NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The 53rd annual CMA Awards was one for the books. Carrie Underwood hosted with co-hosts Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, putting a spotlight on women in Country Music.
Several women shined in the opening number, which was described as "historic" by the Country Music Association and artists involved in the performance, which includes members of the new group The Highwomen.
“It’s such a historic opening to a show. It’s just incredible," Brandi Carlile, GRAMMY winner and member of The Highwomen, said. "I’m so inspired by the concept and I saw some footage of the rehearsals, and I think you’re going to be really blown away.”
“I mean, I cried during the rehearsal during Crystal Gayle’s part. Every single time it got me," Amanda Shires, also a member of The Highwomen, added. "I can’t even think of my younger self that this would have ever happened, so I’m grateful.”
“You know, it’s Dolly and Reba and Carrie. it’s Tanya Tucker, it’s me and The Highwomen, and it just really touches on every decade of Country Music," Maren Morris, the top-nominated artist at this year's CMA Awards and member of The Highwomen said. "I think it’s a really amazing way to kick off the show. It sets the tone for the night.”
The show included numerous collaborations the blew away fans. They included a performance from Chris Stapleton and Pink, Halsey and Lady Antebellum.
Another collaboration was a special performance honoring Kris Kristofferson featuring Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Chris Janson, John Osborne of Brothers Osborne, and recently added to the show, Joe Walsh.
Beyond the performances, many artists were honored by taking home an award. The list includes:
Vocal Duo of the Year: Dan & Shay
New Artist of the Year: Ashley McBryde
Song of the Year: "Beautiful Crazy" - Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, and Robert Williford
Single of the Year: "God’s Country" - Blake Shelton
Vocal Group of the Year: Old Dominion
Female Vocalist of the Year: Kacey Musgraves
Male Vocalist of the Year: Luke Combs
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks (for the 7th time)