazy family,” sang “Today” as images of CMA winners past and present were projected behind him.
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