Country music honored the cream of the crop on Wednesday (November 14) when the biggest titans of the genre banded together for the Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley-hosted 2018 CMA Awards. Not only did the former unveil that she is expecting another baby boy, but the 2019 ceremony also saw Keith Urban snag the Entertainer of The Year title while Kacey Musgraves took home Album of The Year. There was also a touching moment of silence to the victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting led by Garth Brooks.
If you missed out on the country spectacle, we have your back with a number of highlights from the big show. Take a look below!
Carrie Underwood Reveals The Gender Of Baby No. 2
Just as she did with her firstborn child, Underwood revealed the gender of her second child with husband Mike Fisher, announcing that she is expecting another baby boy during the opening monologue.
"Remember last time when I accidentally revealed the gender of your baby? Tonight we're going to reveal something even more exciting — who your baby's father is!" her co-host Paisley jokingly said at the podium, before listing off several names that'd indicate whether she was having a boy or girl. "Garth or Trisha?" he continued, along with a number of other famous country couples, before posing the trick question: "Willie or Waylon?" She eventually caved and said the upcoming baby was "a Willie."
Luke Bryan Shines Light On Cole Swindell & More Newcomers During Opening Number
Luke Bryan has a long and lengthy history with the annual show, so it wasn't surprising to see the veteran superstar shine some light on budding new country stars during his performance of recent single, "What Makes You Country."
For the opening ceremony number, which was preceded by a moment of silence for the 12 victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting, the 42-year-old superstar kicked off the toe-tapping country anthem at the center of the stage. "Let's be proud of what makes this country tonight," he said at the top of his performance. Towards the middle of the number, Bryan took the sidelines by welcoming folks like Jon Pardi, Luke Combs, Cole Swindell, Lindsay Ell, Ashley McBryde and Chris Janson to take over the song on both vocals and instrumentation fronts.
Thomas Rhett Couldn't Stop Giggling After Kissing His Wife Mid-Performance
Nothing like the good ol' college days. Thomas Rhett brought the University of Georgia to the 2018 Country Music Awards as he performed his hit single "Life Changes" with UGA as the backdrop. The real-life college dropout kicked off his performance hopping out of dorm room bed before knocking over a few books. He then began singing with a full-on marching band, seemingly ditching his studies completely to have some fun. #Relatable
The most memorable part of Thomas' performance though was when he hugged his wife, Lauren Akins, who was in the crowd, and couldn't stop giggling as they held on to each other. (Talk about couple goals!)
Garth Brooks & The CMAs Pay Tribute To The Victims Of Thousand Oaks
At the top of the show, Garth Brooks took the stage to begin the night with a moment of silence for all of the victims of the recent mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. As the show opened, Garth somberly said, "On behalf of our country music community, I want to say that tonight's show is lovingly dedicated to the twelve individuals who we lost far too soon just a week ago tonight at the Borderline in Thousand Oaks, California. Tonight, let's celebrate their lives."
He added, "Let the music unite us with love in their enduring memory. So please, join me now in a moment of silence." During the moment of silence, the names of the twelve people who lost their lives in the horrific shooting were on display.
Brad and Carrie Pass Out Nashville Hot Chicken
Country stars gotta eat too!
Keith Urban Tearfully Accepts Entertainer of the Year Award
And the CMAs Entertainer of the Year is ... drum roll please ... Keith Urban! The New Zealand native took home the award of the evening, presented by the one and only Lionel Richie. Urban was up against country stars including Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, and Chris Stapleton in the coveted category. After it was revealed that he is this year's Entertainer of the Year, Keith, who looked shocked to have one, emotionally hugged his wife, Nicole Kidman, who was by his side all night. Then, the country star took the stage to give a tearful acceptance speech.
With tears in his eyes, Keith thanked his family, his team, country radio, and his fans during his acceptance speech. He said, "I have the most amazing team in the world," also calling his fans "phenomenal." He concluded with, "Above all, just thank you so much. I wish my dad was here to see this, but I think he's watching over me tonight, and I just feel very very blessed, and very grateful that i get to do what I do. And, thank you to all of you for coming out. God bless country music, Gold bless you all. Thank you."
Kacey Musgraves Wins Album Of The Year For Golden Hour
Kacey Musgraves proved to be a true believer when the singer/songwriter took to the 2018 CMA Awards and won Album of the Year for her critically-acclaimed Golden Hour despite calling out the ceremony for their gender disparity. "This is really, really crazy timing, because I just realized this morning -- it sounds like a lie -- 10 years ago today I moved to Nashville," Musgraves kicked off her acceptance speech alongside the album's co-producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian. "We poured everything we had into this [album], and I'm so proud of it." Prior to her big win, Musgraves performed "Slow Burn" off the LP, offering the audience with a taste of the heartfelt spirit of her album.
Earlier this year, Musgraves was honored with an Album of the Year nomination for Golden Hour, but still made it a point to call out the academy for their lack of female nominees. "I have the biggest heart for country music," Musgraves told Billboard. "And I’m honored to represent the female creative spirit as -- unfortunately -- the only female album nominated this year."
Garth Brooks Tearfully Dedicates "Stronger Than Me" To Trisha Yearwood
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood make one of THE cutest country music couples out there. We're talking absolute #marriagegoals here. During his performance at the 2018 CMAs in Nashville, Garth serenaded his lovely wife Trisha with a sweet song that she's never heard before, and that he's never performed before, called "Stronger Than Me."
With the spotlight on just him and his acoustic guitar, and as Trisha watched from the audience, Garth sang "Stronger Than Me" straight to his wife, and both got emotional during the sentimental performance. With Yearwood looking on from the front row, Brooks sang lyrics like, "She lifts the weight of this whole world off of my shoulders."
And the song ended with this tear-jerking line: "If I had a choice, I'd pray that God takes me first, 'cause you're stronger than me."
Florida Georgia Line, Bebe Rexha Add Serene Twist To 'Meant To Be'
Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha brought their smash collaboration, "Meant to Be," to the show, but the acts decided to switch things up from their usual routine of the mid-tempo number. More than halfway through the ceremony, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley stood in front of the crowd in matching white suits as they kicked off the gentle remake of "Meant to Be." After their opening verse, Rexha appeared for her contributions decked out in some retro fashion alongside a piano and orchestra, alluding to the "little surprise" that the duo teased earlier in the press.
"We've got a different type of performance scheduled. We've got a little surprise, a little different version of it, but it's gonna be super-powerful," Brian admitted to ABC. "We're just excited about getting out there, performing together. We've done it a couple of times, but I think this'll be the best, this'll be the most powerful and we're just excited about seeing the faces of our friends and family and fans....seeing their reactions and [hearing] their thoughts."
Jason Aldean & Miranda Lambert Perform 'Drowns The Whiskey' During CMAs
During the performance, the country titans stood side-by-side in front of a shining light set that sporadically illuminated behind their band. "Whiskey's supposed to drown the memory/ I've gone from one to one too many/ And the thing that really gets me/ Is how your memory drowns the whiskey," the pair crooned during the chorus to the heartbreak anthem.
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