Eric Church takes the top prize of CMA Entertainer of the Year
In a year like no other, The 54th Annual CMA Awards brought the country music community together, live, for the first time in months to celebrate the very best in the genre. In a night filled with riveting performances, heartfelt speeches and emotional tributes, Country Music’s Biggest Night™ proved, once again, that even in the toughest of times, the heart of country remains true.
Eric Church, performing “Hell of a View,” was awarded the night’s top honor of CMA Entertainer of the Year, a first for the artist. “…You know what the win is? The win is we all were here tonight together as country music, in-person, live, not on Zoom. I believe this. It’s going to be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that is going to save the entire world…”
Maren Morris, performing “The Bones,” was the night’s biggest winner, taking home three awards for CMA Single, Song and Female Vocalist of the Year. Luke Combs took home two awards for CMA Album and Male Vocalist of the Year. Old Dominion won CMA Vocal Group of the Year, Dan + Shay accepted trophies for CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, and Morgan Wallen, performing “More Than My Hometown,” received CMA New Artist of the Year.
Winners announced prior to the live broadcast included Carly Pearce and Lee Brice for CMA Musical Event of the Year, Miranda Lambert for CMA Music Video of the Year, and Jenee Fleenor for CMA Musician of the Year. See below for the full list of this year’s winners.
With an audience full of the biggest names in country music, safety was the top priority throughout the event’s production. “It was a privilege to bring the country music community together tonight,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “We have worked tirelessly over the past few months to develop a safe environment that would allow us to deliver a show our fans have come to expect. We have followed all protocols established by the CDC, local health authorities and creative unions to ensure the safety of our staff, our crew and our artists at every turn. Every single person was tested prior to entering our footprint, with many individuals being tested repeatedly out of an abundance of caution. Our process enabled us to catch any positive test results immediately and before any of those individuals ever stepped foot into the venue. I am grateful for the grace and the patience shown to us during this process and to those individuals that were unable to join us tonight, you were greatly missed and we wish you and your families the very best.”
Trahern adds, “I am so proud to be a part of this community. It has been a very difficult year with many of us having suffered tremendous loss. My hope is that with the help of our incredible community of artists, we were able to shine a bit of light into the world through the magic of Country Music.”
Jason Aldean, Brothers Osborne, Dierks Bentley and Ashley McBryde kicked off the night with a special collaboration honoring the late Charlie Daniels. Having felt the loss of many legends this year, the show also honored country greats Kenny Rogers and Joe Diffie with tributes from Little Big Town and Jon Pardi, respectively. Hosts Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker took the stage for a breathtaking collaboration of Mac Davis’ “In the Ghetto,” a tribute to the country legend and three-time CMA Awards host. You could also hear a pin drop when McBryde took the stage to perform “One Night Standards,” while Rucker brought the feel-good vibes with his chart-topping “Beers & Sunshine.”
Proudly honoring Country Music Hall of Fame trailblazer and 1975 CMA Awards co-host Charley Pride with the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, Jimmie Allen took the stage for an emotional introduction followed by a surprise performance of “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” with Pride. Old Dominion took viewers back to 1980, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic film Urban Cowboy, performing Johnny Lee’s “Looking For Love.”
Continuing the tradition of one-of-a-kind performances, The 54th Annual CMA Awards delivered the world television premiere of Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber’s No. 1 single “10,000 Hours,” captured remotely at Los Angeles’ famed Hollywood Bowl. Also, performing off-site, Keith Urban treated viewers to an intimate performance of “God Whispered Your Name” from his native homeland, Australia, dedicating his performance to frontline workers.
Other highlights included Lambert delivering her latest hit single “Settling Down” while Combs also took the stage for a stellar performance of “Cold As You.” Ingrid Andress made her CMA Awards performance debut with a spectacular and tearful rendition of her top hit “More Hearts Than Mine.”
Thomas Rhett featuring host McEntire and Chris Tomlin filled the room with inspiration, while Chris Stapleton performed a stripped-back version of his latest single “Starting Over” with Morgane Stapleton. Pearce and Lady A’s Charles Kelley performed a soulful rendition of “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”
Rounding out the evening, Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett featuring Charlie Puth and Brothers Osborne all wowed the audience with one-of-a-kind performances.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s), and Mix Engineer
- “The Bones” – Maren Morris
Producer: Greg Kurstin
Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist and Producers
- What You See Is What You Get – Luke Combs
Producer: Scott Moffat
SONG OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Songwriters
- “The Bones”
Songwriters: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artists and Producer(s)
- “I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s) and Director
- “Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
Director: Trey Fanjoy
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.